Phase one of the Windsor Link Railway provides better connections between the important economic areas around the the M3 and M4 corridors leading to south-west London – correcting an historical anomaly caused by the boundary between the original railway companies. Phase two connects both areas to Heathrow.


Better transport helps shops and businesses. Over 100 local companies have written to the Secretary of State for Transport in support of the Windsor Link Railway, including:



In addition to support from local businesses, WLR has received overwhelming support from local people responding to a survey and a petition generated over 1,000 signatures. Last summer, WLR also announced that its proposals had been positively received by Network Rail.

The company is now working on more detailed plans and is in negotiations to raise further private finance.

  • Theresa Villiers 300x200The Government is keen to explore innovative ways of funding proposals for new train services and rail infrastructure which meet transport needs and deliver value for money. Ministers welcome the proposals for the Windsor Link Railway.

    Rt Hon Theresa Villiers Transport Minister, 2011-12

Connecting Heathrow to the west by rail

The Airport Commission led by Sir Howard Davies has released it’s interim report giving a short-list of three options:

  • A Heathrow north-west runway, as proposed by Heathrow Airport Limited
  • A Heathrow super-long, north runway extended to the west, as proposed by Heathrow Hub Limited
  • An extra runway at Gatwick

The Commission has also left the door open for a Thames Estuary airport, effectively making a fourth option.


Sir Howard has also written previously to the Chancellor on the importance of surface access and the need for better south-west access to Heathrow I the short-term, whatever option is finally selected.

As summarised by the table below, this results in the Windsor Link Railway emerging as the optimum solution, and the only one that is consistent with his remaining four options.

Direct tunnel to Slough

£1 billion

  • NW Heathrow runway construction would conflict
    Would still need SW rail connection
  • Super-long runway construction would conflict
    Would still need SW rail connection
  • Gatwick expansion would make a SW connection to Heathrow a higher priority
  • A new Thames Estuary airport would make this link useless, a ‘white elephant’
  • Medium value-for-money

Heathrow Hub link

£2 billion +

  • NW runway would be in the wrong place
    Would still need SW rail connection
  • Heathrow Hub link would cause train service pattern problems on Great Western line, meaning longer journey times than other options. Disruption to Windsor Lines and more difficult SW connection
  • Gatwick expansion would make this link less useful but still very expensive
  • The Heathrow Hub link would not be sensible unless a Thames Estuary airport was ruled out forever
  • Low value-for-money

Windsor Link Railway

£0.5 billion

  • Good support for NW runway
  • Good support for super-long runways (although would require a tunnel under diverted M25 rather than a bridge over the existing route)
  • Good support for Gatwick expansion, as would provide better links not just from Heathrow but also from the the Thames Valley to Gatwick
  • Excellent support for a new Thames Estuary airport, as would facilitate links from the Thames Valley, Gatwick and the Wessex region to the new airport
  • Very high value-for-money