Agreed there is scope for improving the road network in the region. There is no such scope for doing so around Heathrow. And bad as the traffic can be in Aylesbury or on the A34 at certain times of day, it can be 10 times worse around Heathrow.
Right now I travel the M25 past Heathrow every day... and I've travelled the Oxford bypass/M40/etc too... They are as bad as each other... my estimate of 45 mins from Reading to Heathrow is based on my rush hour experience. My rush hour experience around Oxford is that it can take 30 mins just to get from one side of Oxford to the other let alone from Reading to Bicester.
Nobody from Reading or Bracknell or Slough will travel to Bicester to get a high speed train. They will have to travel by slower train into London, get a tube connection to get the HS1 from St Pancras. Nobody from Warwick or Coventry will travel to Bicester to catch HS2, they would travel into Birmingham to get teh HS2 from there. So a Bicester parkway station would be a white elephant.... Aylesbury would be even worse because travel to Aylesbury is even worse for people from Warwick/Coventry/Northampton/Reading/Oxford/Slough/Bracknell.
OTOH many many people from Reading/Oxford/Slough/Bracknell would drive to Heathrow area to get a high speed train from there.
If we're spending billions on HS2, I think they will find a few million to upgrade the roads serving a "parkway" station.
You think ? Who will pay for it ? That's not included in the costs of HS2 so it would be paid for separately, and you make the assumption that we have a joined up transport policy.
But of course, direct trains from the North to Europe won't stop at either Euston or St Pancras - they will bypass both and call at the already-existing station at Stratford.
No you haven't read the current plan. At the moment trains from the north are not going to go to Europe at all, they will terminate at Euston. The best they are proposing is to investigate making an shuttle or escalator transfer connection between Euston and St Pancras. With the current plan, if you want to go to Paris by train from Bicester you would have to go to Euston, then transfer from Euston to St Pancras, then get a different Eurostar train to Paris.
That is the most nuts part of the whole proposal in my view. If they can't make direct services to Paris from Manchester/Birmingham then its a dead duck. There is no point at all in making faster journeys from Birmingham and Manchester to London, they need to be providing faster and easier services from Birmingham/Manchester to Paris/Brussels and beyond.
But this is a side-show. The main point is that the only possible reason for putting a station at Heathrow is to tie-in with air traffic. The effect of that is to encourage more air traffic to an already overloaded airport, and more road traffic to overloaded roads - either that or it's a lot of money spent on a white elephant. If the point is to provide a Parkway station near the M25, such as Ebbsfleet, then somewhere around the M25/M40 near Denham makes a much better choice as it is directly on the HS2 route. I was suggesting Bicester because I'm unconvinced about the amount of use Ebbsfleet gets
I used Eurostar a lot last year and there was always a sizable number of people (up to 25% of the passengers) getting on/off at either Ebbsfleet or Ashford. I can't comment on the balance between the two but my guess would be that Ashford gets more use than Ebbsfleet.
I think you've picked up now that my suggestion is two-fold...
#1 to provide a 'west of London' parkway station for direct services to Europe, and for fast services to the north
#2 to provide a tie-in to air traffic at Heathrow
#1 in my view would contribute far more business use of the line than #2. Business people from west London and west of London wanting to travel to Europe (only if HS1 runs directly through to Europe without stopping at Euston for a transfer to St Pancras as currently planned - business people wont' do that). And those from west London and west of London who want to travel to Manchester/Birgimham for business and don't want to trek into London to catch the service from Euston and don't want to catch an infrequent and potentially slow cross country service to the north.
These are the people who will travel to a 'west of London' parkway... and if Eurostar is anything to go by they are the people who will provide profitable business to fund line.
#2 is likely to contribute far more consumer use of the line than latter. People from Birmingham/Manchester wanting to access a wider variety of flights from Heathrow than are available from Birmingham/Manchester. It would be an easier, faster, more reliable and greener option than these people FLYing to Heathrow for a connecting flight. I suspect business people are less likely to use the train to connect with flights but they might do.
Heathrow area is the one place where you can achieve both objectives.... thus maximising the benefits, value and attractiveness of the entire scheme.
If there is no Heathrow connection then I still think there is a STRONG case for a parkway station 'west of London' and there is VERY LITTLE case for a parkway station at Bicester or Aylesbury (for the reasons I've stated). The obvious places for a parkway station are in the M25/M40/M4 vicinity so Heathrow, Denham or even High Wycombe would be ideal locations for a well used and productive parkway station. And of those, only Heathrow provides an airport tie-in as well.