A group of cross-party MPs including Slough MP Tan Dhesi came together earlier this week to discuss the Western Rail Link to Heathrow (WRLtH).

Joining the MPs were Members of the House of Lords, business and community leaders and local council leaders. Discussions were based on the projects progress, offering a chance for more external supporters and Parliamentarians to meet the group and find out more about it.

The proposal consists of 6.5km rail link between Slough and Heathrow Airport. As a result, it is claimed that this would reduce journey times for passengers travelling to the airport from the south Coast, the south west, Wales and the west midlands.

Slough residents travelling to Heathrow would see a drastically faster journey, with a train journey on the new link taking six minutes as opposed to the 52 minutes it currently takes. The group also claim that shorter commuting times for the airport would encourage further investment from foreign owned business. They estimate that the new rail link could increase economic activity by £800m.

Tan Dhesi MP said:

“It was wonderful to have such excellent, cross-party, business and community support at this very well attended APPG meeting.”

“This long overdue scheme’s viability was overwhelmingly supported, and it presented the opportunity for a frank discussion of the issues surrounding the scheme that need to be addressed to make it happen.”

Tim Smith, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP and WRLtH Stakeholder Steering Group Coordinator added:

“This APPG was extremely constructive and reiterated the clear and strong support for a western rail link to Heathrow airport. Parliamentarians from both houses and across parties expressed their support.

“This is the LEP’s number one infrastructure priority, so we’re determined to continue to play a full and leading role in that partnership.”

Richard Benyon MP said:

“I was delighted by the overwhelming consensus in the room for the new rail link. Given the low cost of building it and the benefits it will bring, not just to West Berkshire and the Thames Valley but the whole South West and South Wales, it is a no brainer that this project should be going ahead. I urge Network Rail and Ministers to now get on with it!”