A monthly column by Swindon Borough Council Leader Cllr David Renard (Con)
This month a switch will be flicked that will bring enormous benefits to our town.
I’m sure the process of electrifying the Great Western main line between Swindon and Paddington is much more complicated than turning on a switch, but no one can underestimate the huge benefits that surge of power will bring to our local economy.
The new electric trains will significantly reduce the time it takes to get into London, making Swindon a really attractive place for businesses and people who are struggling with the high property prices in the capital.
More businesses means more jobs, which in turn will bring more wealth and investment into the borough. We are already facilitating major regeneration in the town centre and, with plans for the regional leisure centre at North Star also on the table, I am sure the electrified railway line will draw in even more investment.
Our rail links could also receive another significant boost with Network Rail due to submit plans next year for the western rail link to Heathrow Airport that could see people travel from Swindon to Heathrow in less than an hour.
I have been lobbying hard for this extension and, earlier this year, I made a submission on behalf of the Council to state how important such a rail link would be to Swindon.
The western rail link will mean you can get a train from Swindon to Heathrow via Reading which will be hugely beneficial, not just to residents, but to the many national and multi-national companies within the borough.