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AAIF19

EVENTS: The third Airport Access Ideas Forum took place in London on 17 July hosted by the Global AirRail Alliance and Arcadis UK. The interactive discussion events looked at the use of data to improve passenger experience, create seamless door-to-door airport access and to better understand the movements of passengers to and from airports.

Speakers and attendees all worked on visualising the door-to-door passenger journey, marking the points where data is requested by the passenger or the operator, to identify where the industry can work together to address each individual and overall challenges.

As always, the goal of the Forum is to produce an Industry Recommendation Report, which will reflect the discussions and the case studies presented and will be released in the early autumn. You can read the previous reports here: https://www.globalairrail.com/about-us/publications

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UK: Gatwick has published its final master plan and a report on its 12-week public consultation, which concluded earlier this year. This consultation showed strong support for airport development with two thirds of respondents saying they support Gatwick ‘making best use of its existing runways’ in line with Government policy.

The final master plan sets out how Gatwick could develop to meet demand in the most sustainable way over the next 15 years, highlighting that the airport is no longer actively pursuing plans for an additional runway.

On commitments to surface access, Gatwick continues improvement works on its railway station. Gatwick’s railway station, on the main line between London and Brighton, is one of the busiest in the country, and has been struggling to cope with rising numbers of trains and passengers. Despite the rail links available from the station, the passenger experience and first impression of onward travel for arriving passengers could be significantly improved. Gatwick is working with Network Rail, the owners of the station, to develop plans to expand and improve the concourse areas. This will add more vertical circulation to the busiest platforms to facilitate platform clearance and provide new enhanced pedestrian routes. The proposed scheme will be jointly funded by the airport, Network Rail and DfT, costing around £120m, and is due for completion by 2022/23.

The full Master Plan can be downloaded here: https://www.gatwickairport.com/masterplan

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Heathrow Rail Advert1

UK: JCDecaux Airport, in partnership with Heathrow, have completely redeveloped the Heathrow Rail advertising portfolio. The investment has funded a predominantly digital offering, presenting advertisers with the opportunity to showcase their brands on a range of state-of-the-art digital screens, reaching the entirety of the highly desirable Heathrow Rail audience. 

Heathrow Rail provides a key touchpoint for passengers arriving into and departing from all Heathrow terminals. 6.3 million passengers travel annually on the Heathrow Express, the non-stop rail service connecting London Paddington and Heathrow Central in 15 minutes. The number of people passing through this area is set to increase significantly with the imminent opening of the Elizabeth Line in 2020. This will contribute to Heathrow’s Sustainable Transport Plan which underlines their commitment to promoting public transport for passengers and colleagues.

New additions to the portfolio include a network of 58 LCD digital screens strategically located throughout all stages of the passenger journey, the T5 Beacons - stand out branding opportunities and the immersive Heathrow Rail Walkway Motion consisting of 14 digital screens and the capability for a full surrounding wall wrap. 

A major benefit of this new proposition is the audience it engages. Heathrow Rail is the UK’s most business-focused Out-of-Home environment. More than two-thirds of its audience are AB, a considerably larger proportion than that of Bloomberg and CNBC. Likewise, compared to financial press readers, Heathrow Express has the highest percentage of audience who are C-suite executives in large companies. Half of all Heathrow Express passengers are flying for business purposes, and business travellers who use the Heathrow Express take an average of 5 or more trips a year on the service.
  
“We have worked closely with JCDecaux throughout the redevelopment of the Heathrow Rail advertising portfolio, and we are delighted to see this premium opportunity go live. Heathrow is a sought-after environment for advertisers, and we hope this redevelopment expands the offering for brands to communicate with our passengers.”Fraser Brown, Retail Director at Heathrow.

Heathrow Rail Advert2

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USA: The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has signed a 10-year agreement with its airline partners that will give the Airport Authority the ability to contribute over a half-billion dollars to help alleviate traffic congestion and make it easier for everyone to access San Diego International Airport.

The Airport Authority is currently working with its regional partners, including SANDAG, the City of San Diego, Port of San Diego, the Military, MTS, Caltrans and NCTD on potential transportation and transit connection improvements to the airport. The agreement with the airlines will help provide key funding for those projects, if approved.

