The Southern Rail Access proposals would connect the airport to Waterloo, Guildford and Basingstoke, possibly via Feltham and Hounslow
A new rail link between Heathrow Airport and London Waterloo has moved a step closer after a major study suggested there was a strong case for the project. Trains would run between the airport, London Waterloo, Guildford and Basingstoke stations as part of the long-awaited Southern Rail Access proposals. A new feasibility study by Network Rail suggests the work would cost between £700m and £1.8bn, depending on which route is chosen.
Network Rail found almost all of the options on the table represented either good or very good value irrespective of whether a third runway is built at Heathrow, although it said further appraisal is needed. Chris Joyce, head of surface access at Heathrow Airport, said: “A new rail link connecting Heathrow to south London and Surrey is a huge opportunity to connect an additional 4.8m passengers and allow us to treble our rail capacity by 2040.
“This is great news for passengers who will have even more public transport options to and from the airport. It’s also really good news for Heathrow’s neighbours as it will minimise road traffic in the area.
“Southern rail access in addition to Crossrail, Western Rail Link, HS2 via Old Oak Common and an upgraded Piccadilly Line service will place Heathrow at the heart of an integrated rail system.”
What next? Network Rail’s findings suggest a semi-fast Heathrow to Waterloo service, via Richmond, was the best value London link, with two other options under consideration: A stopping service to Waterloo, with two trains per hour via both Hounslow and Richmond and a new tunnelled rail line linking Feltham to Heathrow Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 in four to five minutes
Hounslow Council earlier this year recommended a new southern link to Heathrow via Feltham, with trains running on an elevated track via a new station in Bedfont. Network Rail said the study had been carried out to inform the government of the options and enable potential funders to decide whether they merited further development.
Consultation began in February this year over the proposed Western Rail Link to Heathrow, which cut would journey times between the airport and Reading to 26 minutes.