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Government encourages private investment for new southern rail link to Heathrow Airport

Private investment into the rail network has been encouraged by the Government to help deliver a new southern rail link to Heathrow Airport.

The link will be one of the first projects under Government plans to invite third parties, including local authorities and private sector companies, to invest in the rail network.

The announcement has been welcomed by the managing director of the Windsor Link Railway (WLR), George Bathurst, whose ambitious £200m project aims to create a direct line from Windsor to Paddington and Heathrow Airport.

The former Royal Borough councillor said: “It’s great because the Government are indicating an openness to private investment and it’s quite admirable to see the Secretary of State for Transport driving this policy change.”

Proposed schemes would need to make commercial sense, build on the Government’s investment in rail infrastructure and have the needs of passengers at their heart, the Department for Transport added.

Secretary of State Chris Grayling said: “By encouraging innovative ideas and new investment on our railways, we can relieve the burden on taxpayers and fare payers with projects that match our transport needs.

“Heathrow is the perfect example of where this can make a difference.

“Such schemes will help ensure the benefits of our major international hub are even more accessible to those across the west and south of the UK, providing vital links for travellers and exporters and attracting inward investment.”

Bids are expected to be made in June and July with the Government likely to provide an initial response in the autumn.

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