'Give commuters Olympic trains', Uttlesford MP tells Network Rail
A PLAN to install new trains on the Stansted Express line in time for the 2012 London Olympics has been met with fierce criticism from Uttlesford MP Sir Alan Haselhurst. The trains, which are due to arrive in 2011, will be longer and far more modern than
A PLAN to install new trains on the Stansted Express line in time for the 2012 London Olympics has been met with fierce criticism from Uttlesford MP Sir Alan Haselhurst.
The trains, which are due to arrive in 2011, will be longer and far more modern than current day offerings and are being touted as setting the "best impressions" on visiting sports fans and athletes.
However Sir Alan, who has said he will continue to fight for the same new services on the East Anglia rail line running from Cambridge to London Liverpool Street, has highlighted the need to look beyond 2012 and provide the best deal for Uttlesford commuters.
He said: "It is all very well looking to the Olympics, but what about the Audley End commuter who pays around �3600 for a standard season ticket? They deserve to be treated better than athletes who will be using the Stansted service just a few times.
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"After the Olympics it will be just the same users travelling on the Stansted route as before and I doubt that people who fly on Ryanair and Easyjet care too much about having modern and spacious trains."
Last week, trains and the London Olympics formed the main themes at the 10th Stansted Airport Transport forum. It was at that meeting that the new trains were discussed and Stansted Airport is now considered as favourite to get them because it is expected to handle the majority of Olympic air traffic.
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Stansted's new managing director and chair of the forum, David Johnston, said: "I am delighted that the new rolling stock earmarked for the Stansted Express remains on track for delivery by the end of 2011. This is fantastic news for both the airport and local the community.
"The arrival of the new trains will help ensure every visitor, athlete and official has the best 'first and last' impression of both Stansted and the UK when attending the 2012 Olympics."
Stansted is currently in pole position in the UK for the amount of people choosing to use the train, bus or coach to or from the airport - at 47 per cent.
And despite National Express being stripped of its rail franchise, including the Stansted Express, before March 2011, the new trains will still arrive because they are owned and provided by the company which will make them. The only dispute is what colour and design they will arrive in.
Sir Alan added: "I will be intrigued to see who is going to actually pay for these new trains with the franchise ending and I hope that new trains can be found for both lines.
"I will continue to lobby the government over this matter and find the best deal possible for commuters in Uttlesford. I only hope that the new Stansted Express trains do not arrive in one colour and then have to be taken away for an expensive re-spray.