FIVE BIDDERS are in the running to construct the new Southern Rail Link to Heathrow (SRLtH), which the Department for Transport is seeking to deliver through a market-led proposals process.

The bidders include Heathrow Southern Railway, MTR and the Windsor Link Railway (the latter being a route from Slough, under Windsor in a tunnel and then via a triangular junction at Wraysbury), along with light rail proposals through Spelthorne / Langley and Feltham / Bedfont Lakes.

The news comes as the Department for Transport has published a Prior Information Notice for a market sounding exercise for SRLtH.

The link is envisaged to serve Waterloo and Surrey/Hampshire from Heathrow, although the precise aims and specification are yet to be defined. The exercise will explore the market appetite for developing proposals for the link and the appetite for sharing the risk of the development process. DfT notes the exercise does not represent the start of a procurement process, but instead could shape such a process.

An industry event for interested parties was due to be held in London on 24 May, with an update on next steps planned to follow in the autumn. If a decision is taken to proceed, specific procurements will be launched for both the Southern and Western links to Heathrow.