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2004-11-02 SCC-001
Surrey County Council

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MPs agree Airtrack will improve travel for Heathrow passengers


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Surrey County Council

MPs agree Airtrack will improve travel for Heathrow passengers
_______________________________________________________________


date
2 November 2004
source Surrey County Council
type Press release



MPs and senior politicians met at the House of Commons to hear how AirTrack, the proposed new rail link to Heathrow would dramatically improve access to the airport.

George Burnett from Surrey County Council and Chairman of the AirTrack Forum outlined the proposal and its benefits at the parliamentary reception hosted by Philip Hammond MP. The VIP audience included Sir George Young MP and Surrey MPs Sir Paul Beresford, Sue Doughty and David Wilshire.

Using the existing rail network but with improved interchanges, passengers from the south east would be able to reach Heathrow more easily and with only one change of train. Journey times would be significantly cut for example the service from Guildford to Heathrow would take just over half an hour.

The AirTrack service would cut traffic congestion on local and regional roads and improve the environment while helping economic development in the south east.

A new regular and reliable rail service to Britain's busiest international airport would attract up to 15 million passengers a year and take 5,000 cars off the road.

The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) recognises that there is a need to improve rail accessibility to Heathrow and publicly stated their support, along with other AirTrack Forum partners including British Airways and the South East England Development Agency.

Although still at the proposal stage, AirTrack has won the approval of major organisations and key business players in the south east. Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council's Executive Member for Transportation welcomes the enthusiastic response given at the parliamentary reception saying "AirTrack is an exceptional project. We have already demonstrated, in our carefully prepared business case, that it is a good financial proposition with low-risk and there are many advantages for the local and wider community. Surrey County Council is fully supportive of this visionary project and we are proud to be taking a leading role in the AirTrack Forum."

The next stage will be a technical appraisal of the scheme and further feasibility studies. Sources of funding will need to be identified but potentially AirTrack could be operational in 2011.

ENDS

Note for editors

AirTrack Forum members include a cross-selection of local
authorities, businesses and community organisations from Surrey, Hampshire
and Berkshire as well as British Airways, Transport for London's Rail
Directorate, SEERA (South East England Regional Assembly), SEEDA (South
East England Development Agency) the Highways Authority and the SWELTRAC
(South West London Transport Conference) partnership. AirTrack is chaired
by George Burnett, Surrey County Council.
Atkins Rail is the lead consultant and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP are
Financial Advisers.
The importance of AirTrack has already been recognised by SEEDA and
South East England Regional Assembly, the latter having included the
project as a priority in its draft Regional Transport Strategy.
AirTrack services would operate mostly on the existing rail network
(95 km), using existing tracks, stations and other infrastructure. There
would however, be 4-5 km of new railway which can be described as four
separate elements of new infrastructure as follows:
o The Staines Chord providing a direct link between the two existing
lines (to Windsor and Virginia Water) in Staines town centre. This would
allow trains to run from the Airport directly through to Reading and
Guildford via Virginia Water;
o A potential new station west of Staines High Street underbridge,
known locally as the Iron Bridge;
o An alignment across Staines Moor (much on the route of a disused
railway embankment) and Stanwell Moor linking the Windsor Line with
Terminal Five at Heathrow Airport,
o New station facilities at Terminal Five that provide connections with
Heathrow Express and London Underground's Piccadilly Line services at the
major new transport interchange under Terminal Five.

Media Enquiries: Jean Birt, Communications, Surrey County Council
Tel: 020 8541 8039


Railhub Archive ::: 2004-11-02 SCC-001





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