South West Londoners support Heathrow direct rail link plans


Wandsworth Council released plans for a service that would provide at least two trains an hour from South West London to the busy airport.


By Edd Paul

South West Londoners are vocal in their support of the new plans to form a direct rail link from South West London to Heathrow Airport.

Plans released by Wandsworth Council on Friday show a service that would provide at least two trains per hour from South West London locations to Europe’s busiest airport.

The proposed service, called Airtrack-Lite, is based on the BAA’s Airtrack scheme, scrapped in April this year.

Currently, passengers have to travel through London to Paddington before changing on a different service to get to Heathrow.

The new scheme would avoid this, with train services to the airport now being directed through Clapham Junction.

And it seems South West Londoners believe this change can not come soon enough.

“Our family sometimes go to Heathrow on public transport, but it’s always difficult as you have to keep changing,” said Tooting-based Mark Fleetwood, 34.

“If a direct service was introduced then I think more people would use public transport, as currently Heathrow is pretty inaccessible for our area.”

Fran Harris, 28, from Wimbledon said: “Heathrow is hard to get to from here, and it’s a struggle to go all the way to Paddington with suitcases if you’re going on holiday.

“The proposals would make getting there much easier, and it would probably be beneficial for the whole area,” she added.

As well as a direct line, the new scheme proposes two services on the Waterloo-Windsor line splitting at Staines to provide another direct link to Terminal 5.

A new station would be built at Staines to cope with this extra activity, as well as implementing another stretch of track directly to Heathrow.

Leader of Wandsworth Council, Ravi Govindia, said: “It’s time Heathrow was put at the centre of a genuine local rail network.

“It’s the only way to get more traffic off the roads.”

A Wandsworth Council spokesman added: “From South West London, Heathrow is hard to access.

“Our proposals are desperately needed. This service would reduce CO2 levels and traffic on the roads, as well as providing a much needed link between here and Europe’s busiest airport.”

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