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McAslan backs Heathrow rail hub

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A £4.5 billion rail hub connecting Heathrow to the Great Western main line and an extended high-speed network has been backed by John McAslan

Speaking to the AJ after transport minister Lord Adonis gave his support to the project in a Sunday Times interview this week, Kings Cross station redevelopment architect McAslan said: 'It sounds like value for money. The cost is about equivalent to Terminal 5 but it will serve up to 100 million passengers, compared to a single airline operator. It is expensive but you can't escape that with big infrastructure projects.'

Anti-third runway campaigners however have dismissed the plans as an environmental offset for the controversial Heathrow expansion. 2M Group spokesman Steve Mayner said, 'The hub is the wrong answer to the wrong question. It's a smokescreen [for Heathrow's runway expansion plans].'

2M's transport advisor Colin Eliff added: 'The essential problem with [the] Heathrow hub is that the need for good rail access to Heathrow has been confused with the need for direct high speed rail links between cities such as Manchester or Leeds to Paris or London.' Eliff said 2M Group was preparing its own proposals for a local hub for release later this month.

James Berry of HOK International who was previously lead architect at BAA for Heathrow Terminal 5, said 'Improving the air quality at Heathrow is one of the conditions for the third runway project... If you were cynical you might think that this rail hub proposal is being used to achieve just that.'

According to Arup, who has been working on the project independently for three years, the proposed 12-platform hub – the largest newbuild railway station in a generation – would increase the number of passengers travelling to the airport by overground railway from 9 percent to 30 percent.

Arup diagrams:
Possible high speed rail destinations
Local rail services
Proposed main line rail service

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