The first phase of public consultation completed by Network Rail earlier this year shows that plans for the Western Rail Link to Heathrow project have been positively received by the business community.
81 percent of respondents to the consultation supported proposals to improve connections to Heathrow Airport from the West. The proposed rail line would directly connect the Great Western Mainline to the UK’s busiest airport, improving accessibility for passengers from the Thames Valley, south coast, south west, South Wales and West Midlands and beyond.
Services from Slough would see passengers arriving at Terminal 5 in just 7 minutes, while the journey from Reading would take 26 minutes cutting the current travel time by more than half.
Proponents argue that the project would put 20 percent of the UK population within one interchange of Heathrow and deliver significant benefits to the economy. A 2011 economic study says it would generate £800 million of additional economic growth across the area, create potential for 42,000 new jobs and generate £1.5 billion of business efficiency savings. It would also reduce the dependency on cars for travel to the airport, with potential improvement for air quality.
Work on the final design for the project is currently underway and will be presented for the final phase of public consultation, planned for early 2017.