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Waterloo-Heathrow rail link wins backing from two more boroughs

A proposal for a new rail link from Waterloo to Heathrow Airport promoted by Wandsworth Council has been endorsed by two more west London local authorities.

We reported last year that Mayor of London Boris Johnson had given tentative backing to Wandsworth's Airtrack-Lite proposal.

Now Hammersmith & Fulham and Hounslow councils have added their support for the concept.

The idea is a simplified version of BAA's abandoned Airtrack scheme for a southern rail connection to Heathrow from Staines.

The key difference is that the Wandsworth plan would divert existing local train services to Heathrow thus avoiding traffic problems caused by running extra trains across level crossings in Mortlake and Egham.

The Airtrack-Lite scheme has now been included in the tender documents for the Great Western rail franchise. The next franchisee will be expected to help develop the proposal further as a means of improving links to Heathrow.

"We've made a good start with Airtrack-Lite but there is still a lot of work to do behind the scenes building the case," says Wandsworth Council leader Cllr Ravi Govindia.

"What everyone can agree on is that Heathrow needs to be at centre of a genuine local rail network offering easy access to communities on all sides of the airport.

"Our scheme would provide an alternative to tortuous journeys on the Piccadilly Line and help get more cars off the road.

"Airtrack Lite was devised as part of 'Wandsworth Travel Choices' – an ambitious campaign to make our borough a better connected place with a broader range of transport services.

"One of the key aims is to reduce people's reliance on cars by making alternative travel choices more appealing and convenient."

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