Windsor Link Railway funding plans approved
Plans to raise funds for a proposed private railway project in Windsor have been approved by Network Rail.
The Windsor Link Railway (WLR), costing £100m-£150m, would link the Thames Valley to Waterloo by building a tunnel at Windsor.
A second £200m-£300m phase would then connect Windsor to Heathrow and Maidenhead.
George Bathurst, from WLR, said: "The earliest I would expect the project to start is in the next five years."
The company said it would now look in more detail about how its proposals could be funded through an investment partner.
Mr Bathurst added: "There is much more work to do before we can even be sure it is possible and that the numbers add up."
If it goes ahead, the company said it would be the "first wholly privately promoted and funded railway project for over 100 years".
Plans for the railway began four years ago, with a formal proposal submitted to Network Rail last year.
In a statement, Network Rail said: "We will continue to invest billions of pounds to improve the railway and private sector investment can complement this.
"Wherever possible we will engage with potentially viable schemes such as the Windsor Link Railway to help support the proposals."
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: "Privately funded railway projects offer the potential to expand the network but must demonstrate that they are economically sustainable and do not have negative impacts on existing services."