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Action needed over Stansted links or region will be “severely handicapped”, Essex MP says.

18:23 12 January 2016

Stansted Airport managing director Andrew Harrison, Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill MP and Saffron Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst, officially open the new security search area at Stansted Airport in 2014.

Stansted Airport managing director Andrew Harrison, Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill MP and Saffron Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst, officially open the new security search area at Stansted Airport in 2014.

Archant

East Anglia will be “severely handicapped” if rail improvements to Stansted airport are not completed soon, an Essex MP has said.

Sir Alan Haselhurst said there had been a 30-year struggle for upgrades, and it was in nobody’s interests to wait any longer, as he urged the Government to increase the number of tracks on the key link.

“There has been a 30-year struggle to get this improvement, and if nothing is done soon, the potential of the Anglian region will be severely handicapped,” he warned a Westminster Hall debate in the House of Commons.

Rail access to Stansted is a “spur” off the main line, with a single track tunnel into the airport limiting capacity and Sir Alan said major carriers had not been attracted to the Essex hub because the original 41-minute train service from Liverpool Street had slowed down over the years as limited trains were used for commuter routes.

“The day was saved by the emergence of low-cost carriers such as Ryanair and easyJet, which had never been heard of at the time the terminal was built. The terminal was not designed for the kind of traffic that it eventually found itself accommodating,” he added.

The airport, which sees about 22million passengers each year, has a wider regional effect with world-class businesses clustering close by, notably in Cambridge but also at various points along the spine of that railway and further afield, the Saffron Walden MP said, telling the minister there was a “dream scenario” for anyone who wanted to build and operate a railway and operate trains.

“The airport is growing its passenger numbers and needs to find employees. High-tech companies, large and small, need to draw in staff, and influential business visitors are coming from overseas. There is a level of housing construction along the line which, although it may be worrying to some in its concentration, is nevertheless unavoidable if we are to provide homes for aspiring owners. However, in all this time, nothing has been done to improve the West Anglia rail line,” he added.

Answering the debate, airports minister Robert Goodwill said he had travelled by train to Stansted when he had visited so he could experience it first hand.

He said the airport provided significant economic benefits, adding that there were plans to add a third track on the rail link between Tottenham Hale and Angel road before 2019 and improve the power lines.

He also said that he looked forward to hearing about the findings of the West Anglia Rail Taskforce, which is looking at what improvements are needed in the region, which was being chaired by Sir Alan.

The MP also told the debate it was an “absolute scandal” that despite being told 38 years ago that the A120 was going to be a critical route across to the M11 for traffic coming from the east-coast ports the section between Braintree and Marks Tey was still not in place.

He also claimed that the motorway service station at junction eight of the M11 might need to be moved because the decision to put the service station there had caused chaos.

Chris Wiggan, Stansted Airport’s Head of External affairs, said MAG had been in discussions with Government since it took ownership of Stansted in 2013 and we have made a number of recommendations to Network Rail to improve journey times, reliability and frequency of services on the mainline to London and Cambridge.

“We want to see a sustained programme of investment in the railway and have called on the Government to use the new East Anglia rail franchise as an opportunity to adopt a joined-up approach to tackling rail and aviation capacity issues.”

2 comments

  • Rubbish. Improvements to one of the worst airports in Britain needed before good rail links are to be considered. I have been to a great many airports over the last few years. Due to my budget the last two trips (both 2015) were from Stansted. I have never felt so under valued as a customer as I did on both occasions.

    Report this comment

    richie w

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016

  • Well we could start by having a rail link to EAST ANGLIA you know of the main Great Eastern line with direct trains from IpswichLowerstoft LineHarwich etc. The fact that to get to Standsted takes an hours drive once you've retrieved your car and driven home after a late flight which returned over Ipswich is very annoying. So I go to City or Norwich. The Braintree branch line should be duelled and extended from Braintree the 10 miles to Standstead and it could offer 30min trains to London on the high speed Great Eastern lines instead of getting stuck on commuter lines in North London, and it could connect to cross rail line at Shenfield. West Anglia ie Cambridgeshire already has a link and its own airport. East SuffolkSouth Suffolk and Great Ipswich already has to put up with noise and air pollution of Stansteads Northern European flights we should get a good high speed rail link to make Stanstead East Anglias airport. But the Lep is more worried about a vanity Norwich in 90 project at all cost. Link the Stansread link with improved tracks south of the Witham spur and you get double benefit instead if waisting money on the West Anglia line which over the years with East Coast & West Coast mainlines provided far superior investment for Cambridge, Saffron Waldon, Bishop Stortford, Peterborough, Milton Keynes, Northampton etc etc. West Anglia is well served by rail investment, it should be EAST Anglias turn instead they want to waist money on more tunnels, it was a badchoice in the first place connecting Stanstead to the west it should have gone an easterly route to Liverpool St instead we will keep getting up at 5am in the morning to drive sleepy eyed to get early flights to europe and hence why we in the East miss out on inward investment oppurtunities. So I ask our MPs in the east to tell Sir what ever he is to politely bugger off.

    Report this comment

    The Ginge

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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