Heathrow criticised by rail regulator over Crossrail levy

Heathrow criticised by rail regulator over Crossrail levy

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Heathrow faces criticism from the rail regulator over plans to make Crossrail trains pay a huge levy to use track that the airport owns.

The Office of Rail and Road wants to block proposals that would result in charges of more than £700 imposed on each train using the 5.3-mile track linking the airport’s terminals with the main line to Paddington.

Heathrow wants to impose a charge on Crossrail, the new east-west rail link through London, that would force the operator to pay £597 per train to cover its original building costs, in addition to an operational levy of £138, the Times reported.

Crossrail trains are expected to start running on the Heathrow Spur link between the airport and the Great Western mainline to central London in 2018.

Heathrow’s tracks, trains and depots were privately funded at a cost of more than £1 billion in the 1990s.

The line is used by the Heathrow Express, Britain’s most expensive rail service. The Office of Rail and Road has started a month-long consultation process into the charging framework.

But it said: “In our view, HAL [Heathrow Airport Limited] has not provided sufficient evidence to show that it should be able to levy charges relating to the historical costs of constructing the Heathrow Spur. As a result, we propose not to allow HAL to levy such charges.”

“This does not, however, prevent HAL levying other charges provided that they are in accordance with and permitted by the legislation.”

A Heathrow spokesman said: “We are disappointed with the ORR’s current position but we will now consider the consultation document in detail and respond in due course.”

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