Heathrow Southern Rail Access, with LARTs

The South West Mainline can be better linked with Heathrow using the LARTs strategy to create a high-frequency shuttle between Staines and Heathrow. That effectively makes every train at Staines Station a Heathrow train with a frequency 4 to 6 times greater, 24 hours a day.

Heavy rail options have now been considered for 40 years. The forecasted demands and minimal liabilities with LARTs make this a better proposal using Light Rapid Transit technology instead of heavy rail.

LARTs is better than heavy rail options;
  • no level crossing problems because existing trains plus LARTs provide the new link for Heathrow
  • low demand in passenger numbers are more suited to the LARTs strategy
  • track capacity on the South West Mainline is already adequate for the 24/7 strategy with LARTs
  • station capacity at Staines is increased without increasing the horizontal footprint of the station
  • special rolling stock along the SWML is not required with the LARTs making the access to Heathrow
  • local blight is reduced and commercial viability is increased for Staines-upon-Thames centre

LARTs makes each and every train at Staines a Heathrow-train 24 hours a day.


Staines-upon-Thames will be less congested with the LARTs as part of the existing railway station. 

PARK n' LARTs reduces road traffic related to the station.

Vertical expansion of Staines Station and its links with Heathrow, will increase the capacity with less impact than the horizontal expansion required for heavy rail options.
The elevated LARTs platform for Staines station is 30 paces from existing railway platforms, and with only one vertical move for passengers to make this is a more flexible and cost-efffective method of accommodating the predicted passengers and baggage, estimated at 5000 to 15,000 per day. 

Eight shuttles per hour between Heathrow and Staines, is the peak-time capability of LARTs. This enable every train at Staines to be a Heathrow-train and that is frequency that is 4 to 6 times greater than Network Rail's proposals for Heathrow.

Linking Staines station on the South West Mainline to the Great West Mainline can be achieved either through Heathrow or around Heathrow with the option so connect Staines and Iver. Alternative routes add resilience to LARTs and all modes of transport linked with LARTs. The flexibility of construction also creates options for both operation and implementation. 

WRAtH (Western Rail Access to Heathrow), is also enhanced by LARTs. In particular, Windsor passengers will have a choice of routing to Heathrow, either via Slough or Staines. Both require an interchange while a quicker journey time is more often possible with the LARTs connection.  Additionally, the LARTs link through Staines is more luggage-friendly than Western Rail Access.

Forecasted riderships for the Staines-Heathrow link are taken from the Airtrack proposal and WRatH proposal. LARTs serves the same passenger and groups and more because of its network and 
PARK n' LARTs which can link with bus networks and road traffic.

Tunnel capacity under Heathrow is increased by LARTs with its above ground strategy. This enables future capacity for Crossrail and Heathrow Express, for the benefit of both airport-users and commuters alike.

LARTs has the flexibility to accommodate all of Heathrow's development, with connections to T5, T4 and the Central Terminal Area provided by 7 metre wide guide-ways or tunnels.

The capital costs are less for LARTs as the better option for the South Rail Access. This is mainly because the overground structure is more predictable and quicker to construct, whilst all Terminals at Heathrow and the Cargo area can be linked with LARTs. 

Mass transit connections and capacity provided by LARTs compliment the services of WRAtH, Crossrail, and the Piccadilly Line, while Heathrow Express maintains its premium service connections.

Shorter walking distances, and 24/7 high frequency services enable LARTs to suit the needs of all airport users with luggage, buggies or wheel chairs and this adds resilience to all other modes of surface access.

Interchange penalties between LARTs and mainline-trains are 2 to 10 minutes with better convenience, connectivity, frequency and cost than the heavy options being discussed at present.

The architecture and driverless trains suits air-cargo operations by adding cargo wagons to the LARTs network and integrating them with passenger trains using the automated train timetabling and operation.

LARTs links Heathrow with important areas in Surrey the South West and South East, as well London Waterloo, Clapham, Vauxhall, Richmond and points in between. 

PARK n' LARTs is linked to Heathrow and Staines Station and town centre to provide a 24/7 service that enhances both the bus networks and railway networks while reducing airport road congestion by about 10% with better air quality around the airport as a result.


Air-Cargo carriage benefits from the security and quick response of driverless trains which can enhance the speed of cargo movements to and from the Heathrow Cargo Centre. Remote cargo operations, are possible away from the airport to reduce the number of 'delivery vans' and lorries on the Heathrow's perimeter roads.   Britain's most valuable and time sensitive cargoes regularly travel through Heathrow and LARTs helps to link both road and rail links to the airport.

All these points demonstrate a greater viability for LARTs for the south rail access at Heathrow.



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