Stansted Airport: ‘East Anglia rail franchise a chance to adopt a joined-up approach to tackling rail and aviation capacity issues’
- Credit: Archant
Stansted Airport is calling on the Government to use the new East Anglia rail franchise as an opportunity to adopt a joined-up approach to tackling rail and aviation capacity issues.
Working in partnership with the Stansted Airport Transport Forum, the airport has highlighted 12 key commitments that should be part of the new franchise, which will come into operation in October 2016.
In particular, the airport thinks the new rail operator should commit to:
• Working with Network Rail to reduce journey times between Stansted and London to 40 minutes by no later than 2019;
• Identifying creative solutions for running non-stop services to and from the airport during the early morning/late evening and accommodating an additional Stratford service to meet growing demand in east London;
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• Introducing an early morning service (03.40) from London Liverpool Street to Stansted seven days a week by 2017 and increasing the number of services to Cambridge and beyond;
• Exploring opportunities with Network Rail to extend operations to 24 hour, seven days a week; and
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• Rolling out contactless payment and smart card technology on the Stansted Express within two years of new franchise.
Stansted’s owners, Manchester Airports Group, say the airport has the ability to double its current throughput of 20 million passengers a year to serve over 40 million passengers and play an important role in meeting aviation demand in London and south-east over the next decade.
Improved rail connectivity on the West Anglia Mainline will be critical to enabling the airport to fulfill this potential, the airport says, by providing passengers with more choice of airlines and greater competition with other airports while at the same time helping support growth and regeneration along the London-Stansted-Cambridge economic corridor.
Andrew Harrison, Stansted’s managing director said: “The new franchise provides a timely and significant opportunity for Government to bring together improvements to rail services and rail infrastructure in a way that will be hugely beneficial for passengers, and enable Stansted to play its full part in meeting the UK’s capacity needs.
“In tendering the new franchise, it is important that the Department for Transport recognises the urgent need for improvements in rail connectivity to Stansted.
“The new franchise will enable the Department to deliver improved rail infrastructure and improved train services in parallel, providing the maximum benefit for airport users and commuters alike.”
He added: “As the Airports Commission has recognised, Stansted has a big part to play in meeting the UK’s future capacity needs.
“Because of this, the franchise process should provide strong and clear incentives to bidders to focus on meeting the needs of airport passengers, with a particular emphasis on delivering fast, frequent and reliable rail services that provide value for money and a great door to door passenger experience.
“We look forward to working closely with interested bidders to develop innovative proposals for delivering a step change in the quality of rail services to and from Stansted and the wider region.”
Full details of Stansted’s submission can be found at East Anglia rail franchise consultation.