Western Rail Link to Heathrow (WRLtH)

Network Rail is working with the Department for Transport to build a new rail link, due to open in 2025/26. It will go from the Great Western Mainline, near Langley, into London Heathrow Terminal 5.

 

Proposal

The proposed 5.5km railway line would leave the Great Western Main Line, between Langley and Iver, before entering a new tunnel to the south. The tunnel would pass under:

  • Richings Park
  • M4
  • Colnbrook
  • M25

The link would stop at the 'Heathrow Box'. This is currently a vacant space, constructed as part of Terminal 5. The Secretary of State for Transport has said that rail link will be open in 2025/26. This is dependent on Network rail getting planning consent through a Development Consent Order. The proposal is part of Network Rail's 'Railway Upgrade Plan', which is separate from Heathrow's expansion plans.

Map showing key proposals

 

Objectives

The proposed rail connection will:

  • allow passengers to travel to Heathrow without going into London Paddington
  • reduce the need to travel on congested motorways and local roads

 

Buckinghamshire County Council's position

The Airports Commission supports the Western Rail Link to Heathrow. In 2015 the commission included the scheme in its report recommending the Expansion of Heathrow Airport.

Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC), as a member of the England's Economic Heartland Transport Forum, is supportive of the scheme. The scheme will support economic growth along the Oxford to Cambridge corridor.

Holding objection

The council has put forward a 'holding objection' in response to Network Rail's consultation.
The impact of the closure of Hollow Hill Lane for residents and business. This could send almost 10,000 vehicles a day on alternative routes and put further pressure on an already busy Iver village centre.

BCC believes that Network Rail should pay for part of the Iver Relief Road if:

  • keeping the existing road open is not possible
  • a like-for-like replacement is not achievable or too expensive

The relief road will decrease traffic caused by closing Hollow Hill Lane.

Concerns about the potential negative effect on Iver's communities. Iver is already facing the impacts of several infrastructure projects.

BCC Consultation response 2018

 

Timeline

The project is of a size and scale that it meets the thresholds to be a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. That means Network Rail must apply for a Development Consent Order (DCO).

The application will be examined by the Planning Inspectorate and decided by the Secretary of State for Transport.

Network Rail's final statutory consultation took place in May/June 2018.

Autumn 2018 - on going traffic assessment.

Summer 2019 - Network Rail finalise plans. Public information events.

Winter 2019 - Submit the DCO

2021- DCO decision

 

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