"West London would be an excellent location to explore opportunities for Swift Rail and Rapid Transit. It is noticeably underserved with orbital lines and, whilst there is support for Crossrail 2, the proposed radial line is so expensive that it will probably never be commissioned and alternative routes will need to be investigated.
"West London Business has previously explored the idea of a West London Orbital Railway. In 2001, Symonds (now part of Capita) were asked to conduct research and identify a way to greatly improve the orbital public transport system.
"This work has not progressed but most recently assumed short driverless trains, similar to those on the Docklands Light Railway, running [totally in tunnel] between Brent Cross and Surbiton via Wembley, Ealing Broadway and Richmond. We wholeheartedly encourage West London Business to re-test the viability of this idea, for delivery in either the short-term or with a view to complementing Crossrail 2.
"Now is precisely the moment to open discussions about infrastructure in west London. In June 2016 the West London Economic Prosperity Board agreed the Vision for Growth Action Plan, which included a focus on identifying a small number of shared priorities relating to transport infrastructure.
"Possible shared sub-regional high-priority schemes, derived from Local Plans and Local Authority discussions, included an Orbital passenger rail service connecting regeneration schemes; linking Old Oak Common, Brent Cross and Brentford via Wembley along the current “Dudding Hill” freight line which would be activated as a passenger line.
"As has been demonstrated by the success of London’s orbital Overground system, suburban areas require connections at the supra-local level which enhance sub-regional connectivity as opposed to those which focus on central London. New radial connections don’t only create opportunities to get people to leave their cars behind and walk, bike or take public transport, but would relieve overcrowding on the M25 and North Circular road.
T"o live and work locally, within West London, would undoubtedly bring both environmental and social benefits. A Swift Rail service would bridge the gap which currently exists between the London Underground services and future Crossrail in scale and speed, providing a service at the sub-regional level. It is undoubtedly an approach which could be pioneered in locations such as west London.
"The Borough of Hillingdon has historically pressed for extending the Central Line to Uxbridge. There are, however, even better possibilities which could be achieved through a new Swift Rail link, ideally creating a new orbital service which is able to run from the centre of London towards Heathrow before providing a north-south orbital connection.
"The first of these routes could lie along the currently disused railway lines that previously ran from Uxbridge to the Great Western Railway near Hayes. There is also a section which runs from West Drayton and Yiewsley through to Staines in the south via Colnbrook and Yeoveney, with the possibility of being connected to Heathrow Airport.
"In addition to this it might also be possible with some ‘street-running’ to create a West London Orbital line to the north where it could be connected to the Chiltern Services line from Aylesbury to Marylebone by running via Brunel University. Together these connections would have the potential to transform the accessibility of West London, both at the local and regional level."
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