“This agreement ensures that the Airport Authority will have the means to effectively partner with other regional agencies to improve access to the airport through transportation and transit projects,” said April Boling, Airport Authority Board Chairman. “It also supports the Airport Development Plan, which envisions the replacement of Terminal 1 and related improvements.”

While the specific improvements are being studied and not yet approved, the agreement ensures there will be substantial funding for those improvements should the Airport Authority and partner agencies decide to go forward with them.

The contribution of over a half-billion dollars includes:

  • $350 million for on- and potential off-airport public transportation projects in conjunction with regional partner agencies. The agreement allows the Airport Authority to contribute up to this amount when third-parties (such as regional partner agencies) contribute funds for off-airport transportation and transit projects.
  • This funding could also help pay for a new transit station on airport property that could connect to the regional system. Space for a station is included in the current Airport Development Plan.
  • An additional $165 million – funded 100 percent by the Airport Authority and the Airlines - could be used for multimodal mobility corridor improvements also contemplated in the Airport Development Plan and, if approved, might include an inbound, on-airport access roadway adjacent to Harbor Drive and a bicycle path.
  • If approved, the roadway would connect Laurel Street directly to the airport, with no traffic lights. This would remove an estimated 45,000 cars per day from Harbor Drive. It also includes a right-of-way for future outbound lanes.
  • Additionally, the multimodal mobility corridor improvements could free up space on Harbor Drive for potential Rapid Bus or light rail transit opportunities that could serve not only the airport, but also Harbor Island redevelopment projects being considered by the Port of San Diego.

“The airport and the airlines provide significant economic impact for the region, and this is just the latest example of that commitment,” said Kim Becker, Airport Authority President and CEO. “I sincerely appreciate the airlines’ willingness to participate in this agreement and pre-approve a significant investment in transportation and transit infrastructure.”

The Airport Development Plan includes projects that provide better connections for transit users, bicyclists and pedestrians, including:

  • New all-electric shuttle service to and from the Old Town Transit Center
  • Upgraded transit amenities at the new Terminal 1 curbfront, such as bus shelters, info kiosks, and electronic next-arrival signs
  • A new multi-use walking and biking path along North Harbor Drive

As with all off-airport projects, the Airport Authority will seek FAA approval for possible off-airport transportation and transit projects, similar to previous and current off-airport projects undertaken by the Airport Authority to improve Harbor Drive and Sassafras Street.

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STEX summer offer 3 edited

UK: School summer holidays are often an opportunity for travel companies to put prices up - but Stansted Express has bucked the trend and introduced a special summer-only offer cutting fares by up to 60%.

The dedicated express rail services between central London and Stansted Airport, Stansted Express has brought in a new Family Offer Ticket which is available until the end of September.

The great value ticket, introduced in time for the great summer getaway, means that one adult and up to three children can travel from London to Stansted Airport for just £29.90 return – a saving of up to £44.85 on Standard Class Return.

For two adults and up to three children, the price is barely more than £10 per person at £52 return – a saving of up to £52.65 compared to the price of a Standard Class Return.

These special offer fares are available until Monday 30 September for journeys starting from London Liverpool Street, Stratford or Tottenham Hale to Stansted Airport.

The offer is available online only – from www.stanstedexpress.com – and families must travel together on the train.

David Metherell, Head of Commercial Development at Stansted Express said: “We know how costs mount up when going away with your family, especially in the school summer holidays.

“But we’re pleased to be making travel in the summer much cheaper for families – and travelling by train to the airport is so much easier than taking the car. You don’t have to risk the traffic, find a parking space, and then make your way to the terminal.

“Our Stansted Airport rail station is right underneath the airport terminal and just a few minutes’ walk from the entrance.

“We’re offering people the best start to their holidays.”

Stansted Express is the fastest way to travel between London and Stansted Airport, taking just 47 minutes. Trains depart every 15 minutes on weekdays.

