Balaced approach needed on Stansted rail services – not a non-stop line excluding local commuter use

Stansted Airport, now owned by MAG, has been lobbying for better rail links from London.  It has said this in its submission to the Airports Commission on making better use of airport capacity in the south east. The airport wants faster rail journeys to the airport (30 minutes down from current 47 minutes), and needs to able to show that a high proportion (40% in its interim master plan) arrive by public transport. It wants these better rail links to be paid for by the public purse. Stop Stansted Expansion say that the faster rail journeys between London and Stansted would be achieved by non-stop trains leaving out intermediate stops (Bishop’s Stortford or Harlow Town). This current stopping trains provides a vitally important service for local commuters. SSE has written to the Secretary of State for Transport saying unless Stansted Airport wants to build a dedicated rail line to serve the airport then all well and good but, if it wants to continue sharing the West Anglia Main Line with local users, there needs to be a balanced approach. In reality the number of passengers travelling by train to/from Stansted Airport has fallen by a third in recent years, from 5.5 million 2007/08 to 3.7 million in 2011/12, despite the introduction of a brand new fleet of trains in 2011.



Balaced approach needed on Stansted rail services

23.5.2013 (Stop Stansted Expansion)

The interests of local rail commuters must not be over-ridden by the interests of StanstedAirport, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has told the Secretary of State for Transport.

The call comes following pressure from Stansted owners Manchester Airports Group (MAG) for reduced rail journey times between the airport and central London. MAG wants to see a 30 minute journey time compared to the present average of 47 minutes to/from Liverpool Street.

Writing to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, SSE Chairman Peter Sanders said: “We fully agree that there is a pressing need for improved capacity and reliability on the West Anglia Main Line but to reduce the journey time from Stansted Airport to central London by 17 minutes is, in our view, asking for more than can realistically be achieved with the present service pattern. Moreover, MAG is suggesting that this can be achieved in the short to medium term. Our concern is that MAG may be seeking to resurrect an old BAA proposal for the Stansted Express to travel non-stop to and from London, cutting out all the intermediary stops.”

Stansted Express trains currently stop at either Bishop’s Stortford or HarlowTown and some also stop at either Sawbridgeworth or Stansted Mountfitchet, mainly during the morning and evening rush hours, providing a vitally important service for local commuters.

Mr Sanders concluded: “If MAG wants to invest in a dedicated rail line to serve the airport then all well and good but, if it wants to continue sharing the West Anglia Main Line with local users, there needs to be a balanced approach. The airport mustn’t be the cuckoo in the nest at the expense of other users of the rail service.”



· The number of passengers travelling by train to/from Stansted Airport has fallen by a third in recent years, from 5.5 million 2007/08 to 3.7 million in 2011/12, despite the introduction of a brand new fleet of trains in 2011.

· Stansted Airport believes that reducing the journey time to London Liverpool Street to 30 minutes could help attract an extra 1.4 million passengers a year to use the airport, i.e. an increase of 8 per cent on its present throughput of 17.5 million passengers per annum.

· A copy of SSE’s letter to the Secretary of State for Transport is available on request.

·      SSE Campaign Office, T 01279 870558;



Stansted boss calls on Government to help airport expand with faster rail link


20.5.2013 (Herts and Essex Observer)

STANSTED’S new owner has called for faster train links to the airport to help the Uttlesford hub double its traffic and help solve the south east’s aviation capacity crisis.Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has submitted its response to the Airports Commission on proposals to make the best use of existing reserves in the next 10 to 15 years – the period before any new runways can be built.
Chief executive Charlie Cornish said: “The Airports Commission’s interim report provides an opportunity for the UK to make a firm statement about the future of economic growth in the country. We have watched other countries develop their aviation infrastructure for the benefit of their economies and we have the opportunity to do the same.”
MAG also runs bases at Manchester, Bournemouth and East Midland and he continued:
“With new runway capacity unlikely to be available for at least 10 to 15 years, it is critical that airports and Government do everything possible to make the best use of capacity that already exists. MAG airports have a big role to play in providing improved connectivity for the whole of the UK, and our submission outlines the steps the Government needs to take to help achieve this goal.”
Stansted has planning permission for 35m passengers a year on its existing runway, but it currently attracting less than half that total.
Managing director Andrew Harrison said: “Stansted has substantial spare capacity across the day, which gives us the potential over the next 10 to 15 years to grow and compete strongly to win traffic from other airports. This will provide much needed breathing space in the London system, improving UK connectivity and delivering significant economic benefits.”
.“Key to unlocking this potential is improving surface rail access to Stansted, critically making rail journey times competitive with other main London airports.”A 30 minute journey time would not only put Stansted on an equal footing but we also encourage significantly more passengers to choose Stansted over other London airports, helping relieve pressure on busier airports and making best use of existing capacity.”Greg Clark, chairman of the London Stansted Corridor Consortium, agreed: “The London-Stansted-Cambridge Corridor links the world’s leading university and the world’s leading city with an airport that has the planning and infrastructure in place to double in size.

