The government has given its backing to plans for a new surface rail link from Heathrow to Waterloo. The 300 million scheme, known as Airtrack, involves connecting the airport to the existing South West rail network by constructing a four-km link from the new Terminal 5 to the existing London Waterloo line at Staines; from there, the service would stop at Feltham, Twickenham, Richmond and Clapham Junction before terminating at Waterloo. The plans were set out in a recent department of transport consultation paper on the South West train franchise, meaning that railway companies wanting to operate the network must now include proposals for managing the new service in their bids. Supporters of the scheme say the link could be operating by 2011, to coincide with the opening of the new Terminal 5 and in time for the Olympic Games the following year. Heathrow is already linked to the capital by rail from Paddington Station in north London.
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