Boris wants Network Rail to work on improved rail link between London and Stansted

Boris Johnson has told Network Rail that it should fast-track upgrades of the rail line between London and Stansted and Cambridge, which he says are of national importance. In autumn 2014 Network Rail put forward a 30-year plan for the rail links in the East Anglian region, but an upgrade of the line to Stansted was not included. It was just mentioned as part of a wish list out to beyond 2040. Part of the investigation by the Airports Commission has been looking at how current airport capacity could be used better, including improvement of rail links – and the Stansted line was included. Sir Howard Davies has said Network Rail’s plans for the track to Stansted were not ambitious enough. Boris wants a four-track solution, to get fast trains between London and Stansted taking just over 20 minutes, which is under half the present journey time. Boris says the 4-track line would be of national importance, and a precursor to Crossrail 2, which is planned to run underground from south west to north east of London, and be built by 2030. Boris says good rail lines from north east London need to be in place before Crossrail 2 is finished. He wants the preparatory works for the Stansted line to be in Network Rail’s present 5-year plan up to 2019.



Boris backs improved Stansted rail links

By Phil Davies  (Travel Weekly)
16 February 2015
The Network Rail consultation – the Anglian Route study started on 5th November and ended on 3rd February
London mayor Boris Johnson has added his weight behind calls for improved rail links between the capital and Stansted.Upgrading the line carrying the Stansted Express train service was not among priorities put forward by Network Rail in a 30-year regional plan last autumn, mentioned only on a wish-list out to beyond 2040..
Airports Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies criticised Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne for having ignored the commission’s findings that rail links to Stansted must be improved as a priority.

Johnson is also backing a four-track solution, which could allow fast trains between the City and Stansted to run at  around 20 minutes, less than half the current journey time.

“There is a strong nationally important case to be made for four-tracking … as a precursor to Crossrail 2,” the mayor wrote in a letter to Carne that has been seen by The Times, in which he added that he was “disappointed that it has not been fully assessed”.

“Massively improving journey times and reliability between London Stansted and Cambridge [will] support the government’s aspiration for Cambridge to become an economic powerhouse, part of improving the links between the ‘golden triangle’ of London, Cambridge and Oxford and improving surface links to Stansted,” he wrote.

A spokesman for Stansted owner Manchester Airports Group told the newspaper: “Unlike other London airports, Stansted has spare runway capacity today and significant room to grow in the future.

“It is vital that faster rail services are delivered between London and Stansted to ensure that this potential is utilised, and it is encouraging that the mayor recognises this.

“We have identified a clear solution for speeding up train services to Stansted. It is now time to get on and deliver these improvements.”

Network Rail said it would consider all the responses to its present consultation.



The Airports Commission’s Interim report (December 2013)

Appendix 1: Assessment of Short- and Medium-Term Options

The Commission said:
Surface Transport options:
63. Improvements to existing road and rail networks to improve access to Stansted:
A range of proposals were submitted, including:
● West Anglia main line improvements including 4 tracking in Lea Valley to allow for an increase in services and to achieve maximum 30 minute rail travel time to Stansted from central London
● Reinstate rail link to Braintree to connect Stansted to the Great Eastern main line(and services on that line north or south to Felixstowe, Harwich and Thames Ports)
● Route improvements on the A120/M11 and West Anglian railway line if there is expansion beyond current permitted levels
● Direct rail services between Stansted and other London and South East airports
● Monitor congestion levels around Stansted
The Commission’s view:
The Commission is recommending a study into enhancing the rail line between London and Stansted as part of its Interim Report. It is also recommending that congestion levels on roads around Stansted be kept under review.
64 Take Crossrail/Crossrail 2 to Stansted:
Surface Transport options
This measure is seeking to modify the existing Crossrail scheme or the proposed Crossrail 2 scheme so that it serves Stansted Airport.
The Commission’s view:
Crossrail is at a relatively late stage of delivery. The Commission does not, therefore, believe it is practical to fundamentally alter the nature of the service at this stage by extending it to Stansted. Extension of Crossrail 2 to Stansted is likely to involve costs that could only be justified alongside Stansted expansion.

Times article

Boris raps Network Rail for failing to boost Stansted line