Sec of State for Wales says South Wales to Heathrow rail link would provide major economic boost
Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones, has said a £500m direct rail link between Heathrow and South Wales would be a major economic driver for the area. He said better infrastructure would play a crucial role in growth of the Welsh economy. Last year the UK Government outlined its commitment to the Western Rail Access scheme – a new rail link which will cut 30 minutes off the journey times from South Wales. Network Rail is currently looking at options for the proposed spur, including direct services from South Wales on the Great Western Main Line into Heathrow, or providing a separate shuttle service from Reading. And David Jones added the standard speil about “Fast and convenient links to our major airports are crucial as we look to compete in the global race.” What race? Colin Matthews said 8.8% of the 1.3 million people in the UK working for foreign-owned firms that use Heathrow are from Wales.
South Wales to Heathrow rail link would provide major economic boost
Secretary of State for Wales David Jones [the principal minister of Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Wales] said a £500m direct rail link between Heathrow and South Wales would be a major economic driver
A £500m rail link from Heathrow Airport to South Wales would provide a major economic boost, Secretary of State for Wales David Jones said today.
Mr Jones met senior executives at the airport yesterday ahead of flying out on a UK Government trade mission to Indonesia and Singapore
Last year the UK Government outlined its commitment to the Western Rail Access scheme – a new rail link to Heathrow which will cut 30 minutes off the journey times from South Wales with a spur from Reading Station to the UK’s current only UK hub.
Mr Jones highlighted the crucial role such an infrastructure development will play in the growth of the Welsh economy during a tour of the airport’s new terminal 2.
Mr Jones said: “Wales, like the rest of the country, benefits from access to the UK’s excellent aviation networks.
“Heathrow plays a vital role in this, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to see the very latest developments taking place at this important economic hub.
“Fast and convenient links to our major airports are crucial as we look to compete in the global race.
“This Government is determined to improve the ability for passengers to access Heathrow and has committed to take forward the Western Rail Access scheme.
“This will allow direct rail access into Heathrow from south Wales and further enhance Wales’s ability to benefit from the economic opportunities Heathrow creates.
Network Rail is currently working on a number of engineering options for the proposed spur, including whether it could accommodate direct services from South Wales on the Great Western Main Line into the airport or provide a separate shuttle service from Reading.
While the UK Government has made a commitment to the project a final decision on its funding and a construction timescale for when work might start has yet to be confirmed.
However, it has been included in Network Rail’s five year infrastructure spending period from 2019-2024.
Mr Jones said: “Connecting South Wales to the UK’s main air hub is a vital component for Welsh businesses. Moreover, it will make Wales itself a more attractive destination for businesses looking to invest in the UK.”
Chief executive of Heathrow Colin Matthew said: “1.3 million people have jobs with a foreign-owned firm which are facilitated by travelling through Heathrow. 8.8% of those live in Wales, the highest proportion in the UK.
“The benefits of the Wales-Heathrow link are set to improve further with Western Rail access, which will offer direct access for businesses to the hub and ensure the whole nation benefits from the growth opportunities brought by global connectivity.”