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September 23, 2020

Covid-19: Western Rail Link to Heathrow Airport faces two-year delay

The proposed rail link between the UK's Great Western Main Line and London Heathrow Airport faces a delay of up to two years due to the impact of Covid-19.

The proposed rail link between the UK’s Great Western Main Line and London Heathrow Airport faces a delay of up to two years due to the impact of Covid-19.

According to a BBC report, the planning application of the project, slated this year, had been postponed.

The proposed project involves the construction of a new 6.5km rail link that will facilitate connectivity to Heathrow Airport.

It will enable passengers from the South Coast, South West, South Wales and West Midlands travel directly to the airport instead of going via London Paddington.

As planned, the line will separate from the Main Line between Langley and Iver and then descend beneath the main railway line and connect to a 5km tunnel.

The tunnel would pass under Richings Park and Colnbrook, and eventually merge with the existing rail lines underground at Heathrow Terminal 5.

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Trains will run at an interval of 15 minutes in each direction from Reading and Heathrow with a journey of less than half an hour.

Network Rail was tasked by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) to build the line.

However, the impact of the pandemic on the aviation industry and a Court of Appeal ruling delayed DfT’s plan to advance with the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.

This requires a Development Consent Order (DCO) to gain planning permission.

The BBC quoted Network Rail as saying: “The DfT has been clear that whilst it fully supports the development of a Western Rail Link to Heathrow, this is subject to a satisfactory business case and the agreement of acceptable terms with the Heathrow aviation industry.”

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