Engineers Imagine London-Orbital High-Speed Rail Line HS4Air

By Gary Cutlack on at

Engineers thinking of ways to make travel around London less of a nightmare for their children's children have come up with a concept they call HS4Air – a high-speed rail link that connects the south of the city to rail links in the north and that big airport to the west, building a rail equivalent of the M25 in layout at least.

The headline dream scenario is that this would allow a high-speed line to link Gatwick and Heathrow and would let travellers smash their way between airports in just 15 minutes; plus it would link the HS1 terminal at Ashford in Kent to the two airports as well and, well, we'd have a rail system akin to what Japan had in the 1960s. In one corner of the country.

It would cost around £10bn the consortium of idea-havers led by Expedition Engineering think -- a relatively affordable price thanks to 40 per cent of the line using upgraded existing track -- with the plan to be submitted to the Department for Transport this month under the terms of the recently announced market-led joint development fund.

A spokesperson for optimistic architects Weston Williamson + Partners that are sketching out the plan said: "HS4Air takes the problem of linking HS1 with HS2 and turns it into an opportunity in bypassing London entirely whilst better connecting the UK’s two largest airports and the country generally through high-speed rail. This generates huge regeneration potential and much wider economic benefits for the whole country." [The Times]