A council near Heathrow has submitted proposals to ministers for a £375m light rail link to the expanding airport.
Spelthorne Borough Council is ‘actively promoting’ the new transport link from Staines-upon-Thames to Heathrow, ‘to provide joined up journeys into the airport from the South’.
The station for the light rail scheme would be close to the existing railway station, ‘with seamless and frequent connectivity’. Trains will run every six minutes and take seven minutes to reach the airport. The route would mostly run alongside the M25, using brownfield land.
The council has said the scheme is expected to cost £375m and would be funded by private backers. It has now submitted its plans to the Department for Transport in response to a call for market-led proposals.
It cited ‘tried and tested’ light rail solutions across the world, including the Docklands Light Railway and the planned scheme to connect the rail network to Luton airport.
The council said that proposals for traditional rail access would take up a large amount of space and cut a swathe through Staines Moor, a valued and legally protected area, which is ‘unacceptable’.
It added that these other proposals would not benefit its residents as they involve through services that would not stop at any of the borough’s railway stations.
Council leader Ian Harvey said: ‘I am very excited about this ground-breaking scheme, which creates seamless connectivity from the heart of our borough to the airport and enables our residents to access the airport more easily.
‘The scheme would reduce congestion on the road and rail networks and has the added benefit of rejuvenating our main town centre in Staines-upon-Thames and giving a huge economic boost to the whole borough. For us it's no brainer.’