The Anonymous Widower

Council Pitches £375m Light Rail Scheme Linking South To Heathrow Airport

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

This is the first paragraph.

Spelthorne Borough Council has submitted proposals for a light rail link from Staines-upon-Thames to Heathrow airport to provide “joined-up journeys” into the airport from the south.

The light rail link would run from close to Stains station to the Heathrow,  every six minutes and take just seven minutes.

Based on trams, the same size as the Midland Metro, it would provide a capacity of 2100 passengers per hour to and from the Airport.

Note the following.

Markets Served

In Could Rail Access To Heathrow Be Formed Of The Best Bits Of Various Schemes?, I noted four main uses for transport to Heathrow Airport.

  • Passengers
  • Workers
  • Supplies For The Airport And The Aircraft
  • Air Cargo

Spelthorne’s plan only serves a very limited market of passengers and workers living in Staines, who need to go to the Airport.

If you have a direct train or bus, would you go to Staines and change to a tram? No way!

The plan does nothing to get polluting trucks off the road, although it might be a vote winner in Spelthorne.

Heathrow Southern Railway’s Plan To Extend Crossrail To Staines

I question whether Spelthorne have read the plans for Heathrow Southern Railway (HSR), which I first heard about in the December 2016 Edition of Modern Railways.

I wrote about HSR, Crossrail and Staines in Heathrow Southern Railway’s Plans For Staines. This link would do the following.

  • Provide up to six trains per hour (tph) between Staines all Heathrow stations, HS2 and Central London.
  • Transport passengers to Paddington in less time, than it takes to get to Waterloo at present.
  • Use Class 345 train with a capacity of 1500 passengers.
  • Give nearly three times the capacity of a light rail system with four tph.
  • Give over four times the capacity of a light rail system with six tph.
  • Allow passengers between Staines and the Airport would also be able to use services between Heathrow and Waterloo.
  • Need perhaps a couple of extra trains for the Staines extension of Crossrail.

I have no costings for the addition of the extra platform at Staines station, but I suspect that it is less than £375million.

If Heathrow Southern Railway is built, Spelthorne’s plan would be as dead as a dodo.


I see no future in Spelthorne’s light-rail plan, so it should be buried now before it costs taxpayers more money.



August 20, 2018 - Posted by | Transport | ,


  1. the council’s page is

    Their comment “proposals for traditional ‘heavy’ rail access take up a large amount of space and cut a swathe through Staines Moor” also wouldn’t be true as HSR would be in a tunnel for the most part.

    There was also a proposal for linking Feltham via Bedfont with some kind of tram/light rail, though I haven’t seen anything about that recently, so it may have died a death.

    Comment by Peter Robins | August 20, 2018 | Reply

  2. I think this is also linked to – though that’s rather out of date now

    Comment by Peter Robins | August 20, 2018 | Reply

    • To my mind, it’s just another load of Councillors trying to buy votes.

      The HSR proposal of extending Crossrail to Staines uses railway land and gives a massive increase in capacity.

      I would expect that HSR will also rebuild Staines station to make it a first class interchange. As Network Rail are going to develop Clapham Junction, the good citizens of Spelthone will see a massive increase in connectivity.

      Comment by AnonW | August 20, 2018 | Reply

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