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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I apologise if there is already a thread for this, but I was wondering how the plans for Airtrack were progressing?

If it is eventually built it would be splendid for me as currently there isn't a great rail link to the airport from where I live, the line that they propose to use goes right by my house :)
 

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I'm not sure about any recent news. Last related bit I heard was about HEx being extended to Staines.

I think it's a great project. BAA are losing STN and LGW and so will be keen to pursue this to up LHR's connections. Their debts are huge though.

I think it certainly has regional importance - and could be taken further, for example with extensions to Basingstoke and beyond, or Portsmouth - or even Redhill/Gatwick! That stretch is diesel I think, though.
 

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It is fully electrified down to Portsmouth (3rd rail) though for some reason in the mornings the Basingstoke-Portsmouth services use DMU's :crazy:
 

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HEX would be able to have through running to Staines along Airtrack and from there Airtrack goes to Guildford and Reading. Wasn't there talk of running Crossrail trains through to Staines?
 

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Airtrack proposes two trains an hour each to waterloo, Reading and Guildford. Addtionally during the consultation process. BAA proposed extending Crossrail to Staines. This required a new curve to cut across the town centre. The original proposal required a new station in the heart of the town and the rebuilding of the old station so Crossrail could terminate there.

The main criticism from locals had been the station plans, mainly by people living next to the proposed sites, and more importantly the effect on the three level crossings, across the river from Staines in Egham. Due to the tight curve of the track from the thames rail bridge down to ground level there is little opportunity to grade separate these crossings without large scale residential demolition.

Rail had an article describing the problem of how long crossing already stay closed and how much worse they would be with the extra trains. Due to the nature of the signalling in the area, curved track and that the schedule often has trains approaching from opposite directions at nearly the same time means that the worst crossing would be closed for 38 minutes out of each hour.

The local council originally supported the plans because it thought the trade off for worse road congestion was worth the the better access for commuters from the south and West to the town centre. Unfortunately in the second round consultation BAA have decided to drop the new high street station to cut costs and and avoid the fight with local residents. Big mistake, it totally removes the benefits for the town centre and its commuters as people from Reading and Guildford airtrack services will no longer be able to get off at Staines. The council is unsurprisingly now opposed to the proposals as it gets a lot of pain for little gain.
 

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Crossrail/HeX would be great for the town. The extra trains at the High Street would have been better, of course but it is still a fast direct link to the City and CW which must be faster than via Waterloo?
 

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The Reading train only takes 35 minutes now. I don't think you will save any time over changing at Weterloo for the city or the central part of the West End. Heathrow connect takes 35 minutes from T5 to Paddington now, factor in the extra bits from Staines to Heathrow and Paddington to West End it will make no difference. Besides they will be a fare surcharge for getting to Heathrow.

If your not a resident of the area you won't know how bad the existing level crossing already are, and how much it holds up traffic.

For the people living on the other side of these tracks, these are the only way to get Staines or Egham town centres or more importantly the M25. There are no proposals for a new road bridge over the railway, and it would be hard to see where they could put one without a lot of demolition, or long term closure of the railway for rebuilding. If they lose the attraction of getting more office workers from South & West out of their cars and increase the congestion to the town centre then I can see why they would oppose it. If these trains are not going to access the town centre then they should have stuck to earlier proposals to route the line beside the M25 and connect with the rail lines there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Cheers everyone for your input.

As Rational Plan pointed out, you are waiting for absolutely ages at the level crossings in places such as Egham or Addlestone. It's not going to go down well with the locals.
 
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I'd love to be one of the 'big-wigs' at CDG or Schipol because reading stuff like this must bring a massive smile to their faces :lol:
 

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Expanding an airport beyond a size necessary to service the needs of the population within its catchment may benefit the companies operating the airport, but delivers few benefits to the local population. The stated benefits of employment are overdone.

Frankfurt, Paris CDG and Schipol are welcome to the 'crown' of being the key European hub from Heathrow. I live 25 miles from the airport, and the thought that businessmen travelling from Atlanta to Dubai will now be changing planes at Schipol rather than Heathrow does not concern me in the slightest. Schipol is welcome to the business, in my view.

In any case, the Netherlands is a small, crowded country - even more so than the UK. The Dutch people suffer terrible congestion problems arising from the very high population density there, so much so that they have even resorted to land reclamation in places. Quite why they have chosen to give over such a large tract of land in the centre of their country to an airport that they don't really need strikes me as odd.

