Surrey County Council has revealed plans to launch a study to examine the possibility of creating a rail link to Heathrow from the south in the month the airport celebrates its 70th anniversary.
Around 9,000 people from Surrey work at the airport but there is currently no direct rail link from the county.
It means that more than three-quarters of them currently commute to Heathrow on the county’s roads*, which are among the busiest in the country.
The news comes after a Network Rail report suggested there was a strong case for a new route connecting Heathrow, which opened on 31 May 1946 as London Airport, to Waterloo, Guildford and Basingstoke – generally referred to by the industry as ‘southern rail access’.
Last year the authority called for a new rail service to Waterloo from the airport via Staines and improved rail access to Heathrow was previously identified in the council’s rail strategy as key to helping boost economic growth.
Surrey has already thrown its weight behind the Crossrail 2 project and called for full electrification of the North Downs Line for the benefits it will bring for commuters and the county’s £37 billion economy.
Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning Mike Goodman said: “Good transport links are vital for economic growth.
“Thousands of people travel to Heathrow from Surrey every day, whether it’s to go to work or fly for business or pleasure.
“But rail links to the airport from the county are poor and Surrey’s roads are among the country’s busiest. That’s why we have decided to launch this study, irrespective of whether Heathrow expands.”
Arup has been commissioned to write the report, which is expected to be published by the summer, and discussions are now taking place about the key areas it should cover.
*Heathrow Airport Employment Survey.