Plans for Heathrow-Paris rail link

An engineering firm is drawing up provisional plans for a high-speed rail link between Heathrow airport and Paris.

As debate rages on over the necessity of a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow airport, an engineering firm is drawing up plans for a rail service to connect the hub to Paris.

Arup, the company behind the plans, is an influential figure in the engineering world and in the 1980s devised the scheme to route the high-speed line to the Channel Tunnel via Stratford in east London.

The proposals are set to be formally announced this week and, as yet, have no backing from the government.

Comprehensive rail services from Heathrow could go some way to solving the current problems regarding capacity at the hub, with the government and airport operator BAA inviting ire from residents and green campaigners by claiming that expansion is essential.

Mark Bostock, a director at Arup, said: "There is total logic in seeing how Heathrow can be connected to the national and international rail network.

"This is fundamental to the sustainable development of the airport and would be a step-change beyond BAA's extremely modest ambitions for shifting passengers from road to rail."

The proposed link could bring Heathrow within two-and-a-half hours of Paris, freeing up capacity at the airport by reducing the need for short-haul flights to Europe.

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Plans For Heathrow-Paris Rail Link