freeline-27 - 2

Rob’s Ramblings
New £10bn highspeed rail line HS4Air to connect
HS1 and HS2 with Heathrow and Gatwick airports
Rob Maylin
Bountyhunter Publications
44 Herbs End, Cove, Hampshire
GU14 9YD
Telephone 01252 373658
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Rob Maylin
Also available this month,
Big Carp Issue 281.
Miss it and miss out!
Plans have been submitted by a group of three companies to the Department for Transport
to build a new highspeed rail line, HS4Air, which would connect HS1 and HS2 in the south
east with the western region of the country, in addition to providing faster journey times
to Heathrow and Gatwick. The rst leg of HS2 won’t be built for at least another eight years,
while HS3 remains a pipe dream for now – but already plans have been drawn up for a
fourth highspeed rail line known as HS4Air.
A £10bn vision has been unveiled by a group of businesses for a 140km railway that will
connect HS1 – the Channel Tunnel rail link – in the country’s south east region with . It
would link up the existing and new highspeed rail infrastructure with Britain’s busiest air
ports by including stops at Heathrow and Gatwick, as well as a spur connection to the Great
Western main line. The concept has been developed by Londonbased Expedition Engi
neering with architect Weston Williamson and Partners (WW&P) and planning consultancy,
Turley. The HS4Air plans – which were drawn up in response to an invitation by Transport
Secretary Chris Grayling for third parties to come forward with ideas for a new southern
rail link to Heathrow – will now be submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) to con
Expedition Engineering director Alistair Lenczner said: “As a joinedup, strategically im
portant piece of infrastructure, HS4Air oers new connectivity that will provide an eco
nomic boost for the entire country. The multibenet nature of the project means that it
will oer a better return on infrastructure investment than is often the case for infrastruc
ture projects that have only a single primary objective. HS4Air will overcome the barrier
that historic London represents in terms of rail connectivity between the UK regions and
Europe. By allowing London to be bypassed at high speed, . The very positive response the
HS4Air project has received from various parties suggests that the proposal can expect
widespread public support as it moves forward.”
What is HS4Air?
The new HS4Air railway will include stations at Ashford and Tonbridge, both in Kent, with
the aim of improving the regional economies between south east England and northern
England. A 15minute shuttle service between Heathrow and Gatwick will also help the
two airports share capacity by establishing a quick connection between the two. HS4Air
will have the following estimated :
AshfordGatwick: 25mins (currently 1hr 50mins)
ManchesterHeathrow: 1hr 10mins (currently 3hrs 20mins)
HeathrowGatwick: 15mins (new route)
CardiHeathrow: 1hr 40mins (currently 2hrs 50mins)
BirminghamParis: 3hrs (currently 3hrs 50mins by plane)
By connecting Britain’s two highspeed lines to the west of the capital through the link
with the Great Western main line, the developers argue HS4Air will remove a detrimental
barrier between western England and mainland Europe. It is also expected to reduce the
pressure on London’s highly congested rail network by accounting for some of the passen
gers and freight requirements that would normally pass through the capital on their way
to the country’s west or north. Plans for minimising the environmental impact of the project
include building the rail line to follow alongside the M25 west of London and tunnelling
under critical rural areas, along with reusing and improving the existing line between Ash
ford and Tonbridge.
WW&P associate partner Nick McGough said: “HS4Air takes the problem of linking and
turns it into an opportunity in bypassing London entirely while better connecting the UK’s
two largest airports and the country generally through high speed rail. It is exciting that the
DfT’s Rail marketled proposal initiative opens the door for this sort of innovative proposal.
HS4Air can help unlock opportunities for muchneeded housing in the south east through
joinedup and sustainable infrastructure development.”
Director of economics at Turley, Amy Gilham, added: “The HS4Air proposal ties in with
many of the UK Government’s economic growth objectives. By reducing journey times by
rail, the line will help to deliver the Government’s main ambition of its modern Industrial
Strategy – to reduce the productivity gap across the country. It will also help to deliver
muchneeded housing and employment growth in areas of recognised pressure, particularly
the south east, by opening up sites and creating opportunities for sustainable develop


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