Western Rail Access to Heathrow (WRAtH) route announced

By Anita Jaynes on 26 February, 2014

Network Rail has whittled down four main options for rail access to the airport to one – which splits from the mainline at Langley, east of Slough, and travels direct to Terminal 5. A route from the mainline at Langley to Heathrow T5 was originally proposed six years ago and included as part of the government’s 2012 list of rail projects to be delivered – which released £500million of funding.

The new line will slash journey times to Heathrow from the Thames Valley including Swindon, the west of England and South Wales. Journey times from Slough will be just six minutes and from Reading just 28 minutes. Improvements to journeys would also be seen as far west as Cardiff, Swansea, Exeter and Plymouth.

Swindon Chamber of Commerce supports this announcement and believes it will generate more than £220million in economic benefits to the Greater Thames Valley including Swindon the South West and Wales along with 40,000 new jobs. WRAtH will reduce congestion on busy routes throughout the Thames Valley, making the region more accessible for business and attracting inward investment.

Clair Prosser, Policy Executive, Swindon Chamber, said: “This is excellent news for Swindon, the sub region and the country as a whole. Heathrow is the engine driving the economy of the Thames Valley and all points west but for too long, businesses have had to rely on the road network to access the airport. Now the route has been confirmed as connecting the mainline east of Slough, businesses will be able to access their international markets faster and more reliably than ever.”