Sharma urges local people to respond to consultation on rail access to Heathrow

3rd March 2015

Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, is urging people in Reading to back a new rail link to Heathrow in a public consultation currently being carried out by Network Rail.

Alok has submitted his own response to the consultation in which he supported the proposals, stating that the plans would be good for local people, good for business and good for the environment.

The direct rail link will allow passengers from Reading to access Heathrow on the Great Western line, without having to change at Paddington. The new service will operate four times an hour and the line will be almost entirely tunnelled so will cause very limited disruption for local people. Based on the current route plans, journey times are expected to be 27 minutes from Heathrow to Reading.

The current business case for the project estimates that a return ticket from Reading will cost around £14, which is less than the cost of the current coach service.

Other benefits of the scheme include:

  • Reduced CO2 emissions from car journeys
  • Reduced road congestion on the M4
  • Reduced congestion for rail passengers at Paddington Station
  • Quicker journey times for staff working at Heathrow
  • Potential to create 42,000 jobs and £800m of economic activity for the region.

Local residents and rail users can respond to the consultation online by visiting: www.networkrail.co.uk/westernheathrowlink.

Alok Sharma said: “The new Reading-Heathrow rail route will cut carbon emissions, save local people time and most likely money and reduce congestion on the M4 and at Paddington Station. With journey times currently estimated to be around 27 minutes, Reading will arguably be more accessible from the airport by train than central London, providing a huge incentive for businesses to locate and invest in the town.”

Alok continued: “Simply put, the new rail link would be good for local people, good for business and good for the environment and I would urge anyone with questions or comments on the project to take part in this consultation.”

Alok Sharma’s response to the public consultation:

I would like to add my support, as the Member of Parliament for Reading West, to the plans to build a new rail link between Reading and Heathrow.

Based on the current business plan, the new rail link would arguably save money for those travelling to Heathrow from Reading by train and would certainly save them time by cutting out the need to travel into Paddington. The new route would also be significantly more convenient than driving or taking the coach service.

With journey times currently estimated to be around 27 minutes from Heathrow to Reading, the town will arguably be more accessible from the airport by train than central London, providing a huge incentive for businesses to locate and invest in the town.

The rail link will also reduce commuting times for those of my constituents who work at Heathrow Airport.

I welcome the plans for the route to be enclosed by tunnels, which will mean minimal disturbance to local people from noise and the environmental benefits of reducing car journeys and congestion on the M4.

I know that many of my commuting constituents who travel daily between Reading and Paddington, which is one of the busiest rail routes in the country, will also welcome any reduction in congestion on this route.

Simply put, the new rail link would be good for local people, good for business and good for the environment and I hope that scope can be found to reduce the waiting time before this project can be delivered.