New Airtrack plan to connect Heathrow
Published: 28 October 2011
Plans for a new direct rail service from south London to Heathrow have been unveiled by Wandsworth Council.
The proposal - which is based on BAA's Airtrack scheme - would provide four trains an hour from Waterloo to Terminal 5 with stops in the borough at Clapham Junction and Putney.
The plans avoid routeing extra trains through level crossings in Mortlake and Egham. This was a key problem with the original scheme which was scrapped by BAA in April.
Now Wandsworth has come up with a new plan - called Airtrack-Lite - that routes two trains an hour from Waterloo via the Hounslow loop. Two existing services on the Waterloo-Windsor line would split at Staines to provide a further direct link to Terminal Five.
Two services an hour would also come up from Weybridge to Heathrow - again without adding extra frequencies over level crossings at Egham.
The new scheme would require a new station at Staines and a new stretch of track from here to Terminal 5. The rest of the route would run along existing lines.
Heathrow is one of Europe's busiest airports but is served only by the Heathrow Express to Paddington and by the Piccadilly Line. This forces Wandsworth residents to travel north through London to join a Heathrow bound service rather than travelling direct.
Leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia said:
"It's time Heathrow was put at the centre of a genuine local rail network which offered easy access to communities on all sides of the airport. It's the only way to get more traffic off the roads."
The council is now discussing the case for Airtrack-Lite with the Department for Transport as part of the Wandsworth Travel Choices campaign. This new initiative aims to bring smarter, faster and greener transport options to the borough like pay-as-you-go bike hire, car clubs and new rail services.