New line would extend high speed continental rail link to the north of England via a huge new transport hub at Heathrow

Eurostar services would be extended to carry passengers directly to Heathrow Airport under proposals put forward by Arup to improve the airport’s effectiveness.

A study published by the engineer today, which is the culmination of three years of research, makes the recommendation as part of a package of measures to improve access to the airport, add capacity and address environmental concerns.

Arup recommends the creation of a new station at Heathrow which would link it directly to rail services from continental Europe and would also serve national rail services on the Great Western Main Line, linking the airport to the South west, Wales and the Midlands.

Currently, only 22% of passengers arrive at Heathrow by rail, including the Underground, compared with 65% by car.

Mark Bostock, a director at Arup, said: “The proposal to link Heathrow into the rail network would enable people travelling from some of Heathrow’s principal markets to arrive at the aiport by train. Moreover, these plans fit in with emerging proposals to extend high speed rail lines north. Looking to the future, we could see travel times from Heathrow to Leeds and Manchester by rail reduced to less than two hours.”

Mike Forster, BAA director of strategy, pledged that the organisation would work with Arup to develop the idea.

Forster said: “An enhanced rail link to Heathrow, complementing a third runway, could increase passenger choice and create a modern inter-modal hub to compete with other major European airports. This is an interesting propsla which deservices further consideration and we look forward to working with Arup and others to develop it further.”