Author: Cyril Richert
It’s on. It’s off. It’s on again.
For the last 5 years we have heard about possibilities of a new direct rail service from Clapham Junction to Heathrow. Then it was abandoned in 2011 for lack of any funding and set of priorities. Now according to a press release published by the Council in February 2013, Wandsworth was set to appoint a transport consultancy to develop the case for the train-link.
The aim is to create a 30-minute journey to the airport for borough residents and businesses. Heathrow is poorly served by public transport and south Londoners have to travel north into London to catch a connecting train from Paddington or a Piccadilly Line service.
The last Heathrow rail scheme, named Airtrack, was spearheaded by the British Airports Authority (BAA) but abandoned in 2011 (you can read more in our article published in 2009).
Then at the end of 2011 Wandsworth Council announced an update and a new plan – called Airtrack-Lite – that routes two trains an hour from Waterloo via the Hounslow loop. Two existing services on the Waterloo-Windsor line would split at Staines to provide a further direct link to Terminal Five.
The scheme required a new station at Staines and a new stretch of track from here to Terminal 5. The rest of the route would run along existing lines.
Wandsworth Council is now again re-iterating the support for improved rail access, and is still working on looking at alternative options for improving access to the airport from this part of the capital.
A formal stakeholder group should be established to take the project forward, following a transport consultancy to access the feasibility of each potential route.
There are others projects in (far-) future to improve links to Clapham Junction including:
- Crossrail 2 (with stops at Clapham Junction and Tooting)
- Northern line extension – this project could bring the Tube to Battersea by 2018 with new stations at Wandsworth Road and Battersea Power Station. Councillors believe this underground extension could continue past Battersea Power Station to reach Clapham Junction Station.