07:50PM, Thursday 27 February 2020
Slough MP Tan Dhesi has called on the Government to ‘finally deliver its promise’ and provide funding for a four-mile rail link between the Great Western Main Line and Heathrow Airport.
Journey times from Slough to Heathrow could be shortened to six minutes if Network Rail is able to push ahead with plans to build the Western Rail Link to Heathrow (WRLtoH).
But Government funding for the project is yet to be confirmed.
Mr Dhesi told the Express: “It’s certainly about time that the four-mile Western Rail Link to Heathrow is built.
“In July 2012, the Government committed up to £500m to WRLtH, but this investment has never been realised.
“Having established and chaired the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Western Rail Link to Heathrow from 2017, I can certainly confirm that this project has great cross-party support, including the backing of the Welsh Government.”
Earlier this month, the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps received written questions from Welsh MP Chris Elmore asking the Government to confirm whether it will help fund the project.
Mr Shapps replied: “Government has always been clear that its support for the development of the scheme is subject to successful agreement of terms with the Heathrow Aviation industry.”
Network Rail has been advised to submit its Development Consent Order in the summer, he added, which will mark the next milestone in the project.
This is the second stage in the Government’s planning process for major infrastructure projects.
Mr Dhesi said: “It’s an opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions from travel into Heathrow, shorten journey times for passengers and it will increase economic activity nationally by an estimated £800 million.
“I will continue to work with key stakeholders and push the Government to finally deliver on its promise.”
Heathrow has been contacted for comment.
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