Plans for a new southern rail link to Heathrow Airport are facing delays and might not come into operation until 2030. A government supported project for a mostly privately funded rail link connecting towns to the south of the airport has also been revamped so that it no longer mandates a heavy railway service.
They’ve left open options which include light rail, guided busways, autonomous pods — and even maglev, but the Heathrow Southern Railway (HSRL) group warns that the decision to open up the travel options pushes back the opening date unnecessarily.
While the government expects something to be ready for 2030, HSRL says it could have a conventional railway up and running by 2026, just ahead of the planned opening of a new rail link to Reading and beyond. The total cost is put at somewhere in the region of £1.3 billion to £1.6 billion.
HSRL’s current plans are to build 10 kilometres of rail infrastructure from the west end of the existing Terminal 5 station, mainly in tunnel, with an intermediate link with the Windsor-Staines Line and then onwards to connect to the existing rail network near Staines and Virginia Water.
The government report is now more ambiguous about how it will improve public transport from Surrey to Heathrow and is essentially leaving open the potential for something other than a conventional railway.
Not a monorail though.