Network Rail is currently considering a number of route options to improve rail access to Heathrow from the west. WRLtH is one of these.
While Heathrow is connected to London in the east by mainline rail and the Underground, there is no direct connection to the west. This is a missed opportunity to connect with a catchment of up to twelve million residents.
The WRAtH proposals include a tunnelled link of 3.8km from a junction on the Great Western Main Line east of Langley, near Slough. This indicative route provides minimal disturbance to the built or natural environment, and enables the fastest journey time for passengers. Trains would arrive into Heathrow’s terminal 5 making use of two existing platforms.
The service pattern is not finalised, but the expectation is for four trains per hour between Reading and Heathrow, calling at Slough, and either Maidenhead or Twyford. There are opportunities to run trains through Heathrow and onto London, providing additional route opportunities.
The project can be delivered for £500 million and could be operational by 2021 at the latest.
The economic assessments carried out on the project are based on current operations, size and passenger numbers of Heathrow, and addresses the current inadequacies of access.
If you have any comments about what would help you access Heathrow more quickly and conveniently, tell us here.
Other rail investment
The Great Western Main Line is due to be electrified as part of ongoing upgrade works across the network. Electrification is the only pre-requisite for the delivery of WRAtH. Following electrification, the Intercity Express Programme (long distance) and Crossrail (cross London stopping service) will be rolled out. These complementary upgrades support the delivery of WRAtH.
HS2 is a proposed high speed rail line which will link major UK cities, but is not related to WRAtH.