2017-05-21 08:58:21 UTC
The airport’s owners — a consortium of mostly foreign investment funds —
want to recoup its past spending on the private train line with an
“investment recovery charge” of £570 for every train that uses the track,
plus extra fees of about £107 per train.
Transport chiefs and the rail watchdog argue there is no justification for
such a historic charge, and fear it could mean higher ticket prices. The
Department for Transport reckons the extra charges would cost Crossrail
£42m a year.
A High Court judge is expected to rule imminently on the row after Heathrow
challenged the watchdog’s decision to reject the charges. Under contingency
plans drawn up by Transport for London, Crossrail trains could terminate a
few miles short of the airport, with passengers forced to transfer onto
other trains at a suburban station. The trains would then head back to
central London, dodging the £700 fees.
Called the Elizabeth line, London’s newest route was funded by taxpayers
and businesses in the capital and is due to carry 200m people a year. Four
Crossrail trains an hour will start running between Paddington and Heathrow
from next May — though not to Terminal 5 as the Heathrow Express has an
exclusive deal to run services there until 2023.
The company is believed to have identified a location near the airport
where trains could be redirected back towards Paddington or continue west —
though turning around trains on the Great Western line would create a huge
headache on the main artery between the capital and the west of England and