Company has plan for high speed rail, linking HS1 with HS2, via Gatwick and Heathrow
This firm has come up with an ‘M25 for high-speed trains’ spanning both Heathrow and Gatwick
By Rebecca Smith (City AM)
Tuesday 6 March 2018
A new proposal for a new high-speed railway passing both Gatwick and Heathrow has been developed to enhance other major infrastructure projects for the south east.
Engineering consultancy Expedition today revealed its £10bn plan for HS4Air, which would connect the existing HS1 rail line with the planned HS2 along a route that passes via London’s biggest airports.
Read more: A Laing O’Rourke joint venture has just pulled out of a £1.7bn HS2 contract
Alistair Lenczner, director at Expedition leading the development of the HS4Air proposal, said discussions are currently ongoing with a number of interested parties, spanning both national and regional bodies.
How would the M25 for high-speed trains work?
140km long between its connections with HS1 at Ashford and HS2 near Denham
A fifth of the railway will run in tunnels to avoid too big an environmental impact
Around 40 per cent of the route re-uses the existing Network Rail railway between Tonbridge and Ashford
He said: “HS4Air has been developed to allow rail and aviation infrastructure projects in south east England that are currently unconnected to become joined-up. This will offer greatly enhanced benefits for users and provide better value for the investments currently being made in the UK’s strategic infrastructure.”
In a way HS4Air can be regarded as a high-speed railway version of the M25 around London, except that it allows much faster journey times with no congestion and with far less impact on the environment.
The planned railway would provide fast direct access to both Gatwick and Heathrow airports from major UK cities to the north and west of London. Rail passengers would be able to travel to both on “fast regular services” from cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff without needing to switch trains.
Expedition says it will also slash journey times for passengers travelling between places south of London and towns in the Midlands. It wants a 15-minute surface transfer shuttle between Gatwick and Heathrow using high-speed shuttles between airport stations on the HS4Air railway.
Lenczner said the proposal was an example of integrated strategic planning that spans across multiple infrastructure sectors that “are too often planned within their separate ‘silos'”.
Expedition envisages the proposal alleviating pressure on the M25 and the number of domestic flights involving Heathrow and Gatwick.
Firm pitches “an M25 for high-speed trains” to pass through Heathrow and Gatwick
A London-based engineering consultancy has proposed a transformative high-speed railway which would connect the major airports of the UK and enhance current transport infrastructure projects planned in the south-east.
Expedition has unveiled its plan for HS4Air, which connects the existing HS1 rail line to the planned HS2 rail line along a route that passes via both Gatwick and Heathrow airports. The project would also provide fast and direct rail access from major cities north and west of London including Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff, while “dramatically reducing journey times”.
Those behind the proposal estimate the cost to be approximately £10bn and would provide relief for London’s rail network, on the M25 and the number of domestic flights involving Heathrow and Gatwick.
Expedition director Alistair Lenczner, who has led the development of the HS4Air proposal, believes the proposed network would provide better value for investments currently being made in the UK. The director presented his vision for HS4Air this week at an event held at the Institution of Civil Engineers.
“HS4Air has been developed to allow rail and aviation infrastructure projects in south east England that are currently unconnected to become joined-up,” Lenczner said. “In a way HS4Air can be regarded as a high-speed railway version of the M25 around London, except that it allows much faster journey times with no congestion and with far less impact on the environment”. The proposed HS4Air project is an example of integrated strategic planning that spans across multiple infrastructure sectors that are too often planned within separate “silos”.
The 140km long proposed network would run between its connections with HS1 at Ashford and its proposed connection with HS2 near Denham. Approximately 20% of HS4Air would run in tunnels to avoid adversely impacting on environmentally sensitive areas such as the Surrey Hills.
A 15-minute surface transfer shuttle time between the airports using dedicated high-speed shuttles has also been identified as a benefit on the HS4Air railway. The fast and frequent shuttle services would make it possible for passengers to make convenient and reliable transfers between Gatwick and Heathrow and for airlines to share operations between the two airports.
Expedition has been responsible for major projects like the London Olympic Velodrome and the Infinity Bridge in Stockton-on-Tees. It now hopes to continue preliminary talks with interested parties both nationally and internationally.
See earlier, on the idea of “Heathwick” (which neither Heathrow nor Gatwick wanted at all):
News from Victoria Borwick: “We’ve missed the boat on an Estuary airport” says Victoria Borwick
18 JANUARY 2012
London Assembly member, Victoria Borwick, has said this morning that the time for building a new airport in the Thames estuary has passed and that the Government should look at quicker alternatives to boost aviation capacity in south east England. Instead she is suggesting that Heathrow and Gatwick are linked by an air-side 15minute high-speed rail line; that a second runway be built at Gatwick and that greater, more efficient use is made of the smaller airports that surround London. Speaking as the Government announced a formal consultation into the idea of building a new multi-runway airport in the Thames Estuary, Mrs Borwick said: “The idea of a Thames Estuary airport is a great one – that’s why they started building one in the early 1970s, but Harold Wilson’s government scrapped it. Decades have now passed with no real long-term thought given to how we accommodate growth in demand for aviation. We need to expand our routes to the emerging economies of the Far East and Latin America. “Plans for an estuary airport at last recognise the need to expand capacity, but it would take decades to build – and we need that capacity now. “That is why I am proposing that Heathrow and Gatwick are turned into a virtual hub airport, linked by high-speed rail, that a second runway is built at Gatwick and that more efficient use is made of London’s “second tier” airports such as Southend and Manston. “I believe that this solution will provide the capacity we need, at a much lower cost and much more quickly than the Estuary idea and that it should be seriously examined as a solution to London air capacity crunch.” ENDS