The government has announced that £500 million has been put aside for a western rail link to Heathrow. The sum has been added to the High Level Output Specification (HLOS) for the rail industry.

This isn’t, however, quite the support for the WRAtH solution that Slough BC is claiming. As WLR revealed previously, the government and the HLOS supports the principle of a link not the precise route. This means that the money can be spent either on Slough’s proposal (missing out Windsor and not serving south of Heathrow) or the competing WLR. The WLR serves not only the Great Western Line but also the south and therefore has a business case that is over 5 times as strong as that for WRAtH so now that government money has been made available it is more likely than ever to go ahead.

Phase 1 of the WLR is unaffected by this announcement. It’s main purpose is to link Slough to Staines and south London via Windsor so whichever route is eventually chosen for linking to Heathrow, phase 1 will add value to it and provide for a wider range of train journeys and more transport capacity in the region.