Arup recommends the creation of a new station at Heathrow which would link it directly to rail services from continental Europe. It is also suggested that this station would serve the Great Western Main Line, linking the airport to the South west, Wales and the Midlands.
Currently, only 22% of passengers arrive at Heathrow by rail, including the Underground, compared with 65% by car.
Mark Bostock, a director at Arup, said: “The proposal to link Heathrow into the rail network would enable people travelling from some of Heathrow’s principal markets to arrive at the aiport by train. Moreover, these plans fit in with emerging proposals to extend high speed rail lines north. Looking to the future, we could see travel times from Heathrow to Leeds and Manchester by rail reduced to less than two hours.”
Mike Forster, BAA director of strategy, pledged that the organisation would work with Arup to develop the idea.
If the link could be made to the North and Scotland, then it’s possible that the number of domestic flights from Heathrow could be reduced, offering the promise of increased international capacity without a third runway, an idea mooted by John Gummer when speaking at the lookwest reception at MIPIM this year (pictured).