Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport with 75% of all long-haul flights from the UK taking off from Heathrow. The airport handles over 80 million international passengers annually, flying to 203 worldwide destinations in 84 countries. In 2019, Heathrow was ranked the world’s most connected airport for the third consecutive year, as scheduled co-ordination ensures that waves of inbound flights are timed to provide maximum connectivity to outbound flights, whereby on the busiest day of aviation there were over 65,000 possible connections. Not only this but, Heathrow is the UK’s largest port by value with 40% of the UK’s non-EU and Swiss exports already traveling through the airport. The sheer scale of the domestic operation at Heathrow, and how this connects to international air services is what drives international connectivity.
From Reading in the West, the Elizabeth Line will connect the City and central London to Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. Two further spurs of the line will connect commuters with Heathrow Airport, Canary Wharf and Abbey Wood. The new railway will stop at 41 accessible stations, 10 newly built and 30 newly upgraded, and is expected to serve around 200 million people each year. There will be trains every couple of minutes at peak times through central London, with 200 metre long, state-of-the-art trains accommodating up to 1,500 passengers. From Reading, there will be four Elizabeth Line trains to central London every hour, increasing to six during peak times.
Western Rail Link to Heathrow (WRLtH) is a proposed 6.5km rail link between the Great Western Main Line and London Heathrow Airport, leaving the Main Line between Langley and Iver which will bring approximately 14 million people in the South West, Wales, South Midlands, and the Thames Valley closer to Heathrow Airport. WRLtH will allow direct access from Reading, Maidenhead and Slough without having to travel via London Paddington and reduce journey times by at least half an hour for all stations with direct access to Reading.
East-West Rail is creating a new direct connection between Oxford and Cambridge, which once complete will create a world class rail link connecting Oxford, Bicester, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Cambridge, and the communities in between. The first phase, connecting Oxford to Bicester, has been completed which has allowed for Chiltern Railways to begin running services from Oxford through to London via Bicester. The East-West railway will provide a quicker, cheaper, and more reliable alternative to current transport options which will boost the local economy and improved access to housing.
The Government has announced that it has committed £760 million in new funding to support the new East West Rail line. The funding is for part of the line between Oxford and Bletchley/Milton Keynes and means this section of East West Rail is expected to be up and running by 2025. Delivery of this stage is expected to provide work for 1,500 people, injecting an estimated £1.1bn pounds into the local economy. Read more, HERE.
The M4 is the main strategic route between London, the west of England and Wales. It connects people, communities, and businesses, carrying on average 130,000 vehicles per day and is prone to congestion. As well as London, other urban areas in the region rely on junctions 3 to 12 for connectivity, including Reading, Maidenhead, Windsor, Slough, and Hayes. The M4 Smart Motorway will be a technology driven approach to the use of motorways, increasing capacity and relieving congestion while maintaining safety. The Smart Motorway will help make journey times more reliable, at less cost than traditional widening schemes.