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Airtrack plans crash land

Airtrack would have reduced traffic on road routes into Heathrow

A scheme to develop a new rail link to Heathrow, which would have connected the airport with Reading, Guildford and Waterloo via a new chord to Staines, has been scrapped due to lack of funding. Paul Clifton explains

P PAGE 22 MAY 2011

lans for a new £1bn rail link into Heathrow airport from the south have been shelved. The airport’s owner, BAA, says its decision to

withdraw from the Airtrack scheme is down to a lack of funds and concerns raised over long delays at level crossings on the route. The scheme would

have connected Terminal 5 to Reading, Guildford and Waterloo station, via a new chord at Staines. The platforms beneath Terminal 5 are already available. Publishing a revised long-term vision for rail access, BAA said:

‘Following an internal strategic review, and in consultation with airlines and other key stakeholders, Heathrow has decided to withdraw its Transport and Works Act Order application.’ The airport says it remains supportive of a southern

connection to the airport. But surface access director Allan Gregory says: ‘The project

has been affected by the Comprehensive Spending Review and the likelihood is that there will be no public sector funding support forthcoming for the project. In the absence of securing additional funding in the current economic climate, Heathrow Airport is unable to justify meeting the full cost of the project and, unfortunately, we have no option but to withdraw.’ It was estimated that 13 million people a year would use the

route, removing 5,000 car journeys from the M25 and M4 each rush hour. Richmond Council had opposed the scheme due to increased congestion it said would occur at Barnes, Mortlake and North Sheen. Although supporting the principle of the route, Surrey

County Council had long raised objections to the amount of time


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