The government has given the go ahead for a new train route to connect Heathrow Airport with South Wales, reducing the time of a journey and no longer having to switch routes.
Transport Secretary Justine Greening, making the announcement July 12, said according to a report from the BBC that it would improve connections. “We are providing funding for a new rail line from the Great Western main line near Slough to Heathrow which could provide significantly improved connections from the Thames Valley, the west of England and Wales to the airport and journey time savings of up to 30 minutes,” Greening said.
The plan announced is part of the Department for Transport’s policy on the future of aviation in the UK. A spokesperson for the Department told Kettle that construction on the route would begin in 2019 and users would be available to start using it in 2021. However, the spokesperson added that the deal, worth £500 million is subject to negotiations with the aviation industry across the UK.
The Wales Secretary Cheryl Gillan said according to a BBC report that the deal would bring much benefit. “The Wales Office has always supported and recognised the importance of connectivity to Heathrow as a major UK air hub for Welsh business and Welsh passengers,” Gillan said. “The new rail link will not only provide a more convenient link, but will also be a key driver of growth for the region.”
In a statement to Kettle, Carl Sargeant, the Welsh government’s minister which oversees transport, welcomed the deal. “The Welsh Government welcomes faster journey times to Heathrow in principle and will work with the UK Government to maximise the benefits of the proposed rail link,” Sargeant said.
Heather Joyce, the leader of the Cardiff Council, said the announcement would allow businesses to thrive, saying it was fabulous news. “Gaining much quicker access for Heathrow will make us a more attractive investment opportunity for new businesses,” Joyce said. ” It will also give people from the city region a quick, easy, sustainable way of getting to one of the biggest airports in the world.”
Currently, according to a BBC report, in order to get to Heathrow from South Wales, you would have to switch routes at either the Reading or London Paddington stations. Residents in the Thames Valley and the West of England would also benefit from this route. The Department for Transport said according to a BBC report that the exact service location for the train connection to Heathrow has yet to be determined, but the BBC report added that construction on the line would begin in Slough.