Edit: I should add that Airtrack, and schemes like it, are precisely the types of scheme I would support (so it's a shame it's having difficulties). Schemes to benefit people from Guildford and Southampton, and that integrate Heathrow better with other infrastructure in the south east, make sense. I just have no wish to see the airport 'compete' with Schipol etc. for traffic doesn't really need to come here.
 

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Alan Keen backs Heathrow Airtrack opposition
Jun 24 2009 By Jessica Thomas

ALAN Keen took time out from the expenses row to join campaigners in presenting a petition against the controversial Heathrow Airtrack to Downing Street.
The petition, signed by over 300 Feltham residents, is opposed to the new train depot which airport chiefs plan to build on the site of the former Marshalling Yards in Feltham.
Many are concerned that there will be an increase in noise and disturbance if the plans for the link goes ahead.But there are also worries about the environmental impact the development of the site, which straddles the boundary of Feltham and Hanworth, will have on the thriving Nature Conservation Area, which developed after the marshalling yard closed in 1969.
Hereford Road Resident Katie Roberts said: "The new trains will hardly make any difference to people in Feltham but the depot will make life miserable for us and ruin a beautiful nature reserve."
The Heathrow Airtrack proposals are being promoted by BAA as an improvement to public transport access to the airport as well as providing additional rail services for non-airport passengers.
"I support the residents wholeheartedly and will use any influence I have as their member of Parliament to oppose the scheme," said Mr Keen who was joined at Downing Street last week by Feltham campaigners Mrs and Mrs Lippiatt.
"The residents of Feltham already have to cope with aircraft noise and they deserve much better than to have to suffer further environmental damage. It is important that South West Trains and Airtrack look for sidings well away from Feltham.
"We all understand the economic benefits of heathrow but the disadvantages must be shared equitably."
 

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Airtrack plans would be 'a nightmare' for Egham
By Sam Blackledge
November 12, 2008

PROPOSALS to introduce a new rail link between Heathrow Airport and parts of north and west Surrey have been met with angry resistance from residents of Egham.

The Heathrow Airtrack scheme, using existing lines and some new sections of track, would see direct services provided to Heathrow from Staines, Guildford, Woking and Chertsey.

The number of trains passing through Egham would double from four to eight, meaning the town’s three level crossings could be closed for up to 40 minutes in each hour.

Airport operator BAA is holding a public consultation on the scheme, and residents were invited to air their views at an exhibition at the Egham Hythe centre on Tuesday.

Meher Oliaji, vice-chairwoman of Egham Chamber of Commerce, encouraged residents to oppose the scheme, saying it would cause chaos for motorists in Egham.

“We just do not have an alternative route, we’re going to be stuck,” she said.

“When the traffic can’t move it diverts back in every direction, so we have got gridlock.

“The town is in a total state about it. Nobody expects to get anywhere on time, and we’re not sure how many local businesses will stay round here if this goes ahead.”

More than 200 people attended the all-day exhibition, challenging BAA chiefs on what the plans could mean for Egham and pressing them to consider alternatives such as bridges or tunnels to keep traffic moving.

Egham resident Andy Goode said: “It’s ill thought-out. What they’re not considering is anyone around here.

“You can be at those barriers and they can come up and go straight back down again. That’s not a joke. For people who live in the area it’s a nightmare.”

Egham has level crossings at Vicarage Road, Pooley Green and Thorpe Road, and many people believe essential amenities such as the police station, fire station and local schools could be virtually inaccessible if the plans go ahead.

'Understandable concern'

Kim Carey, of Ambleside Way. Thorpe, said: “If Airtrack goes ahead it will have a devastating effect on Egham with regards to homeowners and the traders and shops in Egham High Street.

“Even something like getting to the doctors or the dentist in Egham will be a nightmare.

“I don't know how they expect us to carry on if the roads are gridlocked most of the day and night.”

A petition organised by Egham Chamber of Commerce has so far collected 680 signatures, and residents are being encouraged to write to MP Phillip Hammond and Surrey County Council.

Richard Morris of BAA said he welcomed the opportunity to engage with the local community on the issue.

“I’m pleased with the way the event has gone, and the number of people who have turned up,” he said.

“There is understandable concern for the local residents and it’s important that we hear those people’s concerns.

“Clearly the overall view of the project is negative, because of the impact, but we’re very happy to have people expressing forthright views to us and we’ll take them on board.

“Whether we change the scheme or not is another matter.”

