The Anonymous Widower

Heathrow Southern Railway And The Windsor Link Railway

The Windsor Link Railway is a proposed new railway, that if it is approved, will be built in two phases.

Phase 1 is described in Wikipedia, like this.

Phase 1 of the scheme would run from Slough to Staines, via Chalvey, Windsor, Datchet, Wraysbury and Sunnymeads. A new all-in-one station in the Windsor Goswells would replace the existing two nearby stations (Riverside and Central)

Phase 2 is described like this.

Phase 2 of the project involves linking to Heathrow. As the Heathrow Airtrack scheme has been dropped by BAA, the proponents say a much cheaper method of connecting Heathrow to the north west, west and south would be via a bridge over the M25. This would also have benefits for the proposed intermodal freight depot at Colnbrook, Berkshire.

This map from the Windsor Link Railway web site, shows the new tracks for both phases.

Note that Southern Access on the map is close to the route of the Heathrow Southern Railway.

Thoughts On Phase 1

Phase 1 is mainly a scheme for Windsor and I believe, it could be very beneficial to a town, that will become an even bigger tourist attraction.

It is a scheme, that has no affect on the construction of the Heathrow Southern Railway.

However, if the Windsor Link Railway wanted to increase the frequency of the train service between Windsor and Eton Central and Waterloo, there may well be arguments over who gets the paths on the crowded lines between Staines and London.

Thoughts On Phase 2

If the Heathrow Southern Railway and Windsor Link Railway designed a joint scheme, I don’t believe there is any reason, why trains couldn’t use the Windsor Link Railway to run between Reading and Heathrow.

Capacity Of Heathrow Terminal 5 Station

Heathrow Terminal 5 station has been built with space for two bay platforms.

Each platform could probably handle four trains per hour (tph), although with the right scheduling and good signaling and operation, six tph is possible.

Heathrow Southern Railway proposes the following services to the terminal.

  • Four tph from Waterloo via Clapham Junction and Staines.
  • Two tph from Weybridge via Viginia Water, Egham and Staines.

So there could be upwards of four tph from Windsor and/or Reading, that terminate at Terminal 5.

Crossrail To Reading Via Windsor And Heathrow

Somebody will want to run Crossrail trains through Heathrow Terminal 5 to Windsor and Reading.

Would Windsor cope with all the extra visitors?

Note that Heathrow Southern Railway are already suggesting that Crossrail trains to Terminal 5 could be extended to a new platform at Staines.

Waterloo To Reading Via Staines, Heathrow Terminal 5 and Windsor

Suppose two tph of the Waterloo to Heathrow Terminal 5 trains, reversed and went on to Windsor and Reading.

  • It could make better use of the platforms at Heathrow.
  • Reading would have an additional two tph service to Heathrow.
  • Windsor would have a four tph service to Waterloo.

It’s a possibility with benefits.


Co-operation could be beneficial to both projects.


April 5, 2018 - Posted by | Transport | , ,


  1. The biggest problem for increased capacity on the Windsor-Staines line is the level-crossings in Datchet. Increased capacity either means moving them (very difficult) or not all trains stopping at Datchet to reduce the down-time.

    Comment by Dai | July 5, 2018 | Reply

    • This is one of the reasons behind the thinking that led to the Heathrow Southern Railway.

      Comment by AnonW | July 5, 2018 | Reply

  2. I’m not convinced that expensive works and tunnelling to connect two fairly low capacity lines through some of the most valuable land in the country seems impractical. If an orbital London route is the priority, why not just connect Heathrow Southern access to Reading, to provide cambridge-oxford-reading-heathrow-woking-guildford-gatwick routes? Meanwhile the Windsor lines are mostly used by commuters and day-tourists, so a direct connection to Heathrow seems overkill (as they’re only 1 change at Staines away from Heathrow once Heathrow Southern is installed).

    As an alternative, has anyone considered running the Windsor and Eton Riverside line as a London Overground service? Could be taken north at Brentford to connect to OOC and Paddington (even through crossrail 1,as there is spare capacity at this end of crossrail) with relatively minor junction changes. That 2tph slot from Windsor to Waterloo can be replaced by 2tph semi-fast Heathrow to Waterloo (aiming to improve connectivity to the south, rather than increasing journey times).

    Comment by J m | August 5, 2018 | Reply

    • as I see it, phase 1 makes a lot of sense: it seems to have support from the local community/council, would have no need for taxpayer subs, and would generally benefit Windsor by improving the riverside area. What’s not to like?

      But I don’t find phase 2 very convincing. lt’s true that approaching Heathrow that way would cost much less than a purpose-built Western Rail Link, but it would hardly be high-speed, not just because of the LC but it’s an extremely winding route. The WRL proposal seems much more sensible. Adding a chord to connect the Windsor line to HSR’s proposed route presumably would not cost much, and would at least provide a diversionary route for engineering works on Slough-W Drayton.

      Comment by Peter Robins | August 8, 2018 | Reply

  3. There are now four serious projects to add to the railways in the Heathrow, Slough, Staines, Windsor area.

    1. Heathrow Southern Railway
    2. HS4Air
    3. Windsor Link Railway
    4. Western Rail Access To Heathrow

    In addition, there is Transport for London’s plan to create the West London Orbital Railway using the Dudding Hill Line.

    I was talking to a station guy at Staines and one of the biggest problems in the area, is that it is difficult to get to Heathrow to work early in the morning and get back late at night.

    As Heathrow gets bigger, there will be more and more people going to the airport, who will need to use good public transport.

    Affordable housing is in places like North West London, Slough and Staines.

    I therefor feel that the most important routes could be Crossrail, Heathrow Southern Railway, West London Orbital and possibly the Windsor Link Railway.

    Your suggestion might fit with a jobs-led travel philosophy, where Windsor is linked through OOC to West Hampstead and Brent Cross.

    I will investigate and publish a post.

    Comment by AnonW | August 5, 2018 | Reply

  4. another element of this is the mention of freight. There was discussion of expanding Colnbrook a few years back, but AFAIK this didn’t get anywhere. I believe the existing line (what’s left of the original ‘southern railway’) is used only for fuel deliveries, and AFAICS it has no connection westwards. The Western Rail Link blurb does not mention freight. The existing cargo terminal has no rail connection, and AFAICS the recent cargo strategy does not mention rail. But even if LHR wanted to increase rail freight, would running it through Windsor (or Staines or Egham) make sense? I don’t think so.

    Comment by Peter Robins | August 9, 2018 | Reply

    • I fel there’s a need for electruc shuttle trains to take in supplies to tge airport to cut the airports carbon footprint

      Comment by AnonW | August 9, 2018 | Reply

  5. […] I wrote about the interaction of the two proposals to access Heathrow from the West and South in Heathrow Southern Railway And The Windsor Link Railway. […]

    Pingback by Should The Elizabeth Line Be Extended To Ascot? « The Anonymous Widower | September 28, 2018 | Reply

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