Network Rail has awarded Jacobs Engineering Group a contract to develop detailed designs for a new tunnelled rail link between the Great Western Main Line (GWML) and Heathrow.
The 5-kilometre link will allow trains to turn right off the GWML to the airport for the first time. Passengers travelling from Reading and Slough will no longer have to catch a train to London Paddington and then another from Paddington to Heathrow.
Jacobs said it would be helping Network Rail form its development consent order (DCO) submission for the Planning Inspectorate. It will develop the engineering and environmental design for the link.
Jacobs senior vice president Buildings and Infrastructure Bob Duff said: “We started supporting Network Rail on its feasibility plans for this essential rail link in October 2011.
“Being able to continue our collaboration in an effort to help Network Rail realize the extensive social, economic and environmental goals of this important project is exciting. We are leveraging our experience with the DCO process to support the delivery of sustainable design and compelling application.”
Network Rail hopes to start work on the link in 2019, ready for its first passengers in 2024.