Southend Airport rail station to open by end of 2009

5.2.2009   (Southend Echo)

A NEW railway station linking Southend Airport with London could be operational
by the end of the year.

Discussions have been taking place between Network Rail, National Express and
the Department for Transport over building the station.

Yesterday officials, who were joined by Andrew Tinkler, chief executive of the
Stobart Group which bought the airport for £21million, said the station could
be up and running in time for the winter rail timetable.   They also spoke of proposals
to extend the runway so more passenger flights could use the airport.

Mr Tinkler, who was touring the airport for the first time, said: "The development
of the airport is so key to the area and what it could fetch into the economy.

"We feel it is something waiting to happen and the railway station is one of
the key things which needs to happen.

"The railway station wouldn’t be used for rail freight. It will be about getting
passengers from the airport to London.

"The station and a longer runway with more passengers will come to fruition and
we have the funds in place to deliver that."

Stobart, best known for its fleet of lorries, bought the lease on the airport
in December and has been in discussions about the station project.

Negotiations with a firm to build and run a new a hotel are also said to be in
their final stages, while plans are progressing for the new control tower and
passenger terminal.

Stobart has also announced plans to build a specialist route centre to guide
the firm’s trucks.

Thousands of jobs are expected to be created by the developments.

Mr Tinkler toured the airport yesterday with its managing director Alastair Welch
and Rochford and Southend councillors.

He added the airport was still looking at options for Eastwoodbury Lane, which
runs across the end of the runway, and might have to be diverted if the runway
was extended.

Mr Welch said: "We want all this open in time for the Olympics in 2012."



see also

Work to start on final stage of Carlisle to London air link

By Matthew Legg

06 February 2009     Business Gazette

The next step in a plan to link Carlisle to London and Europe by air looks set
to start within months.

 Alistair Welch, of Southend airportThe Stobart Group is to start work on a railway
station at Southend Airport, making it possible to travel from Carlisle Airport
to London’s Liverpool Street in under 90 minutes, via Southend, on a high-speed
rail link. [!! sic !!]

Flights could also board at Southend to destinations in Spain and southern France.

Stobart owns both airports and it is hoped flights between the two could start
next year.

Cumbrian business chiefs have long placed a working airport at the top of their
list of priorities for the economic regeneration of the county.

Engineers from Stobart Rail have been at Southend in the last week investigating
the best ways to go ahead. The firm acquired the airport lease in November and
plans to carry out rail infrastructure work as soon as possible.

Southend Airport managing director Alastair Welch said: "We are in the final
stages of working out the full details on the railway station proposals.

"I’m hopeful we will be able to make an official announcement on the subject
within the next couple of weeks.

"Obviously, there needs to be a great deal of discussion in a development like
this, including discussions with Network Rail and the train operator National
Express East Anglia.

"When everything is worked out and we are clear when work will start and know
the projected opening time, we will be making a formal announcement."

The new Southend railway station and terminal building are part of the long-term
expansion of the airport, which it is estimated will cost £35million. It is hoped
there will be more passenger flights, both internal and abroad, together with
a possible extension to the runway.

The £25m plan to redevelop Carlisle Airport will safeguard 565 jobs and create
100 more, Stobart claims.


Carlisle City Council gave planning permission in December to allow Eddie Stobart
and Stobart Rail to move their operations at Kingstown to the Crosby-on-Eden airfield

Airport owner Andrew Tinkler will sign a binding agreement to upgrade the runway
and passenger terminal, raising hopes that passenger flights will start next year.

But objectors have vowed to fight on and may apply for a judicial review.

There had been fears that if the plan was turned down, the haulage group would
move its headquarters to Cheshire.

Earlier proposals from Mr Tinkler’s company, Stobart Air, were passed by the
council in April only for him to drop them when Communities Secretary Hazel Blears
called a public inquiry.

This time, planning officers said, the scheme was not a "departure" from the
local plan and therefore there was no need for a public inquiry.

But they have insisted that Stobart Air signs a binding agreement that will include:

– Resurfacing the runway and provide a passenger terminal;

– Replacing 27 acres of wildlife habitat;

– Taking steps to reduce noise from lorry movements;

– Providing a bus service to discourage car use.

The scheme is for a 387,500sq ft warehouse for road haulier Eddie Stobart, a
four-storey office block shared by Eddie Stobart and Stobart Rail, a chilled dock,
gatehouse, canteen and parking for 339 cars, 46 lorry cabs and 96 trailers.

The council received 661 letters and emails in support and 103 against.