HOUNSLOW Council has denied backing cut-price plans for a direct rail link between Waterloo and Heathrow.
Civic Centre bosses this week refuted claims from their counterparts in Wandsworth that they supported the Airtrack-Lite scheme.
The project envisages four trains an hour running from central London to Terminal 5 via Clapham Junction, Feltham and Staines.
Wandsworth Council proposed the project last year as an alternative to Airtrack, a doomed £673 million scheme to improve rail links between Heathrow and the south west.
Wandworth recently claimed the scheme had the support of both Hounslow and Hammersmith and Fulham councils. However, when the Chronicle contacted Hounslow Council this week, a spokesman said no decision had been made about the project.
Heathrow owner BAA scrapped plans for Airtrack in April last year due to a lack of funding and concerns over the impact on traffic around level crossings.
However, Wandsworth Council claims its cut-price version would still improve links and help cut congestion on the Piccadilly Tube line without routing extra trains through level crossings in Mortlake and Egham, which helped scupper the original project.
The alternative plans would mostly use existing railway lines, to keep costs down, but would involve the creation of a new Staines High Street station. Half the additional trains would serve Hounslow.
Officials from BAA and the Department for Transport (DfT) have already been involved in ‘top level’ talks about the scheme, a spokesman for Wandsworth Council claimed.
It has also been included in the tender documents for the Great Western Rail Franchise, the winner of which will be expected to help develop the proposal.
BAA refused to comment on the scheme but a DfT spokesman said it supported in principle efforts to improve surface access to Heathrow.
“The Airtrack-Lite proposal could improve rail access from London and Surrey. However, it would be for the promoter of the scheme to develop the proposition in conjunction with BAA and Network Rail, to produce a business case and to secure the necessary funding,” he added.
Despite being one of Europe’s busiest airports, the only existing rail links to Heathrow are the Piccadilly line and the Heathrow Express service (which launched new carriages on Monday) from Paddington.
Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia said: “Our scheme would provide an alternative to tortuous journeys on the Piccadilly line and help get more cars off the road.”