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Two major projects to improve rail links to the west will boost the local economy, says Swindon and Wiltshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
The government has committed £500m to the Western Rail Link, which is intended to provide better access to London Heathrow airport via an interchange at Reading.
And the Department for Transport has confirmed that the Trans-Wilts regional rail service from Swindon to Westbury via Melksham, will be part of the new Great Western franchise.
Both schemes could attract businesses to the region according to Swindon and Wiltshire LEP, which lobbied the government on both schemes.
Paul Johnson, partnership chairman, said: “This is a double success for the LEP and the south west.
“We have worked hard to support rail links both within the county and to the major transport hubs in London and we are getting results.
“The Heathrow service will strengthen the attractiveness of our region as a location for international business and the regional service will help local businesses to stay here.”
The Western Rail Link was part of a package of rail initiatives supported by SWLEP in its response to Department for Transport for the Great Western franchise.
The link is expected to substantially simplify the access to London Heathrow from the west, with a main line interchange at Reading.
Businesses in the LEP area will benefit from easier and faster access to international air services plus the convenience for incoming travellers not having to connect via London.
Trains from both Swindon and Westbury will connect with the Western Rail Link at Reading.
The Trans-Wilts regional rail service is expected to significantly improve the regional connectivity of Wiltshire businesses in Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge and Westbury with main line Reading/London services operating from Swindon, Chippenham and Westbury.
The service will also connect with Salisbury services to London Waterloo.