NETWORK Rail confirmed plans earlier this week to construct a direct line between Heathrow Airport and Slough station, linking up Swindon to the international airport.

It is believed the new track, costing around £500m will provide a huge boost to the local economy with Terminal 5 being just under a one hour ride away with the time between Reading and Heathrow being just 28 minutes.

It is hoped work will start on the scheme in 2016 and take about five years to complete.

Clair Prosser, a policy executive at the Swindon Chamber of Commerce, said: “Swindon Chamber of Commerce strongly supports this announcement and believes it will generate more than £220m in economic benefits to the Greater Thames Valley, the South West and Wales along with 40,000 new jobs.

“It will reduce congestion on busy routes throughout the Thames Valley, making the region more accessible for business.

“For Swindon businesses in particular, an hour journey to Heathrow will have a positive effect on the economy and attracting new investment into the town.”