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UK: The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced a £150 million scheme to upgrade the railway station at Gatwick Airport, which will reduce train delays caused by platform overcrowding and congestion, while also improving passenger experience by providing easier connections to other destinations.

Planned upgrades will include doubling the size of the station concourse, adding 5 new lifts and 8 escalators to improve passenger flow, and widening 2 platforms to reduce overcrowding.

"With 46 million people now using Gatwick Airport every year and 20 million coming by train, it is vital that we make the station more accessible and customer friendly for those travelling through it. The UK’s second largest airport has direct rail links to more than 120 destinations and is an important public transport hub," Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said.

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport commented that the redesigned train station will provide a seamless transition between the airport and the station.

"The new station will complement the huge improvements to rail services at the airport, which include new fleets of Gatwick Express and Thameslink trains and services that now leave the airport for London every 3 minutes – as frequently as services on the tube," Stewart Wingate said.

The number of people using Gatwick Airport station each year has grown by 6 million since 2010. Currently the station is not designed for the high volume of daily passengers, often carrying bulky luggage.

The renovation will be managed by Network Rail, in partnership with DfT. Gatwick Airport Ltd and Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership are co-funding the project with £37 million and £10 million respectively.

Paul Harwood, Director of Investment for Network Rail, said:

"The transformational enhancement to Gatwick Airport station will provide passengers with a much smoother and more pleasant experience and also reduce train delays.

Along with the recent improvements on the Brighton Main Line and our record £4.3 billion funding settlement for maintaining, operating and renewing the railway over the next five years, this investment is excellent news for passengers, businesses and the economy."

Patrick Verwer, Chief Executive Officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, said:

"This much-needed scheme will deliver real benefits for passengers thanks to enhanced platforms, new lifts and a larger concourse. At such a busy station these upgraded facilities will significantly contribute to the smooth running of our services for travellers getting to and from the airport."

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive at Coast to Capital said:

"If our economy is to grow, we need a transport network that supports faster, more reliable, and less polluting journeys for business, leisure and freight travel. Gatwick airport is an international destination and its station is a gateway to London and the wider Coast to Capital area.

This plan will greatly improve the interchange for commuters, visitors and business which will support the sustainable growth of the area with Gatwick airport at its heart.

We are delighted to have contributed £10 million and look forward to working with partners to deliver a better experience for passengers."

The improvement works will start in spring 2020 and will take around 2 years to complete. The works will be sequenced to ensure minimum disruption.

 

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Melbourne Airport Rail Link

AUSTRALIA: The Victorian Government has given the green light to progress the detailed business case for Melbourne Airport Rail, with a path via Sunshine selected as the best route. Development of the business case is now underway with the project set to begin construction by 2022, subject to required approvals. 

Rail Projects Victoria, that is overseeing the planning and delivery of Melbourne Airport Rail on behalf of the Victorian Government, has opened the consultation on the works. You can have your say on Melbourne Airport Rail by completing an online survey at http://railprojects.vic.gov.au/airportrailsurvey. The survey will close at 5pm on Monday, 29 July 2019. 

In 2016-17, Melbourne Airport handled more than 35 million passenger movements and this figure will almost double to more than 67 million by 2038. The Victorian and Commonwealth governments have committed up to $5 billion each to Melbourne Airport Rail which will provide a vital link for tourists and business people to connect to the CBD, and importantly to regional Victoria. 

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Aoife Considine

UK: Aoife Considine, a Fleet Engineering Manager of Heathrow Express, was nominated and shortlisted for the Everywoman Awards in 2019.

Aoife is an excellent ambassador for the rail industry and excels at raising awareness and encouraging young people to enter engineering as well as ensuring that they reach their potential in their careers. She participates in annual debates for National Women in Engineering Day and is visiting students in schools to act as a mentor.

“We were very proud of our Fleet Engineering Manager Aoife Considine on making the shortlist for the everywoman Transport & Logistics Awards. Aoife is only really just beginning her career, and has already made an incredible impact at a complex time for the company – maintaining our existing HEx fleet and the TfL Rail fleet, while also planning for the launch of a new HEx fleet and subsequent depot move. She is an excellent ambassador for the rail industry and excels at raising awareness and encouraging young people and women to enter engineering in the rail industry,” Les Freer, Director of Heathrow Express said.