Addressing questions from residents, Mr Morris said BAA was engaging with the Surrey highways authority to find a solution but said it was unlikely that a bridge or tunnel could be built to improve the traffic situation in the town.

“BAA cannot do road improvements; it is not in the position to do that,” he said.

“There are other benefits to Egham, but BAA is not providing the scheme so they are not BAA’s responsibility.”

New station building

BAA is expecting to submit a Transport and Works Act order to the Department of Transport in early 2009, with a public inquiry by an independent inspector to be held towards the end of next year.

It hopes that construction on the new sections of track could begin in late 2010.

Runnymede MP Philip Hammond said he sympathised with residents’ frustrations but admitted they might be fighting a losing battle.

“If [Airtrack] were allowed to happen, it would indeed be a disaster both for residents and for businesses in the Egham area,” he said.

“But the harsh reality is that the railway controls the operation of level crossings and there is no statutory restriction whatsoever on their ability to close the barriers."

The scheme will also affect Staines, where the existing railway station could be demolished to make way for a replacement building along with a third platform and a new terminating track.

Residents of Staines were consulted about the scheme back in May, and an exhibition detailing the second stage of plans for the town was held at Staines Community Centre on Saturday.

The second stage of public consultation is due to end on December 15, and the public are being encouraged to comment on the plans by visiting www.heathrowairport.com/airtrack or calling the Heathrow Airtrack team on 020 7529 4910.

Meanwhile, a debate was held on the wider issue of the airport's expansion in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

After the opening of Terminal 5 in March this year, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said a final decision is due next month on plans for a third runway at Heathrow.
 

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That's quite old.

The depot argument is more sprurious than the level crossing one, wihch is unfortunate. Feltham is a hole anyway, and electric trains shouldn't make much noise for them.

And 2 new fast trains per hour to Heathrow and Waterloo is certainly a benefit to the area!
 

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I'm not particularly bothered over the depot. But I think if there is to be no station in Staines then the track should bypass Staines all together. Why should the town suffer all the dis-benefits from the scheme and get none of the benefits. There used to be 4 trains an hour off peak from Reading to Waterloo, but that was cut to improve train reliability. an extra two trains an hour to Waterloo could be done without spending £350 million and that would benefit the towns residents.
 

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The Airtrack project has had problems and now lower priority schemes are unlikely to get done unless they don't cost much. I think airtrack is not as neat or useful as it originally was.

It would be great if it could use the HEX tracks but with Crossrail taking over the service and remaining capacity probably being set aside for HST I don't trhink it stacks up as a separate scheme.

So that leaves combining it with Crossrail or downgrading it further. I'm not sure Crossrail would fit over much of the proposed network or what could be dropped from the scheme or downsized.
 

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Airtrack scheme faces more delays



A new delay has hit a planned £675m rail link between Heathrow Airport and stations in Berkshire and Surrey.

A public inquiry into BAA's proposed Airtrack line has been put back until the autumn at the earliest so concerns about level crossings can be discussed. The line would connect Heathrow's Terminal 5 to London Waterloo, Reading and Guildford. Some Heathrow Express services would be extended to Staines.

But campaigners have said it would cause road delays at level crossings. Phil Haugh, business editor of Rail magazine, said the scheme would lead to some crossings being down for about 40 minutes every hour - compared to about 20 minutes at present.

'Complete disaster'

He said: "Planners will need to take into consideration the effect on level crossings as they would be down a lot more. But [the service] will not only be for the passengers flying into or out of Heathrow, it will also be for the people working at the airport. It will do something to cut road congestion if they were usually driving to Heathrow."

Sandra Tipler runs an underwear shop next to the level crossing in Sunningdale, Berkshire. She said: "I think everyone will avoid the areas around the level crossings like the plague. To me it's a complete disaster, it's like another nail in the coffin after the recession."

Two rounds of public consultation were held in 2008. BAA said following the objections more work was being done with local authorities, Network Rail and the highway authorities to look for solutions at level crossings.

BAA added: "This process is not anticipated to be complete until spring 2010. As a result, the public inquiry into the Airtrack scheme will most likely be deferred until autumn 2010."

It is the second time that the public inquiry has been delayed. The track is still expected to be completed in 2016.
 

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-13042740

QUOTE>>A controversial rail link from Heathrow's Terminal 5 through south west London has been shelved due to a lack of money, according to the BAA.<<QUOTE

BAA short on funds? I don't think so! If they need ready cash then they should start by selling Heathrow express and its tunnel. The Airtrack should be franchised out.
 
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