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MP urges minister to back Waterloo to Heathrow rail link

A West London Labour MP has used a House of Commons debate to urge the Government to back proposals for a direct train service between Waterloo and Heathrow Airport.

MP urges minister to back Waterloo to Heathrow rail link

Several plans have been mooted in recent years for a new southern rail link to Heathrow but none have yet won formal Government backing.

The most recent proposal was brought forward earlier this year by Hounslow Council.

"To me it is scandalous that the world’s busiest airport is not connected to south London and the whole of the south for want of a few kilometres of track linking Heathrow to Waterloo, intermediate stations in Hounslow and the whole of the south-east and south-west," Seema Malholtra, Labour MP for Feltham and Heston, told the Commons on Thursday.

Ms Malholtra told MPs that the a new connection to the existing Windsor lines could enable trains to reach Heathrow from Waterloo in 40 to 45 minutes, adding that "improved rail access to the airport from the south is a pressing need regardless of whether Heathrow expands".

She continued: "The southern rail access to Heathrow project, with more direct and quicker links to Waterloo and the south, will make a huge difference for my constituency, for the constituency of my honourable friend Ruth Cadbury, for London and for the country.

"Hounslow’s proposal would meet the Department for Transport’s strategic objectives for southern rail access by reducing congestion, improving the environment, increasing connectivity to the airport, and enabling much-needed regeneration of the local area."

Replying to the adjourment debate, rail minister Paul Maynard agreed that "there has been a long-suppressed need for improved access to Heathrow from its south".

The minister highlighted existing plans to improve rail links to Heathrow such as Crossrail and the proposed western connection from the Great Western main line.

He said: "Southern access to Heathrow is certainly at a less mature stage of project planning, but it is absolutely part of our considerations for the long-term strategic vision for the railway."

Mr Maynard concluded by assuring Ms Malholtra that "her proposals are on the Government’s radar and certainly on Network Rail’s radar".

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