Congratulations to Aoife from GARA!

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Discover KL 1

MALAYSIA: The operator of KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit airport rail link services in Kuala Lumpur Express Rail Links Sdn Bhd (ERL) had a busy week with three new partnerships announced.

Discover Kuala Lumpur package is a collaboration between ERL and KL Hop-On Hop-Off. The partnership allows passengers with at least eight hours of waiting time at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA & KLIA2) to make a quick visit to the city. The package includes a KLIA Ekspres Return Ticket and a round trip on the KL Hop-On Hop-Off bus. There are two routes available - the Garden Route and the City Route which will take about two hours each depending on the traffic conditions. It operates on the "hop on, hop off" approach allowing participants of the tour to get off and on the bus at any
stop they choose within 24 hours of their voucher redemption. Discover Kuala Lumpur packages can be purchased online via the KLIA Ekspres website and app, as well as the self-service kiosks at KLIA, KLIA2 and KL Sentral.

Another initiative launched this week was “Go Cashless on Public Transport” Campaign which was organised by ERL at KL Sentral. The launch event saw the participation of ERL’s strategic partners, namely, Boost e-wallet, GrabPay, Mastercard, Maybank, Touch ‘n Go, UnionPay and Visa. In support of the national agenda, to promote awareness and usage of contactless cards and digital/mobile wallets by the travelling public on train services and at stations. The usage of cashless transactions on all ERL services is 47%, an increase of 5% compared to 2018.

And finally, in a bid to extend its rail expertise globally, ERL will continue supporting the Al Mashaaer Al Muqadassah Metro – or Makkah Metro – during the Hajj season. This time around, 28 staff from ERL as well as staff from ERL Maintenance Support Sdn Bhd (E-MAS) will hold numerous positions for about two months starting June to support the operations. Among the roles are Deputy Station Manager, Station Master, Assistant Station Master and Station Control Room Agent. This year's secondment marks the eighth year that ERL has been seconding staff for the rail system that runs only seven days every year.

"Including this year's secondment, we can say around 80 ERL and E-MAS staff have contributed to the smooth running of the Makkah Metro from 2012," said ERL Chief Executive Officer, Noormah Mohd Noor. "This gives our staff the opportunity to gain new and unique experiences, especially in a situation that has a strong call for mass transportation. In the operations, each pilgrim must be transported into and out of Arafat within six to eight hours. This exposure to crowd control, station management and train operations on a massive scale will not only help them to develop their interpersonal skills, but hone and develop new management skills as their job requires them to coordinate and communicate with all levels of operation staff from various nationalities."

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USA: The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has announced the recipients of more than $326 million in grant funds under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program and the Special Transportation Circumstances Program, for a wide variety of state and local railroad infrastructure projects. The grants will fund 45 projects in 29 states.

From those funds up to $2.8m will be allocated to Rhode Island - TF Green Airport intercity rail service project, which will allow to complete preliminary engineering and federal environmental review for a new Amtrak stop at TF Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, the only airport adjacent to the Northeast Corridor without direct access to it.

Another $2.7m will go to Wisconsin - Milwaukee Area Passenger and Freight Rail Improvement Project. The funds will be used to upgrade the signalling system to centralized train control on approximately 2 miles of track surrounding the Milwaukee Intermodal Station on the state-supported Hiawatha Amtrak service, building on a fiscal year 2017 CRISI grant to add a second platform at the airport station. This will enable the 20 freight trains and 16 passenger trains that daily travel the area to operate closer to permitted speeds.

Full list of projects can be found here >>>

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Gautrain Extension map

SOUTH AFRICA: The Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) has completed the feasibility study for the Gauteng Rail Extension Network and the study was submitted to National Treasury for approval.

According to GMA's Senior Executive Manager, Communication and Marketing Dr Barbara Jensen, once approval has been granted the planning and Environmental Impact Assessment of Phase 1 will begin. 

