Head of Surface Access Simon Earles explained how rail capacity would treble from 5000, to 15,000 seats per hour, or from 18 to 40 trains per hour, thanks to planned improvements across the network. He said the new connections would mean that by 2030, more than 70% of the UK’s population will be within three hours of Heathrow by public transport and 12 million will be within 60 minutes of the airport.
A new fast connection to High Speed 2 at Old Oak Common would mean journey times between Heathrow and Birmingham will be cut by 1 hour 38 minutes, journey times to Leeds will reduce by 2 hours 08 minutes, and journey times from Manchester will reduce by 1 hour 53 minutes, according to Earles.
New direct access to the Great Western Line for Reading and beyond would cut journey times from Cardiff by 37 minutes and mean passengers could travel driect to Heathrow rather than via Paddington.
The new connections would support Heathrow’s commitment to increase the proportion of passengers who use public transport to access the airport from 40% today to almost 60% by 2040. The Airport say this would mean there would be no net increase in the amount of airport-related traffic on the roads.
Expanding Heathrow would also create capacity for a number of new air routes to destinations in the UK that are currently served by competing hub airports in Europe, say the Airport. They say Exeter, Liverpool, Newquay, Jersey, Inverness, Isle of Man and Humberside airports could be added to the existing links to Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds/Bradford, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast and Aberdeen. Heathrow has committed to establishing a Taskforce for Regional Connectivity to develop policy proposals and recommendations for access to an expanded Heathrow.
Simon Earles, Head of Surface Access at Heathrow, said: “New air and rail links including HS2, Western Rail, Southern Rail and Crossrail will transform journey times from Heathrow compared to today. Millions more people will have quick access to the UK’s global hub and be within easy reach of the world’s markets.”