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High Court rejects Heathrow's bid for Crossrail station charges

The High Court has thrown out a bid by the operator of Heathrow to levy an access charge of more than £400 for Crossrail trains stopping at the airport.

The court upheld a previous decision by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) that the airport could not levy a £460 charge for trains using a spur line built by the airport from the Great Western Main Line two decades ago.

The levy had been placed to cover the historic costs of a £1bn rail link built and financed by the airport. Heathrow had been seeking up to £42m a year in payments to cover the cost of construction of the line.

Heathrow said that it was “disappointed” that the High Court had rejected its claim and was currently considering its next steps.

In a statement, the ORR said: “In May 2016, taking into account representations and evidence from affected parties, including considerable documentation and submissions from Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL), we decided HAL is not permitted to introduce all of its proposed new charges for train operators to use its track, which links Heathrow ‎Airport to the Great Western Main Line.‎

“HAL launched a judicial review of our decision and after a three-day hearing, the court has dismissed HAL’s application and upheld our decision. We welcome this judgement and we will now work with all the affected parties to enable Crossrail services to start running as scheduled into the airport.”

Commenting on the decision, a Heathrow spokesperson said: “Heathrow is committed to increasing sustainable public transport to the airport – that’s why we invested in Crossrail, built the Heathrow Express rail service, support Piccadilly line services to the airport and subsidise Europe’s largest free bus network.  

“We are looking forward to the arrival of Crossrail in May 2018 as part of our plans to treble Heathrow’s rail capacity by 2040 and put the airport at the heart of an integrated transport network in London. We are disappointed with today’s ruling and are considering our next steps.

“Both Heathrow and Network Rail agree that track access charges must be fair to encourage future private investment in the rail network.”

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