Great Western rail link to Heathrow planned for 2021

Network Rail has presented plans for a new rail link connecting the Great Western main line with Heathrow.

Responding to calls from MPs, Network Rail has outlined proposals to construct a five-kilometer tunnel from Heathrow’s Terminal 5 to a new  junction between Langley and Iver stations.

Known as the Western Rail Access Programme, the new link would allow passengers from the West Country and South Wales to travel directly to Heathrow without having to go into central London.

Journey times from Cardiff and Swansea would be cut by 45 and 53 minutes respectively.

Network Rail has said that the link could be commisioned as soon as 2021.

Patrick Hallgate, Network Rail route managing director Western route, said: “Our plans for a new rail link to Heathrow from the west will dramatically improve rail links, reduce congestion on existing rail services and provide a boost to the local economy.

“It’s important that we take the opportunity to discuss these plans so we can ensure the investment made in a bigger, better railway delivers maximum benefit.”

Colin Matthews, Heathrow’s chief executive, said: “Network Rail’s plans will drive economic growth through improved access to overseas markets. Heathrow is already in a better location than any other UK airport.

“Western rail access will build on that strength, helping to make sure that the whole of the UK benefits from the growth opportunities global connectivity brings.”