Stansted rail approach should be ‘balanced’, say campaign group

Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport - Credit: Archant

THE interests of rail commuters must not be overridden by those of Stansted Airport, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has told the Secretary of State for Transport.

The call comes following pressure from Stansted owners Manchester Airports Group (MAG) for reduced rail journey times between the airport and central London.

MAG wants to see a 30 minute journey time compared to the present average of 47 minutes to and from Liverpool Street.

Writing to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, SSE chairman Peter Sanders said: “We fully agree that there is a pressing need for improved capacity and reliability on the West Anglia Main Line but to reduce the journey time from Stansted Airport to central London by 17 minutes is, in our view, asking for more than can realistically be achieved with the present service pattern.

“Moreover, MAG is suggesting that this can be achieved in the short to medium term. Our concern is that MAG may be seeking to resurrect an old BAA proposal for the Stansted Express to travel non-stop to and from London, cutting out all the intermediary stops.”

Mr Sanders added: “If MAG wants to invest in a dedicated rail line to serve the airport then all well and good but, if it wants to continue sharing the West Anglia Main Line with local users, there needs to be a balanced approach.

“The airport mustn’t be the cuckoo in the nest at the expense of other users of the rail service.”