Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Airtrack

A tweet this morning reminded me about a new rail scheme which would have made travel to and from Heathrow much easier for lots of people - including me.  Heathrow is pretty close to Guildford, and I and many of my colleagues fly from there for our research trips.  The sad thing is, we all go there by road.  Even the public transport route involves getting the rail-air coach link at Woking.

Heathrow is very poorly linked to the train network, and things only seem to get better slowly.  The new station at Terminal 5 has helped a little, but it is still an airport that encourages road travel to get there.  It looks like the new high speed line proposal from London to the Midlands and beyond has already considered and ruled out a stop at Heathrow.  Too bad.

The Airtrack proposal would have linked Heathrow to nearby population centres (Reading, Woking, Guildford) with only a small amount of new track, but seems to have fallen foul of some people because it would involve more cars waiting at level crossings in posh parts of south-west London, and a reduction in car-parking spaces in Staines-on-Thames.  The main part of new track would have been in a meadow, though the track would have hugged the M25, which already goes through it.

I think it's a shame the project is not going ahead.  To a large extent for selfish reasons, but it seemed like such a good project.   Oh well.   Then there is also the matter of the fact that a train line runs right past the University here, then the major hospital, then the large research park, with nary a station in sight.  Time someone took my light rail scheme seriously :-)

Still, it could be worse.  At least there is a station within walking distance here.  I can never understand, when I go to Edinburgh airport on my way to St Andrews, why I have to get a bus into the city, to get a train to Leuchars that passes along the perimeter of the airport...