The consortium behind the Western Rail Access to Heathrow (WRAtH) project has begun an “informal consultation” into its plans for 5km of new tunnels to connect Heathrow Terminal 5 with Langley Station. But beware, if you thought Hub’s plans were “doodles”, these are even less developed!
Led by Slough chief executive, Ruth Bagley, the WRAtH team launched its consultation on Friday 6 February. Despite the Council not publicising the project directly to residents, she claims WRatH wants to reach out to as many as possible:
The WRAtH project is an odd one in that all the other projects listed in the Route Strategy are agreed and funded, whereas the WRAtH link is ‘subject to funding, a value for money assessment and agreement of acceptable terms with the aviation industry’. Slough Council is currently seeking a contribution from local businesses and Heathrow, as well as taxpayers.
WLR believes that its phase 2, which does all that WRAtH does plus linking south London, Ascot, Windsor and the south generally to Heathrow via Staines is a cheaper solution that delivers more value (even to Slough). That said, it is clear that the WRAtH project has political momentum and that this may be enough to get it built. On the other hand, relying on political bluster and sweeping issues under the carpet was what scuppered AirTrack (BAA’s proposal for a south-western link to Heathrow) despite seeming inevitable at one stage.
This is partly the reason that the Windsor Link Railway is split into two phases. Phase 1 links Slough to Waterloo via Windsor. Phase 2 is the link to Heathrow. Whichever route is chosen for the connection to Heathrow, phase 1 is complementary to it and this is WLR’s focus at the moment.