London

Heathrow-Crossrail row heads to High Court

Crossrail construction worker Image copyright AFP
Image caption The railway regulator said Heathrow's proposed charges would amount to about £42m a year

A High Court judge is to rule on whether Crossrail trains should be charged for each time they travel to Heathrow Airport.

The airport spent £1bn building the five-mile line 20 years ago to connect the hub to the Great Western track.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) previously decided Heathrow could not charge trains for using the line, which it said would cost about £42m a year.

The airport said it wanted to "ensure track access charges were fair".

Heathrow has taken the decision to the High Court for a judicial review and a ruling is expected "imminently", an airport spokesperson said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption A five-mile stretch of track to the airport was built by Heathrow 20 years ago

Four Crossrail trains an hour will run between Paddington and Heathrow terminals 2 to 4, replacing Heathrow Connect trains from May 2018.

Heathrow has argued train operators should be charged to use the track the airport funded using private money.

But the ORR decided last May that the airport "is not permitted to introduce all of its proposed new charges for train operators to use its track".

A spokesperson for the railway regulator added the airport had proposed each train should be charged historical build costs of £597 and an operational expenditure charge of £138, which would significantly increase the overall costs of Crossrail.

Image copyright Bombardier
Image caption Crossrail trains will replace Heathrow Connect services from May 2018

Heathrow Airport said it was still "committed to increasing public transport to Heathrow and we look forward to the arrival of Crossrail in May 2018".

A spokesperson also said the investment recovery charge would actually be £460.09 per train between 2019 and 2028.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport (DfT) said it was "inappropriate to comment on ongoing legal proceedings" but the government has previously backed the ORR's ruling.

Transport for London (TfL) has not commented.

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