The idea for an orbital railway connecting Barnet to the rest of northwest and west London may become a reality after a feasibility study showed its potential.

The West London Orbital Railway would see the recommissioning of the current Dudding Hill line, used for freight trains, for passenger use after it became commercial only in the early 1900s.

The line connects far-west boroughs such as Hounslow further north, with the feasibility study showing route options beginning in Hendon, and linking up to Brent Cross and Cricklewood, before carrying on towards Kew and Heathrow.

In a meeting of the West London Economic Prosperity Board, with Barnet Council leader Richard Cornelius a member, councillors were overjoyed at the results of the study, showing the potential economic benefits of the scheme and opportunities for residents.

Three councillors from Brent, Neil Nerva, Lia Colacicco and Shafique Choudhary attended the meeting to praise councillors for their work into this matter, along with the conductors of the study, West London Alliance, and ask that the plans come into fruition more quickly than the 10-year timeline projected while naming it a "game-changer".

Cllr Cornelius joked: "It is very important we pick up that comment about speed. I look around the room and people are much younger than me but it would be nice to see this finished in my lifetime!"

He added that at his bus stop in Hendon, he rarely sees a freight train using the line so believes the project could be completed quickly due to the tracks already being in place.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Brent Council leader and chairman of the committee, said: "There is an opportunity for us to create a linkage but also to create work, skills and housing opportunities for the residents.

"This is just the initial workings - it is not going to happen overnight but we are just trying to make sure we get it right, with the right people, and then the momentum will be there."

The study showed the railway, including two different route options, could be used by enough people to demand four trains per hour on each route.

Times Series: The Dudding Hill line with potential new stations included as would be on the West London Orbital RailwayThe Dudding Hill line with potential new stations included as would be on the West London Orbital Railway

The first route option noted in the report's "preferred option" would see four trains per hour connecting West Hampstead to Hounslow via Cricklewood, Neasden and continue through Acton and Brentford before reaching its destination, while the other would begin at Hendon and continue through Brent Cross or Staples Corner, Neasden and Acton before terminating at Kew Bridge.

Luke Ward, of the West London Alliance, said while the feasibility study is promising, a second funding study would need to take place in order to move the railway from "a project rather than just a study."

The report also included recommendations to the councillors to incorporate the railway into their local plans for their respective areas, which was a suggestion from London Deputy Mayor for Transport Val Shawcross, who was consulted on the plans.

Cllr Sachin Shah, Harrow Council leader, also brought up the hope that the railways could use battery-operated systems rather than diesel to lessen the effect to the environment, which was met with resounding agreement.

The funding report was agreed upon by Cllr Butt, with other members sounding their agreement to the recommendations in the plan.

Members at City Hall will likely be involved in the funding survey, which will work out how resources can be found to support the railway with a timeline for its completion by 2030.

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