Yesterday, the high speed link to the north (HS2) and Crossrail projects were confirmed by the Chancellor. We hope to hear next week from the Secretary of State on the fate of Airtrack.
A reader, however, as emailed to ask how the Windsor Link would connect to HS2 and what would be the best option for local people. This is in the context of the Secretary of State asking for a better way of connecting to Heathrow than the plans announced by the previous government.
Although it should be emphasised that this is not part of the Windsor Link project, one possible schematic is shown below.
This, answers all the questions raised by the Secretary of State about including Heathrow but without compromising the high speed service to the north by making it go via the airport. This assumes that the Old Oak Common interchange goes ahead – to provide a second London terminal so as not to overload Euston and to connect to Crossrail. Heathrow is now connected to the north by a spur off the HS2 line from the north. This gives the best times to the airport. There is no point having a High Speed connection to London as the distance is too short for the trains to get going.
Instead, the Windsor Link recommends a new Heathrow Express service to St Pancras. This is partly because the existing Heathrow Express will become less useful because of Crossrail. It is also because most HS trains and most other travellers from the north will come into this station. This is therefore the best place to link with to achieve the government’s objective of reducing domestic air travel. As the HS2 spur and the link between HS1 and HS2 may not be affordable before HS2 opens, the new Heathrow Express will therefore also offer an interim service both connecting the two high speed lines and Heathrow.
This is also the best solution for local people as, combined with the Windsor Link, it will greatly reduce travel times to the north, both on the HS2 and traditional rail, and travel time to the contintent.
The Windsor Link acts as a feeder network to HS2 and the New Heathrow Express, meaning that more people can access these new services without causing more road traffic.