Gatwick area MPs warn Rail Minister of rail chaos if Gatwick gets expansion go-ahead

Gatwick Coordination Group (GCG) MPs have written to the Rail Minister, Paul Maynard, to warn him that rail services along the Brighton Main Line would go into “complete meltdown” if Gatwick Airport were to be allowed to build a second runway. The GCG includes the 8 MPs from constituencies nearest to, and affected by, Gatwick.  They have highlighted the inability of the railway to cope with the increased demand that Gatwick expansion would entail, and they say: “Gatwick expansion would result in over 140,000 public transport trips to the airport each day. Given the limited public transport options to Gatwick, the vast majority of these will be via rail. To meet this added demand, TfL estimate that the cost of required upgrades is £10bn. There is, however, no plan to deliver this”… “Gatwick have not committed to contribute a single penny towards any cost, leaving commuters and taxpayers to foot any bill for work that would address the chronic lack of capacity that would result from Gatwick expansion” … a 2nd Gatwick runway would “pile impossible pressure on Southern Rail…” The Brighton Main Line is already operating over capacity and is one of the busiest and worst performing rail lines in the country, and already needs new capacity to cope with rising commuter demand. Gatwick has just a single rail connection to London, and a single motorway – both already under strain.
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MPs warn Rail Minister of rail chaos if Gatwick gets expansion go-ahead

Crispin Blunt MP’s website

Gatwick Coordination Group (GCG) MPs have written to the Rail Minister to warn him that rail services along the Brighton Main Line would go into “complete meltdown” if Gatwick Airport were to be allowed to build a second runway.

As the Government nears a decision on airport expansion following the Airports Commission’s unequivocal recommendation for a new runway at Heathrow Airport last July, MPs have highlighted the inability of the railway to cope with the increased demand that Gatwick expansion would entail.

In their letter to the Rail Minister, Paul Maynard MP, the MPs highlight:

  • “the devastating impact Gatwick expansion would have on the already beleaguered Southern rail service…
  • “Gatwick expansion would result in over 140,000 public transport trips to the airport each day. Given the limited public transport options to Gatwick, the vast majority of these will be via rail. To meet this added demand, TfL estimate that the cost of required upgrades is £10bn. There is, however, no plan to deliver this…
  • “Gatwick have not committed to contribute a single penny towards any cost, leaving commuters and taxpayers to foot any bill for work that would address the chronic lack of capacity that would result from Gatwick expansion…
  • “This summer has exposed once again the poor resilience of the Brighton Main Line and the impact on daily commuters and airport passengers. For many of our constituents, this summer of disruption is only a small sign of things to come should Gatwick be allowed to expand…
  • “An announcement of a second runway at Gatwick would be received with ridicule by the long-suffering Southern Rail commuters. It would pile impossible pressure on Southern Rail…”

Chairman of the GCG, Crispin Blunt commented:

“The Brighton Main Line is already operating over capacity and is one of the busiest and worst performing rail lines in the country. This summer’s misery on the railways highlights the vulnerability of the rail network to severe disruption and the need for new capacity to cope with rising commuter demand.

“The independent Airports Commission recognised the weakness of Gatwick’s surface transport links, in particular the single rail connection. Noticeably, Gatwick Airport has not committed a penny to any rail infrastructure upgrade costs.

“The last thing the Brighton Main Line and its users need is extra burden of an ill-conceived Gatwick expansion. Rail services would go into complete meltdown.”

 

Members of the GCG

The Members of Parliament on the group are now as follows:

•           Crispin Blunt MP – Member of Parliament for Reigate (Chairman)

•           Sir Paul Beresford MP – Member of Parliament for Mole Valley

•           Nusrat Ghani MP – Member of Parliament for Wealden

•           Rt Hon Nick Herbert CBE MP – Member of Parliament for Arundel & South Downs

•           Jeremy Quin MP – Member of Parliament for Horsham

•           Tom Tugendhat MBE MP – Member of Parliament for Tonbridge and Malling

•           Henry Smith MP – Member of Parliament for Crawley

•           Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames MP – Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex

Full text of the letter at the link below

Paul Maynard Impact of proposed second runway at Gatwick Airport on already deficient rail services 150916.pdf 3.98 MB
https://www.blunt4reigate.com/news/mps-warn-rail-minister-rail-chaos-if-gatwick-gets-expansion-go-ahead
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See earlier:

Gatwick groups and MPs hand in new report to Downing Street: “What about our air quality?”

