Heathrow Airport is considering its next move after losing a legal challenge over the level of charges it is entitled to charge Crossrail to use a section of track to the airport.
Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) built the five-mile stretch of track linking to the Great Western main line twenty years ago.
Last year regulator the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) ruled that HAL could not introduce all of its proposed new charges for train operators – such as Crossrail – to use the track.
It said the airport wanted to charge Crossrail services, which start next year, £597 per train to recoup historical build costs, plus £138 per train for operational expenditure.
Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) services start next year
HAL challenged the ORR’s decision in the High Court but a judge has now ruled against it.
In a statement, the ORR said: ‘We welcome this judgment and we will now work with all the affected parties to enable Crossrail services to start running as scheduled into the airport.’
Howard Smith, Transport for London’s operations director for the Elizabeth line (Crossrail) also welcomed the judgment. He said: ‘We look forward to working swiftly with Heathrow to conclude final details of access arrangements for Elizabeth line services.'
Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said:‘Heathrow keep going on about wanting more people to get to the airport by public transport, but in this case they've been actively trying to impose high charges that would prevent this.
‘If Heathrow take this approach on the third runway, where the access costs could be up to £18bn, that on its own should be enough to get the whole project rejected.’
HAL said it was disappointed with the ruling and considering its next steps. A spokesperson said: ‘Heathrow is committed to increasing sustainable public transport to the airport – that’s why we invested in Crossrail, built the Heathrow Express rail service, support Piccadilly line services to the airport, and subsidise Europe’s largest free bus network.
‘We are looking forward to the arrival of Crossrail in May 2018 as part of our plans to treble Heathrow’s rail capacity by 2040 and put the airport at the heart of an integrated transport network in London.’
Separately, Heathrow said it will shortly launch an initial consultation on the 'design and structure' of its airspace as part of plans for a third runway.