Heathrow rail seats to treble from 5k to 15k

By Kevin Rozario |

Later today, London Heathrow Airport (LHR) will explain how new rail links will better connect the whole of the UK – not just London and the South East – to the gateway as it continues with its campaign for a third runway.


At Runways UK, a conference taking place in London this afternoon, Head of Surface Access Simon Earles will explain how Heathrow will treble its rail capacity from 5,000 to 15,000 seats per hour (see table below), or from 18 to 40 trains per hour, making LHR a fully integrated UK transport hub.


Earles (left) says: “Our ambition to connect Heathrow to every economic centre in Britain. New air and rail links including HS2, Western Rail, Southern Rail and Crossrail will transform journey times from Heathrow compared to today. Millions more people will have quick access to the UK’s global hub and be within easy reach of the world’s markets.”


According to LHR, the new connections mean that by 2030, more than 70% of the UK’s population will be within three hours of Heathrow by public transport and 12m will be within 60 minutes of the hub. A fast connection to High Speed 2 [a future rail line] means journey times between key UK cities such as Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester will be considerably reduced.


The better connections support Heathrow’s commitment to increase the proportion of passengers who use public transport to access the airport from 40% today to almost 60% by 2040 in order to prevent a net increase in airport-related traffic on the roads.




Since previous plan for a third runway was rejected, LHR has focused on improving its regional surface connectivity to argue its case. It claims that an expanded Heathrow will also create capacity for new air routes to destinations in the UK that are currently served by hub airports in Europe.


For example, Exeter, Liverpool, Newquay, Jersey, Inverness, Isle of Man and Humberside airports could be added to the existing links to Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds/Bradford, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast and Aberdeen, says LHR.


Heathrow will establish a Taskforce for Regional Connectivity to develop policy proposals and recommendations for access to an expanded Heathrow.


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