New Programme Manager for Heathrow Rail Link expects to announce preferred route end of 2013

From the WRAtH website:

The newly appointed Programme Manager for the Western Rail Access to Heathrow (WRAtH) expects to identify the preferred route to link the Great Western Main Line to Heathrow by the end of 2013. In the meantime, work will progress developing more detailed designs for the preferred solution.

The Western Rail Access to Heathrow Stakeholder Steering Group (WRAtH SSG) has welcomed Network Rail’s appointment of a Senior Programme Development Manager to oversee the project.

Malcolm Parsons takes up this post, created following the commitment to WRAtH in the High Level Output Specification, published last year and the Aviation Policy Framework, published in March 2013. Malcolm has previously fulfilled a management role for major projects in the west of England for Network Rail.

Malcolm Parsons, Senior Development Programme Manager with responsibility for WRAtH, said

“Western Rail Access to Heathrow is an exciting project, which has the potential to deliver substantial benefits, providing better access to Heathrow”.

“Network Rail’s priority now is to ensure that we identify the best solution in terms of engineering, cost and passenger experience, and I welcome the input of stakeholders in this work.”

Malcolm Parsons told the meeting that he expected to publish a refreshed GRIP 2 study by the end of 2013 which would identify one preferred route linking the Great Western Main Line to Heathrow. In the meantime, work will progress on procurement of the subsequent GRIP 3 study which will develop more detailed designs for the preferred solution.

The meeting also agreed the format of a Conditional Output Statement, setting out passenger, business and other stakeholder expectations about what the airport link should deliver. A range of organisations will be asked to contribute, and this will then be handed to Network Rail to highlight user expectations. The group has written to the Department for Transport requesting further clarification around the July announcement of support for the project, including more details on the agreements sought with the aviation industry.

Ruth Bagley, lead on WRAtH for Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, said

“I’m pleased to welcome Malcolm Parsons on board as Programme Development Manager for Network Rail responsible for WRAtH and look forward to working closely with him”.

“This appointment is a positive commitment to the project and takes us another step closer to selecting one preferred option. The economic benefits that this project will deliver for the Thames Valley and wider UK economy, make it vital that it is delivered in a timely fashion, and meets the needs of passengers.”

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