Upgrade rail

PUBLISHED: 15:02 22 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:59 31 May 2010

ONCE again, BAA s response to the disclosure of factual information which it finds uncomfortable is to shoot the messenger, in this case SSE. ( Passengers pass on the train; Railway use drops by 500,000 , Reporter and Broadcast, 16 November.) It is of cou

ONCE again, BAA's response to the disclosure of factual information which it finds uncomfortable is to shoot the messenger, in this case SSE.

('Passengers pass on the train; Railway use drops by 500,000', Reporter and Broadcast, 16 November.)

It is of course an old politician's trick to deal with the revelation of embarrassing facts by simply attacking your opponent.

SSE fully accepts the value of bus and coach services in augmenting public transport access to Stansted Airport and we included the bus and coach statistics - as well as the car and rail statistics - in the figures we published last week.

In examining the pressure on our roads, however, it is important to recognise (the perhaps obvious point) that buses and coaches have an impact on road congestion whereas trains do not.

But even leaving aside this impact, there was a 500,000 decline in the number of Stansted passengers using the train last year compared to an extra 700,000 passengers travelling to/from the airport by car.

BAA avoids answering these factual points and instead suggests that a £2.5m investment in a new bus and coach station is proof of its commitment to public transport.

It is not. What is needed is investment by BAA of several hundred million pounds in upgrading rail access to its airport including a second tunnel and multi-racking of bottlenecks to increase the hourly train capacity and reliability, particularly on services to Liverpool Street.

The airport is handling 23 million passengers a year compared to less than 4 million just ten years ago. It will take more than a shoestring budget to deal with the backlog of infrastructure investment that should have been made to keep pace with this.

Brian Ross, Economics Adviser to Stop Stansted Expansion


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