PLANS have been published for a new railway connecting the Great Western Main Line with Heathrow Airport and London Waterloo via Windsor, which could be a link creating a future ‘M25 rail route’ encircling Greater London. Windsor Link Railway
Most of the rest of such a route either exists or is already being built, such as East West Rail between Oxford and Bedford.
The Windsor project includes a new railway in tunnel connecting the two existing stations at Windsor, with Riverside being replaced by a new central station and transport interchange. The result would also be an improvement to the urban environment in Windsor, according to its promoters.
A new railway would be built connecting the present Windsor Riverside line with Heathrow Terminal 5, and several possible routes have been identified for this.
The cost is being put at £375 million, to be funded by the private sector. Investors would also bear the risk of any cost overruns.
Promoters of the Windsor Link Railway have published a strategic case, and a formal feasibility study – a ‘GRIP 2’ report – has now been submitted to Network Rail.
The scheme was included in the recent Hansford Review, which was commissioned by Network Rail and recommends more private investment in the rail industry.
The Windsor Link report was prepared by engineering consultants Pell Frischmann in collaboration with Network Rail, with support from Skanska Infrastructure Development.
The conclusion is that the scheme is ‘eminently feasible’, and that viable options exist for the route, but that further investigations are now necessary before the design process can progress to GRIP3, the stage known as ‘option selection’.
The report says: “While there are areas of complexity within the scheme, they are all capable of being solved by more than one solution, each of which are long-standing and recognised construction practices. This means that the risk of the scheme from an engineering design and construction perspective is low. The scheme is therefore eminently feasible.”
The man behind the scheme is George Bathurst. He said: “I am pleased to have reached this important milestone. The next stage for us will be ‘option selection’. This chooses the best alignment of the tunnel through Windsor and the location of the new station.”
The report comes on the heels of a separate proposal for another privately funded scheme called Heathrow Southern Railway, which like the Windsor Link would use the two vacant platforms at Terminal 5 station.
“Heathrow Southern Railway”: The new £1.2 billion train line which could link Heathrow with Guildford and Waterloo
Plans have been unveiled for a new £1.2bn railway line which could finally link Heathrow Airport with trains from Guildford, Farnborough, Woking and London Waterloo. The Heathrow Southern Railway (HSR) proposal aims to greatly improve rail access to the airport. It is not part of Heathrow Ltd. A new route could see trains from Woking go direct to Heathrow at the same fares to those if you were going to Waterloo. The project could also see direct access to the airport from towns such as Weybridge, Egham, Guildford, Woking and Farnborough too. Though still in its extremely early stages, the HSR team have given some consideration thought to how the project could be achieved. Easier rail travel to and from Heathrow for those to the south and in Surrey has been needed for a long time. The proposal includes an additional 8 miles of rail to be constructed along the M25. The HSR scheme hopes to deliver fast, direct and frequent rail access to Heathrow from the south and south west where services are not offered by rail. Also frequent service to Waterloo via Richmond and Putney and links to south London, Sussex and Kent through Clapham Junction and Waterloo East. It could also provide direct trains to Paddington from the south and south west via Heathrow creating an alternative London terminal to Waterloo and with Elizabeth Line providing connections to the West End, the City and Docklands.