The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is consulting on Heathrow Airport’s proposed charging framework for the Heathrow Airport-Great Western Main Line (GWML) link when Crossrail trains begin using it.
The airport, which owns and acts as infrastructure manager on the link to the GWML, wants to use a fixed track access charge to recover historic investment in the link - set at £597.30 per movement irrespective of train operator.
However, ORR Director of Economic Regulation and Consumers John Larkinson said: “As the independent regulator for Britain’s railways, we have a role in ensuring charges to run trains on the network are underpinned by evidence and meet legal tests.
“Twenty years ago, Heathrow Airport built a five-mile stretch of track linking its airport to the Great Western Main Line.
“Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) is required by law to establish charges for train operators using its track. Before Crossrail services to Heathrow start in 2018, HAL has proposed charging train operators to recoup the historical costs of building the track.
“After careful consideration, our view is that we have not received sufficient evidence from HAL to support its proposed charges to recoup historical costs. This relates specifically to its suggestion that the line could not have been constructed without the certainty of funding from train operators, which is the legal test we have to apply.”
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