The Windsor Link Railway has been listed in the Hansford Review*. Mark Carne, Chief Executive of Network Rail says:
Network Rail is ultimately accountable to the public for the safety and operation of the vast majority of the rail network in Britain. But that should not mean that Network Rail is the only body that can build or renew infrastructure on or around the railway. I believe in the power of competition to drive efficiency, creativity and innovation. These are not always words associated with the rail industry. But I want them to be.
That is why, in December 2016, I commissioned Professor Peter Hansford, former Chief Construction Advisor to the UK Government, to carry out a review into the barriers that prevent third parties building on, and potentially investing in, our railways. Professor Hansford and his review team consulted with over 150 individuals and organisations. He presented his findings to Network Rail’s Board in June 2017, and today we are publishing his report in full. I would like to thank him and his team for all their hard work, as well as everyone who took the time to contribute to the review.
The review makes a number of recommendations for Network Rail, which we accept wholeheartedly. We are now committing to changing our behaviours and approaches so that a range of organisations can come forward with alternative solutions and new ways of working.
WLR also welcomes the Hansford Review. We also thank Prof Hansford for consulting us and for including our proposals for better connections to Heathrow as one of the case studies of private investment in rail.
The Windsor Link Railway aims to be the first privately promoted and funded addition to the core network in living memory, saving £2 billion against other schemes for connecting to the UK’s main airport and delivering better services, locally and nationally. The scheme also aims to be a pilot for many other missing links across the country, saving billions more and improving lives.
*WLR is cited twice in the Hansford Review, on pp 17 and 55. The first reference is as a ‘type F’ project, promoted by a third party and paid for via a new funding mechanism agreed with the DfT. The second reference is as a solution to Southern Rail Access. WLR in fact provides both western and southern access, two for the price of one, saving the taxpayer £2 billion.