WRAtH’s preferred route is tunnel through Poyle

The delayed announcement of the proposed route for the Western Rail Access to Heathrow (WRatH) finally released today indicates a tunnel straight through Poyle.

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WRAtH aims to connect the airport to the Great Western line east of Langley and Network Rail has whittled down four main options to one.

Ruth Bagley, chief executive of Slough Borough Council and Thames Valley Berkshire LEP lead for WRAtH, said:

This is excellent news for Slough, the sub region and the country as a whole.

It may not be such good news for Colnbrook however.

The published route passes through the middle of the Tanhouse gravel pits, location of the Heathrow’s ‘North-West’ Third Runway.

But it also appears to dissect the eastern part of Poyle, with the route seemingly passing beneath Rodney Way, Raymond Close, Daventry Close, Ingleside, and Meadowbrook Close.

The announcement was promised by the end of last year and the competing Windsor Link Railway blogged only 3 days ago that the delay indicated the scheme was dead and buried.

In an early sign of trouble, WRAtH was the only project in a huge list of rail investment announced by the Government in July 2012 that had a caveat, ‘subject to a satisfactory business case’. In seeking to rush ahead without considering all the options, has Slough repeated the mistakes of BAA’s ill-fated Airtrack project? Being quick with the wrong solution can end up taking longer than being slow with the right one.

The WLR has been quick to update its blog today, suggesting that the project’s business case may not be enough to convince the regulator.

WLR says its rival scheme has already complete due diligence and the DfT has confirmed it also satisfies their criteria for a westerly rail link to Heathrow.

Clearly, tough talking ahead.

Journey times from Slough are expected to be reduced to just 6 minutes if WRAth is built but there would be no direct benefit to Colnbrookians.

The WRAtH project is expected to generate more than £2billion in economic benefits to the UK as well as 40,000 new jobs.

The project – originally proposed by Slough Borough Council and Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) six years ago – was included as part of the government’s 2012 list of rail projects to be delivered, along with £500million of funding.

WRAtH says the project could be delivered by 2021.

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