Four trains an hour could go from Twyford to HeathrowBy Lucy Thorne
October 11, 2012
Four trains an hour could be carrying hundreds of passengers from Twyford to Heathrow by 2018.
The Western Rail Access to Heathrow (WRAtH) project, along with airport expansion, was the main agenda item when more than 100 property professionals gathered for the annual Thames Valley Property Forum at Ascot Racecourse.
Trains from Reading would stop at Twyford, Maidenhead and Slough and delegates were warned that without the scheme, firms will leave the Thames Valley.
The £500m WRAtH project is spearheaded by Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership. WRAtH would cut journey times for hundreds of thousands of people each year both locally and from the South West and Wales, who would change at Reading, where trains would take 28 minutes.
Ruth Bagley, chief executive of Slough Borough Council and lead on WRAtH for Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, told the conference investors could get a return on their money within 10 to15 years.
She added: “The proposal we came up with and has been adopted by Network Rail, and in principle by the government, could be operational by 2020. I believe it could be built by 2018. It will cost under half a billion pounds.”
Mrs Bagley said 80 per cent of businesses have stated that access to Heathrow from the Thames Valley is a problem with those from Reading spending an estimated £10m a year on taxis to Heathrow. One business was reported to be spending £10,000 a year getting to the airport.
WRAtH would create 42,000 jobs in the region, reduce carbon emissions and increase economic activity.
At the conference on September 13 she highlighted the risk to 17m sq ft of office space in the Thames Valley and West London that comes up for lease renewal over the next three years, adding: “If access is not improved, some of these business decisions will be to move, not just from the Thames Valley but from the UK.”
Carol Walker, of Twyford’s Thames Valley Travel, said: “The option to have a choice of a direct service by rail to Heathrow from Twyford has to be a great alternative and in turn ease traffic congestion on the M4.
“It would be very good for our clients as currently most travel by car.”