The £10bn HS4Air rail scheme connecting High Speed 1 (HS1) with High Speed 2 (HS2) via Gatwick and Heathrow airports has been rejected by the government, New Civil Engineer can reveal.
The project to build the 140km high speed route had been proposed as part of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) market led proposals (MLP) call for ideas.
The new line was proposed to start at Ashford in Kent and run south of London via the two airports before connecting to the Great Western Mainline and HS2 north of Heathrow.
The scheme’s original proposer, Expedition director Alistair Lenczner, told New Civil Engineer that the DfT has rejected the plans.
“We are naturally very disappointed that the DfT have told us that they do not wish to engage with us further on the HS4Air proposal,” he said. “In light of the news, we are now considering what to do next.”
The scheme had been developed and put forward by consultant Expedition in conjunction with architect Weston Williamson and Partners (WW+P) and planning and development consultant Turley.
The rejection follows the announcement that the Windsor Link Railway scheme has also been dismissed as part of the MLP process.
The line had been dubbed the “M25 for high speed trains”, slashing journey times between Heathrow and Gatwick from around 1 hour 45 minutes to just 15 minutes.
As part of the proposals, four new stations would have been built along the route at Ashford, Tonbridge, Gatwick and Heathrow.
At the time of the submission, Lenczner said the scheme had received a “very positive response” from various parties.
The MLP call for ideas was launched in March this year under new proposals to try and increase the amount of third party investment in rail. At the time of the launch, the DfT said the public sector did not have a “monopoly on good ideas” and wanted to provide a sustainable future for the rail sector.
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