AMBITIOUS plans to connect a town’s two train stations have got through the first stage in the planning process.

Windsor Link Railway (WLR) has passed the pre-planning advice stage with the Royal Borough for the first phase of its plan to transform rail travel in the South East by combining Windsor’s two stations underground.

The pre-planning process is to elicit scrutiny by council planning officers on the deliverability of the project with planning chiefs at the council outlining a lot of work still needs to be done with regard to assessments of heritage, flood risk, environmental impact and traffic.

The report adds much of this cannot be done until the full parameters of the proposal are defined.

George Bathurst, managing director of the WLR, said: “It is important go get a first view of the plans from the local planning authority. They agreed the planning objectives were the same as theirs [the council’s] and it is really good feedback.” Phase two of the scheme proposes extending the Great Western Mainline to Heathrow with a new station in Chalvey.

Mr Bathurst said a planning application for the scheme could be submitted in 2016, with an application for a Transport and Work Acts - the usual way of authorising a new railway - in 2017 and construction starting in 2020.

The total cost, solely for the railway engineering side of the project, is estimated by WLR as up to £250m.