UK Government requests funding proposals for new Heathrow rail link
The UK Government has requested private companies and local authorities to present ideas for a new southern rail link to Heathrow Airport that will help improve the transport network across the country; providing more services, journeys and connections…
The link will be one of the first projects under government plans that is inviting third parties to invest in the rail network, on top of the £47 billion the government is already planning for the next five years.
It was Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, who called for ideas on market-led proposals to enhance the nation’s railways and there are already a number of consortia looking to construct the southern link to Heathrow.
Chris said: “I want the knowledge and expertise of investors and local partners to contribute to delivering new connections, more services and better journeys for passengers. This has already proved effective on a number of roads schemes in the UK. By encouraging innovative ideas and new investment on our railways, we can relieve the burden on taxpayers with projects that match our transport needs. This can also support our economic and housing aspirations to ensure everyone benefits from an enhanced rail network.”
Access to the UK’s busiest airport is just one example of ambitious proposals that would generate significant improvements for passengers across the entire network, creating a new tier of investment in rail infrastructure from the private sector.
Proposed schemes are expected to have commercial sense, build on the government’s significant investment and focus on the passengers’ needs, without the over-arching need for government support.
Chris continued: “Heathrow is a perfect example of where this can make a real difference. Such schemes will help ensure the benefits of our major international hub are even more accessible to those across the west and south of the UK, providing vital links for travellers and exporters and attracting inward investment.”
The government also set out a new process for ensuring that taxpayer-funded rail projects are planned and scrutinised more effectively in the future. New rail schemes will be decided in a staged – develop, design, deliver – approach to allow for greater assessment of feasibility and value for money.