Stansted passengers get major rail boost

THIRTY new trains are to be added to the Stansted Express rail service in a bid to reduce commuter overcrowding, the government announced today. Regional train operator National Express East Anglia (NXEA) and the Department for Transport (DfT) have struck

THIRTY new trains are to be added to the Stansted Express rail service in a bid to reduce commuter overcrowding, the government announced today.

Regional train operator National Express East Anglia (NXEA) and the Department for Transport (DfT) have struck a deal to give a major boost to the rail capacity on services to and from London Liverpool Street.

As part of a �155m contract Derby-based train manufacturer, Bombardier, will build 120 new rail carriages.

Together with 68 additional modern and refurbished carriages transferred from elsewhere, a total of 188 carriages will be added to East Anglia services - a 17 per cent increase.

Most of the new carriages will be used to provide longer trains on the Stansted Express service, which links London with Stansted Airport.

The fleet currently operating on that route - together with the ex-Midland Mainline stock - will be reallocated to provide longer trains elsewhere in the region.

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NXEA plans to begin the introduction of some additional carriages in December and, once all improvements are in place by December 2011, around 11,000 extra seats will be provided into Liverpool Street in the three-hour morning peak period.

The additional trains will also help provide extra capacity for the London Olympics at Stratford in 2012.

Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon said: "This is one of the biggest changes to have been negotiated to an existing franchise since rail privatisation with the operator National Express East Anglia playing a key role in developing these plans, which are a mark of our continued commitment to invest in long term projects to improve the railways.

"This will be of major benefit to passengers in terms of reducing over-crowding, while Bombardier's success will help safeguard UK manufacturing jobs and the expansion of the fleet will create welcomed job opportunities with NXEA."

National Express group chief executive, Richard Bowker, added: "National Express is delighted to work in partnership with the Department for Transport and welcomes the department's �155 million investment in new trains and improvements to seating capacity on our East Anglia network.

"The introduction of these 188 extra carriages will provide our customers across East Anglia with a significantly improved quality of service and demonstrates our commitment to high standards of customer service."

Network Rail is committed to undertaking a programme of platform lengthening and other infrastructure works to enable the plan to be implemented, whilst Stansted Airport Ltd will fund the lengthening of the platform at Stansted Airport station.

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