Arup's plan (pictured) which they have been working on for some time, independently, has been backed by various professionals – including John McAslan (McAslan & Partners) and James Berry (HOK) as reported by the Architects' Journal.
The Hub would be located on the site currently occupied by the Terminal 3 Arrivals Hall. A multi-layered underground station would serve the Piccadilly Line, Heathrow Express, Crossrail, and the new AirTrack Express and AirTrack Local services. The busy Heathrow Bus and Coach Station would be relocated directly above the rail hub. The design would use an 'open cavern' design with a glass structure roof, maximising natural light.
Campaigners against the third runway fear it's an environmental sop. 2M Group spokesman Steve Mayner told the AJ, "The hub is the wrong answer to the wrong question. It's a smokescreen". They are understood to be working on their own plans for a rail hub to be released soon.The Tories predictably also criticised the Government plan, describing it as a "sweetener".
But whether it's a sweetener or not, improved rail connectivity should be a boon to international and local travellers alike, and reduce the need for short-haul flights from Heathrow.