Arup director Mark Bostock has said that he will begin to look at alignments north of the proposed Heathrow Hub, in anticipation of new high speed lines should the Conservatives come to power in the next election.
When asked if he would now be examining routes north of Heathrow, a jubilant Bostock said: "We are still in the process of finding partners, but yes."
Bostock said Arup's £4.5bn Heathrow Hub scheme would proceed as planned, to extend existing high speed lines from St Pancras to Heathrow, and construct a huge subterranean terminal: "For completion around 2019," he said.
The £1.3bn per year a Conservative administration would commit to the project, announced by transport secretary Theresa Villiers earlier this week, would secure alignments and track north of the hub.
Under the current Heathrow Hub design, spare capacity was left in case new lines were constructed: "4 of the 12 platforms are for international travel, but the platforms are designed to be extended to the Midlands and North. For an indicative service, 8 trains per hour have an allocated capacity north," he said.
The Heathrow Hub would connect directly to rail services moving in almost every direction, giving the airport unrivalled access. The Conservatives believe it will shift the argument against building a third runway at Heathrow.
Bostock said that since Monday's announcement: We have been under huge pressure to start looking at alignments north. Now we will, with this Conservative endorsement. We are thrilled," he said.
Bostock said that, "As I understand it, some of the funding will come from unallocated Department for Transport funds, which fall between the money set out in the Comprehensive Spending Review and committed expenditure – it is the balance of unallocated funds," he said.