On Friday, Network Rail launched a consultation for a new western rail link to Heathrow. This will enable passengers throughout the west to travel to the airport without the need to travel into London. This will mean faster, more reliable and convenient journeys for passengers, with travel times expected to be around 26 minutes from Reading and only six minutes from Slough; providing a step-change in rail accessibility at Europe’s busiest airport.

There are a number of benefits which include:

  • Reduced journey times, bringing them in line with road travel times
  • Improved rail access to Heathrow from the Thames Valley, South Coast, South West, South Wales and West Midlands
  • Providing an alternative form of transport for passengers and the airport workforce currently travelling by car and coach
  • Easing congestion on roads and lower CO2 emissions equivalent to 30 million road miles per year on some of the most congested stretches of the UK’s motorway network
  • Generating a predicted £800 million of economic growth across the Thames Valley and surrounding areas

Responding to the consultation, Richard said:

“This is a fantastic project, one that has the potential to boost the economy of the West Berkshire.

“We are fortunate to have a number of truly global businesses based in this area and the new rail link will bring Newbury closer to the rest of the world. As we leave the European Union, we need to create opportunities around the world to do business and the western rail link will help build that vision of a global Newbury.

“I would encourage my constituents to contribute to the consultation.”

Richard is working with a number of other MPs, both locally and across the west of the UK to generate support for this project. On 1st May, Richard held the inaugural meeting of the Western Rail Link All Party Parliamentary Group with co-chair Tan Dhesi, Member of Parliament for Slough.

At the meeting Richard said: “I am delighted that this project has got the support of MPs from different parties from across the west of England and Wales.

“The benefits of the project are substantial and only for 6km of track with very few land or technical obstacles to overcome.”

The consultation closes on 22nd June and can be found here.