Airtrack and Egham

BAA have applied to the Department for Transport under the Transport and Works Act  (TWA) to build a railway line linking Heathrow to Staines.   The Airtrack project will potentially provide direct rail links between Heathrow and Waterloo,  and also between Heathrow and Reading and Heathrow and Guildford. 

The original plans overlooked the fact that because the westbound line from Staines passes through Egham before branching off to Reading and Guildford,  Egham, which has 4 level crossings, but no bridges, tunnels, underpasses or bypasses,  will have twice as many trains as the rest of the route. 

Airtrack have provided,  under the TWA, two Environmental Statements (ES) indicating that under their most optimistic  (unrealistic) assumptions the three level crossings which serve the residential and businesses areas of Egham will be closed for between 30 and 40 minutes per hour.  

Local businesses

Local businesses and residents have united to demand a tunnel or bridge across the railway line as part of the Airtrack.

Residents of Egham Hythe are especially concerned since Thames and an elevated stretch of M25 have trapped several thousand households between the two most badly affected level crossings.

In 2009 Campaigners succeeded in persuading the local council, Runnymede Borough Council.   and the County Council, Surrey, which is also the Highways Authority,   to object to the TWA application on the basis that the damage to Egham would be intolerable.

Surrey County Council 

However, in September 2010,  Surrey County Council revealed that they had been offered £ 11.4 million by the sponsors of the project, BAA,  in return for withdrawing their objection.  This money would be put to highways improvements in the area surrounding Egham, but would not address the problem of the level crossings.