Rail link can help West London in to orbit

The West London Orbital was cited as key to attracting development interest and investment by a succession of speakers at the Capital West London Growth Summit.

The proposed railway’s core section runs from South Acton to Neasden by making use of a combination of existing freight and passenger lines, connecting the Hounslow Loop with the North London Line before connecting with the Thameslink corridor at Brent Cross and Cricklewood.

It would also create a strategic interchange at Old Oak Common for the Elizabeth Line and the proposed High Speed 2.

The West London Orbital featured heavily in a new report launched by London First and WSP at the summit which considers the delivery of development where infrastructure is an enabler.

“We found that existing transport connections and having confidence that future improvements could be delivered were cited as the key factor in attracting development interest and investment,” said Ian Liddell, managing director, planning and advisory for WSP.

“If you look at Vauxhall Nine Elms at Battersea, significant delivery of homes, jobs, public space, social infrastructure with the catalyst being the future Northern Line extension.

“The West London Orbital achieves something significant. It improves connectivity between the opportunity areas, existing town centres and communities and employment clusters to increase and spread the benefits of sustainable growth. It would cut existing journey times, relieve overcrowding on the Piccadilly and West London Lines and at the West London interchanges and help to make the overall network more resilient.

“The remaining challenges to delivering this scheme should now be considered through further feasibility studies and problem solving. If delivered it will literally connect communities.”

The railway line was also a key topic of conversation at a panel discussion entitled Connecting Opportunities, which discussed the importance of infrastructure in unlocking opportunity.

Alison Bradshaw, area manager for Transport for London, said of the proposals: “We are all committed to West London Orbital and hopefully we will get some good funding news next week we can also do a lot around making the whole scheme more inclusive so cycling and walking should be in that so it should have the whole transport package with it.”

Ealing Council leader Julian Bell, also chair of the West London Economic Prosperity Board, said: “This pivotal scheme is also allowing us to develop new approaches to financing the sustainable new infrastructure that will be needed across the whole country over the coming decades.”

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