Plans for a western rail link to Heathrow Aiport have been paused by Network Rail.
The planned Western Rail Link to Heathrow (WRLtH) is designed to make it much easier for people to the western side of the airport to arrive by train, as at the moment, visits can involve heading further into London, then taking a train back out to the airport.
Although the project had been delayed due to the pandemic, it was still under development.
Originally slated to be completed by 2021, the £900 million railway link had already had its construction start pushed back to 2024, and is now likely to be even later than that.
The minutes of a Network Rail board meeting that have just been published reveal that “the project was being brought to a controlled pause, to a point where it could be picked up again at some future point”
Mike Gallop, Western Route Director at Network Rail added that the “people working on this project were being reallocated to other projects.” and that “the DfT would periodically update its business case for WRLtH, reflecting any significant changes to both the aviation and rail sectors as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Although the rail link is classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, funding for it is dependent on contributions from Heathrow Airport and the aviation industry in general. With air travel in the doldrums at the moment, they are not in a position to stump up the money.