“As such Stansted Airport offers huge potential to be a key driver for the UK’s high-tech knowledge economy. With significant space and permission to grow now, unlike other London airports, Stansted has a pivotal role to play in the national aviation debate as well as helping to foster economic growth in Corridor and serving to attract much needed connectivity to the US and Middle East for the thriving business clusters in Cambridge, Tech-City, Stratford and Harlow.

“We recommend in the short term that Sir Howard Davies and the Government listen to our calls for better rail links to the airport. The commission needs to push for the incentives and deregulation at Stansted to attract new long haul airlines so that it can reach its full potential and become a major driver for our economy.”

Other measures called for by MAG include: reforming Air Passenger Duty (APD); exploring reforms that would make more effective use of scarce capacity at Heathrow and improve the allocation of demand around the London system; promoting de-regulation as a way to strengthen competition between the London airports and encourage investment; and further liberalising bilateral policy to open up capacity to overseas airlines.

The Best Use Submission was also submitted alongside MAG’s response on climate change to the Airports Commission.  [There is a MAG press release about  the submission of these documents, but they have not been publicised. All such submissions should eventually be on the Airports Commission website. The AC said at the end of 2012 that all submissions would be publicised, but so far (May 2013) nothing has been put onto their website. Which is disappointing, as well as unhelpful to openness].






Stansted launches manifesto calling for better and faster rail links

23 November 2012 (Stansted Airport press release)

Stansted Airport has today (Nov 23) launched its rail vision which outlines that new faster and reliable rail links could help attract at least an extra 1.4 million passengers a year to use the airport.

The vision was unveiled to 150 top transport leaders, local authorities, airport representatives and key stakeholders attending Stansted’s annual Transport Forum at the Radisson Blu Hotel. The vision’s goals include:

• A 30 minutes rail journey time from London to the airport – “Stansted in 30”
• Extending Crossrail to Stansted
• Long term vision for Stansted to be the best connected air-rail hub in the UK
• Improvements to services for our passengers and the local community

In his speech to delegates, Managing Director, Nick Barton, said:

“We have the spare capacity and infrastructure in place to support 35 million passengers a year and with faster rail links we can attract the airlines whose passengers value quick and reliable links to London. That’s why we launched our new rail campaign – Stansted in 30 – to persuade Government and the rail industry to commit to reducing journey times from London to Stansted to around 30 minutes.

“Stansted is proud to be the leading major UK airport for public transport use, with now 50% of passengers using train, bus and coach to travel to and from Stansted. But we want to build on this success, so that is why we also want to see more frequent trains to Cambridge, East Anglia and beyond opening up the airport to new communities. We believe there is a strong case to link the airport to high speed rail and support the proposals to extend Crossrail to Stansted.

“The East of England has suffered for too long from the effects of under-investment in the rail network and these improvements would have a significant impact on the local economy, jobs and long term growth. Our vision is for Stansted to be the best connected air-rail hub in the UK, delivering fast, frequent and more reliable services for our passengers and the local community. The case is clear for investing in the railway to Stansted.”

Ruud Haket, Managing Director of Greater Anglia, speaking at the event also called for improvements to the rail access to Stansted. He said:

“At Greater Anglia, we are committed to working with regional stakeholders to help secure greater investment in rail services on the West Anglia route to Stansted Airport.  Passengers are already seeing the benefits of high quality new trains on airport services, but to achieve future aspirations such as quicker journey times, more capacity on the route and more late night and early morning trains, will require significant investment in additional infrastructure.

“We have already worked to raise the profile of future regional rail developments by playing a pivotal role in the creation of the Rail Prospectus for East Anglia and the stakeholder alliance to promote the schemes it proposes. It is clear that a coordinated, sustained approach, clearly evidencing the regional, economic and business benefits of rail service upgrades, will give us the best chance of gaining the funding needed to achieve some of the enhancements sought by both air travellers and daily commuters.

“We look forward to working with Stansted Airport, Network Rail and other stakeholders to further improve rail services to the airport in the years to come.”




Stansted Airport’s  review of its Airport Surface Access Strategy in 2010

page 4  –

% of passengers

Proportion of Stansted passengers on public transport

and there is more information at ACAS Review Summary

There is also information on how their staff travel to work, and this shows that in 2009 over 71% travel by private car and around  5.7% by rail.

The report says:   London Stansted carries out travel to work surveys for airport employees every two years. The latest survey, carried out in 2009, indicated that there were 10,859 employees on airport working in 199 companies.

The airport’s employment strategy from 2010 to 2015 is at




Stansted Airport’s Interim Master Plan  at

states that Stansted would have 37% of its non-transfer passengers arriving by public transport by 2010, rising to 40% later.

Stansted said that in 2005, 39% of non transfer passengers were using public transport, with:

48% by private car

4% by hire car

9% by taxi

14% by bus or coach

25% by rail.