Railway from Reading to Heathrow

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  transtraxman 24 Feb 2016
at 18:38

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  • Anonymous


    Interesting news that seems not to have attracted any comment – albeit there remains a lot to do before this can be built.


    The route for a direct rail link from Reading to Heathrow has been announced.

    Western Rail Access to Heathrow (WRAtH) will split from the Great Western Mainline, at Langley, east of Slough and travel direct to Terminal 5.

    Network Rail says the link could be in place by 2021 and will allow passengers to travel from Reading to Heathrow in 28 minutes.

    The route was originally proposed by Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Slough Borough Council six years ago and was included as part of the government’s 2012 list of rail projects to be delivered.

    Patrick Hallgate, Network Rail route managing director Western route, said: “Our plans for a new rail link to Heathrow from the west will dramatically improve rail links, reduce congestion on existing rail services and provide a boost to the local economy.”

    Passengers wanting to access Heathrow from Reading currently have to travel to Paddington and then change or use the RailAir coach service from Reading Station.

    The new line would leave the mainline east of Langley Station and go by tunnel all the way to T5.

    Network Rail says it could begin initial highway enabling work at the end of 2016, if planning permission is granted, with tunnel enabling work starting in early 2018 and the project completed in 2021.

    Ruth Bagley, chief executive of Slough Borough Council and Thames Valley Berkshire LEP lead for WRAtH, said: “This is excellent news for Slough, the sub region and the country as a whole.

    “Heathrow is the engine driving the economy of Thames Valley Berkshire and all points west but for too long, businesses have had to rely on the road network to access the airport.

    “Now the route has been confirmed as connecting the mainline east of Slough, businesses will be able to access their international markets faster and more reliably than ever.”

    The WRAtH project is forecast to generate more than £2 billion in economic benefits to the UK as well as 40,000 new jobs.


    2021 eh.

    I wonder if we will have come to any conclusions about airport capacity by then.


    Take note that if/when this rail link is committed then there will be a third runway at Heathrow without doubt.

    The only hope is that the “powers that be” do not consider this as a one-off effort to “use up ” the two free platforms at LHR T5. It must be the first step in a direct connection to Gatwick, and eventually the Channel Tunnel (thus bypassing Central London). Let us hope the politicians can see further than the end of their noses and realise the inevitability/benefits of the process.


    As great as this idea is, the thing I don’t understand is why Crossrail is not starting from Reading in the first place. That would give you the reading-heathrow link straightaway. Instead, Crossrail will start from Maidenhead. I suspect the original reason why Crossrail consider reading as the starting point was because of the capacity issues at reading station. But now that the Reading expansion is nearing completion, the capacity will be there.

    More than that, it appears that the infrastructure for the overhead power lines is also being installed. Has anyone noticed that the maintenance sheds being built to the west of Reading station has overhead power lines running from them to the station? I can assume that these sheds are intended for maintaining the crossrail trains. In which case the trains will be running through Reading so why not start the service from there?


    Similar to the rail infrastructure enhancements announced for LGW, until the London Hub debate is clarified (especially the location of any new LHR runways or an estuary option being totally ruled out), I doubt if there will be actual action on developments/new links to LHR.

    Bath_VIP – given MP Ian Liddell-Grainger is in your county, I was wondering if you have written to him concerning the offence he has undoubtedly caused you by referring to Lord Smith as a “Little Git”. Or do you find it acceptable to use the pejorative wrt size when you agree with the sentiment and/or it is conveyed by a MP and Tory? – Both Lord Smith and Walsh are appalling leaders imo, are you selective or inclusive when choosing to take offence.



    The crossrail line has been named “The Elizabeth Line” – nice choice.


    LHR has stations at T4 and T2/3 which connect Reading to Romford and beyond – lucky TOWIE



    Brilliant choice of name…….inspired, can’t wait to travel on it.


    There is currently a coach every 20 mins from Reading station to LHR, so would not see the point of anyone going through Reading, going into Paddington and then changing. Current service is very good although expensive.


    The Reading – Heathrow line is not Crossrail.

    I repeat what I said two years ago. The planning should be such that the line can be extended to Gatwick and Ashford thus providing the possibility of Eurostar (or equivalent) services to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne, even from Reading. That would free up some slots at LHR.

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