Rail investment welcomed by county council and Stansted Airport

A PLEDGE to invest �2.2bn in the region’s rail network has been welcomed by the county council and the area’s major airport.

Essex County Council’s Derrick Louis, cabinet member for Highways and Transportation, said the money acknowledged the need for an improved rail infrastructure for commuters, business and the economy in this region but questioned whether it went far enough.

“ECC has long argued the importance of the rail route in this region and the need for investment and welcome Network Rail’s additional investment to support economic growth and the increasing population in the County.

“Essex is planning significant growth over the next few years, which will place increased pressure on our rail network, estimating that the number of passengers on the Great Eastern mainline could increase by up to 49% by 2031.

“We hope that the planned schemes and infrastructure improvements will increase the capacity and reliability of the rail service in our region, providing significant improvements to the infrastructure and rolling stock.

“While the proposed �2.2bn investment set out by Network Rail will cater for growth in the coming years, we believe that further investment will be needed for new railway infrastructure in the long-term, and we will continue to press for this.”

The announcement has also been welcomed by Stansted Airport.

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A spokesperson said: “We welcome Network Rail’s commitment to explore journey time and reliability improvements on the line between London and Stansted Airport.

“Plans for a third track on parts of the line to Stansted Airport and the commission of a speed study are the first steps towards reducing journey times to the airport.

“We look forward to working with Network Rail, Greater Anglia and others to ensure the ‘Stansted in 30’ rail campaign becomes a reality. With the support of many politicians, business groups and businesses, airlines and the local community, we are pleased our voices are being heard.”