Community groups and MPs have delivered a copy of a new report, “What about our air quality?” to 10 Downing Street. The report raises the fact that an expanded Gatwick could present worst air quality for a much wider area than Heathrow currently – due to the lack of sufficient transport infrastructure. Air quality targets close to Gatwick Airport have been broken despite the airport’s public denial. Data from Jacobs, for the Airports Commission, show breaches of NO2 levels already. It is inevitable they will be broken again, especially with a 2nd runway, because the rail infrastructure is already inadequate, and more passengers (and possibly freight in future) will mean additional road vehicles. The report contains a letter from 10 MPs who wrote to the Secretary for State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin on 18th March, demanding that Gatwick’s misleading advertising over air quality be stopped. Gatwick has often said words to the effect that  “Gatwick Airport has never and will never breach air quality limits” and instead its expansion campaign has been focused on the air pollution problems at Heathrow, ignoring their own. Gatwick is served by a rail line that is already near capacity, and it cannot be much improved due to physical restrictions. It could not handle not only more passengers, but also extra staff and traffic from more businesses.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/05/gatwick-groups-and-mps-hand-in-new-report-to-downing-street-what-about-our-air-quality/

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See also

Road and rail chaos, with congestion and over-crowding, predicted if new Gatwick runway built

A new research paper prepared by author and environmental expert Jeremy Early, on Surface access to Gatwick Airport predicts that a new runway at Gatwick would bring road and rail chaos. He points out that the existing road structure is nearly full, with serious delays occurring on many routes, especially on the M23 and A23 into London. Planned improvements will only be sufficient to deal with the forecast growth in traffic  – without a new runway. A new runway, operating at full capacity of 95 million passengers a year, would mean an a massive increase in road traffic movements each day.  It would probably reduce the M25 and M23 to a standstill – all day not just occasionally. On rail,  the report shows that  already between 2010 and 2014 rail journeys in the South-East increased more than 20%. The extra trains that Gatwick airport boasts of are in reality already just to cope with the expected increase in demand – with no new runway. With a new runway Gatwick predict a three-fold increase in the number of air passengers using Gatwick station. It could be standing room only, with no spare capacity on parts of the network.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/10/road-and-rail-chaos-with-congestion-and-over-crowding-predicted-if-new-gatwick-runway-built/

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Gatwick claims that with better public transport it will be “road & rail ready” for 2nd runway by 2021

Gatwick has produced a glossy document setting out how it will have fantastic road and rail links in place by 2021, that there will be no road or rail congestion, and everyone will have smoother and easier journeys. And at no cost to anyone. There are some stunning omissions.  Most things that are inconvenient are just left out. They say “Gatwick will increase the cost efficiency in the rail industry by filling off-peak trains as well as providing passengers for trains operating in the opposite direction to peak commuter services. While it is estimated that, on the busiest trains, only 5% of travellers will be air passengers, the overall benefit they will bring will be around £3 billion in additional fare income.”  Gatwick says: “Junction 9 of the M23 … will need to be upgraded to cater for expansion. Gatwick has committed to funding a doubling of this motorway junction capacity.” The only thing Gatwick has said it will pay for.  Also: “we have re-designed the local road network to be no busier than it is today, even after a general increase in demand, which will lessen local noise and air quality effects of background traffic, benefit economic activity and the quality of life of those using and living along the affected roads.”  Really?  Who writes this stuff?

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/06/gatwick-claims-that-with-better-public-transport-it-will-be-road-rail-ready-for-2nd-runway-by-2021/