Business Group Urges Support for West London Orbital

New rail link key to area's development says West London Alliance

West London Orbital Rail Link Plans 'Taking Shape'
The new service would mainly run on existing lines

March 17, 2024

An organisation which aims to promote economic growth in West London is urging local residents and companies to get behind proposals for the West London Orbital Line (WLO). A decision on whether or not to take the project forward is due to be made in April after the completion of initial feasibility studies.

The West London Alliance (WLA) is a public sector partnership between seven West London local authorities (Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow) which aims to work across borough boundaries to deliver initiatives to promote the local economy.

Should the WLO scheme receive the required funding and approvals, services could start in the early 2030s. The WLA says public and business support for the scheme will be an important part of making the case.

It has been working with Transport for London to bring forward the new public transport scheme which would convert the existing 18.5km Dudding Hill line, which is currently used for freight, back to passenger use as a London Overground line. It would run from Hounslow through to a new stop at Lionel Road in Brentford, Acton, Old Oak Common and Neasden, with branches stretching both to West Hampstead and to Hendon as well as one connecting to Kew Bridge station.

The complete route would take just 37 minutes according to official estimates – drastically cutting journey times for passengers going from Hounslow up to Hendon, as it removes the need to travel into central London and back out, which takes around 90 minutes. The service was first proposed by the Mayor in his 2018 Transport Strategy.

The WLA has issued a brochure promoting the benefits of the WLO and pointing out how it could link up areas which have thus far not benefitted from West London’s economic dynamism.

The WLA says in the document, “Lack of orbital connections across the area reduces its potential and too many of its neighbourhoods are excluded from its success. By connecting key growth areas and linking them to their surrounding communities, the WLO has the potential to boost the economy, speed delivery of much-needed housing and open up West London’s opportunities – not only locally, but to the rest of London and beyond.”

The proposed route of the West London Orbital Line

The proposed route of the West London Orbital Line

It claims that the WLO scheme would support and broaden access to 120,500 jobs including 65,000 in the Old Oak and Park Royal area.

It also contends that, by increasing public transport options on orbital routes, it would relieve pressure on the North Circular Road and reduce congestion at Chiswick Roundabout and Kew Bridge.

If it is decided to take the scheme forward after the completion of initial feasibility work next month, further feasibility design will take place later this year with consultation on various options for the project. This could move the scheme forward to a final design with approvals and consent granted by the end of 2028. By this timetable the line could commence services by late 2032.

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