Plans for a high-speed rail link from London to the north via Heathrow have taken a step forward with the formation of a development company to start work on the project, which will seek to raise about £10m from outside investors to pay for detailed feasibility work.
Heathrow Hub has been set up by Arup, the engineering and professional-services group that mooted the scheme. The plan has gained impetus in recent months thanks to the public backing of senior Labour and Conservative politicians.
Gordon Brown is tipped to give the go-ahead for construction of a third runway at Heathrow this week, despite opposition from Cabinet members, green campaigners and local authorities near the airport.
Brown is expected to try to mollify opponents by setting strict environmental criteria for the new runway, including improved rail links.