February 09, 2019 08:18 PM
Cross-party parliamentarians supporting ‘Western Rail Link to Heathrow’ at Westminster, London.


Chandigarh (Face2News)

A group of cross-party MPs, members of House of Lords, business and community leaders besides local council leaders convened to discuss progress of 'Western Rail Link to Heathrow' project during an all party parliamentary group (APPG) meeting and resolved to get wider support from more parliamentarians and external supporters for realization of this prestigious plan connecting Slough with Heathrow at the earliest.

Tanmanjit Singh Dhesi MP Co-Chair of APPG opened proceedings by describing the proposed rail track’s benefits both economical and environmental and pointing out that local concerns must be addressed. While expressing dismay over long wait to execute the plan Richard Benyon MP (Co-Chair) explained about its huge advantages for Newbury, the South and West of England and Wales.

During a detailed presentation by Gareth Hurley from Network Rail and Paul Britton from Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce highlighted the transformational effects from the delivery of this scheme since 20% of the UK population would be within one interchange of the busiest airport in Europe.

Tim Smith, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP and rail link Stakeholder Steering Group Coordinator said this APPG was extremely constructive and reiterated the clear and strong support for this project.

On the occasion Chairman of National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt, who served as Commissioner at Airports Commission and Chairman of Olympic Delivery Authority, spoke about the benefits of this rail link while noting that a lot more work needed to be done and this could only be achieved through partnership.

It is mentioned here that Western Rail Link to Heathrow proposal consists of 6.5 km rail link between Slough and London Heathrow Airport. This connection would reduce journey times for passengers travelling to Heathrow from the South Coast, South West, Wales and West Midlands as there would be no need for them to travel through to London Paddington.

This rail link would also reduce congestion on some of the busiest motorways and roads besides cutting emissions dramatically. The train journey to Heathrow from Slough would be reduced from 52 minutes to 6 minutes, Reading from 68 minutes to 26 minutes and Maidenhead from 59 minutes to 14 minutes. In addition to this CO2 could be reduced by 30 million road miles travelled annually.

Further, as 70% of foreign owned businesses in the country located within 60 minutes travelling distance from Heathrow would also more efficient access and encourage even more investment to a wider range of areas. It is estimated that this rail link could increase economic activity nationally by £800 million.

Among others attended the meeting included Christine Rees, Andy McDonald, former attorney general Dominic Grieve, Matt Rodda, Luke Pollard, Matt Western, David Drew and Jim Shannon (all MPs) and Lord Ranbir Suri.

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