Western Rail Link to Heathrow

A proposed new direct rail link from the West to Heathrow will improve journeys to Britain’s busiest airport and help increase economic productivity in the Thames Valley.

Public consultation – 11 May to 22 June 2018

As part of our Railway Upgrade Plan the Department for Transport asked us to develop plans to build a new 6.5km rail link between the Great Western Main Line and London Heathrow Airport. The proposed rail connection would speed up journeys to Britain’s busiest international airport, by allowing passengers to travel to the airport from the South Coast, South West, South Wales and West Midlands without going into London Paddington.

The Western Rail Link to Heathrow would leave the Main Line between Langley and Iver. It would then descend underneath the main railway line into a cutting before entering a 5km tunnel. The tunnel would pass under Richings Park and Colnbrook and then merge with existing rail lines underground at Heathrow Terminal 5.

Click on the image to enlarge the map

What are the benefits?

The proposed rail link would:

  • Reduce rail journey times between Reading and Heathrow by delivering a new, faster, frequent, more reliable direct train service to Heathrow with four trains per hour in each direction. All trains would call at Reading and Slough and alternate trains at Twyford and Maidenhead. Journey times could be as short as 26 minutes from Reading and 6 to 7 minutes from Slough.
  • Significantly improve rail connectivity to Heathrow from the Thames Valley, South Coast, South West, South Wales and West Midlands.
  • Provide an alternative form of transport for passengers and the large number of people who work at the airport who are currently travelling by road.
  • Ease congestion on roads, including the M4, M3 and M25 resulting in lower CO2 emissions equivalent to approximately 30 million road miles per year.
  • Generate economic growth and new jobs across the Thames Valley and surrounding areas.
  • Reduce passenger congestion at London Paddington.


Public consultation - 11 May to 22 June 2018

We received a total of more than 1,000 responses to our informal consultations in 2015 and 2016. We have listened carefully to your feedback before drawing up more detailed designs.

More detail about the scheme and what’s changed since the last round of public engagement is available in our leaflet:

Western rail to Heathrow public consultation (PDF)

We are now holding a final round of statutory public consultation before submitting a Development Consent Order application to the Planning Inspectorate in 2019. This will seek the required consent to build the new railway in line with the plans we have developed, with a final decision by the Secretary of State for Transport.

To have your say, please visit our consultation hub where further details of the scheme are available. The consultation is open from 11 May to 22 June 2018.

You can also give us your feedback at one of our public consultation drop-in events, where members of the project team will be on hand to answer your questions. Dates and venues are listed in the table below.

If you have any further comments or questions about the plans, you can send us an email at: westernraillinktoheathrow@networkrail.co.uk


Drop -in events