THE constant stalling of the Heathrow rail link has been dubbed “unacceptable” and “frustrating” by Slough’s MP.

It was recently announced by Network Rail that the Western rail link – which would hook up Heathrow via Langley train station and Reading for people to travel directly to the airport – will be delayed by up to two years.

They say this is due to the coronavirus pandemic effect on the aviation industry and the Court of Appeals ruling on a third runway.

The £900 million proposal was supposed to be have been operational in 2020 – but Network Rail announced in 2017 it was estimated to be 2024.

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Called “the number one infrastructure priority for the whole of the Thames Valley Region” by Tan Dhesi, Slough MP and the Shadow Railway Minister, he described the delay as “frustrating and exasperating”.

He said: “The government committed to it in 2012 and yet even eight years down the line, we haven’t had a single shovel in the ground.

“This further two-year delay will only add to the growing frustration amongst all of us because of the substantial benefits the scheme will lead to for us economically, environmentally, and in terms of helping with the decarbonisation of our economy as well.”

Mr Dhesi also said that using coronavirus as an excuse to further delay the project is “unacceptable” while the government pushes forward with other railway schemes like HS2.

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He added: “These consistent delays are just a pattern with this government that they are not really on top of things and are just letting things left to slide.”

The leader of Slough Borough Council, councillor James Swindlehurst, revealed he will be writing to Ministers expressing his “immense sense of frustration and disappointment” of a further delay to the scheme.

He said: “The basic issue at play here is a change in the consultation rules by government, not Covid,  which will lead to the further expense and time delay of having to conduct a further public consultation into this widely popular project – it’s likely this will take around 10 months to complete, so there is a chance the scheme will be delivered ahead of the two-year delay advertised by Network Rail.”

“Western Rail is vitally important to the future economic success of Slough and I will be writing to Ministers to express my immense sense of frustration and disappointment of yet another further delay to this project, a delay which seems totally at odds with the build, build, build mantra of Boris Johnsons government.”

Royal Borough Observer:

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Trains on the Western Rail Link would run every 15 minutes with a six minute journey from Slough without needing to change in London.

The scheme was estimated to pump around £800 million into the economy and millions of passengers from Wales, the Midlands, and the South would no longer have to travel to London to get to terminal five.

An approximate 20 per cent of the UK population would be within one interchange from Heathrow Airport.

The Shadow Railway Minister added he will continue to bring this issue up in Parliament.