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ROMANIA: A consortium of Arada Company, ISPCF and DB Engineering & Consulting has been selected by the Romanian Infrastructure Manager CFR to deliver modernisation of Bucureşti Nord – Henri Coandă International Airport.

The project involved building a new track between Bucharest central station and Henri Coandă International Airport located in Otopeni and a passenger station at Terminal 1.

The total estimated cost of the contract, expected to last 14 months (two months for design and 12 months for execution) is EUR 88.6 million.

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Saudi Airlines

UAE: Saudi Arabian Airlines and Saudi Railways have signed a strategic partnership agreement on 27 May to provide integrated transport services between the airline and the Al-Haramain Express rail service.

The partnership aims to develop an interoperable air-rail passenger experience service including online travel procedures, apps, self-service and seamless baggage transfer between the airline and Haramain train stations in Medina, Jeddah, King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh.

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NORWAY: Starting from 22 June through to 9 August, Flytoget will run all night rail service between city centre and Oslo Airport.

"We are very excited to introduce the "Night Summer Train" for the travellers choosing Flytoget as their airport access mode," CEO of Flytoget Philipp Engedal said. "We know that many of our customers fly at slightly different times in the summer and more departures at night was something they have asked for. We hope and believe that the offer will be well received."

Usually the last Flytoget train departs from Oslo Airport at 00.50 and first 05:30, but this summer the following departures are set up from Oslo Airport at 01:10, 01:30, 02:10, 02:40, 04:50 and 05:10.

Usually the first Flytoget trains from Oslo S to Oslo Airport leaves at 04.40, but this summer there will be additional departures at 04:00 and 04:20.

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THAILAND: Thailand’s Cabinet has approved a draft contract worth 225 billion baht (7.07 billion USD) to build a high-speed rail connecting the country’s three major airports of Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao.

The consortium led by Charoen Pokphan (CP) Group is expected to sign the contract, proposed by the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office, with the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) on June 15.
Under the contract, the SRT will pay 149 billion baht over a period of 10 years and the joint venture contract covers 50 years.

The 220 km railway will run from Bangkok's Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports to the U-Tapao airport in nearby Rayong Province.

Thailand's government is looking to bring advanced industries like aircraft, robotics and next-generation automobiles to Rayong and its surroundings as part of its ambitious Eastern Economic Corridor scheme.

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Sunshine Light Rail Link

AUSTRALIA: Sunshine Coast Airport has delivered its Draft Master Plan document charting the planned evolution of the airport over the next two decades and beyond.

The release of the draft Sunshine Coast Airport Master Plan 2040 will now be followed by a 50-business day community engagement period, from Thursday 30 May to 5.00pm, Friday 9 August 2019.

The Sunshine Coast Airport Master Plan 2040 will deliver one of the Sunshine Coast’s most significant transport, tourism and economic infrastructure assets, adding $4.1 billion to Gross Regional Product between 2020–2040, and opening-up new direct destinations in Australia, the Pacific and Asia to benefit Sunshine Coast residents and visitors.
The plan inlcudes plans for an integrated transport hub for the region with provisions for a light-rail station and potential for autonomous vehicles.

Currently The Airport is serviced hourly by one bus service running between Maroochydore and Noosa. The existing mode share for public transport at the Airport is low but may be improved with additional or higher frequency services to accommodate growing passenger numbers.

“With the delivery of the new runway at the end of next year there are some immediate priorities to ensure that the airport is fully prepared to meet the new demands, but equally we have outlined plans that look to 2040 and beyond," Sunshine Coast Airport Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Brodie said.

“They include land-use priorities to ensure that we have space for developments such as light railway and increased freight handling facilities."

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From left – Nick Barton, CEO of Birmingham Airport, Allan Cook, Chair of HS2 and Tim Clarke, Chair of Birmingham Airport.

UK: the Chairs of both Birmingham Airport and HS2 Ltd, as well as the CEO of Birmingham Airport, met to reaffirm how the new High Speed Rail network alongside the airport’s growth plans are crucial to improve future connectivity and prosperity for the region.  

HS2 will link over 25 towns and cities, joining up nearly half of the UK population and is set to deliver £92bn of benefits to the UK economy. Not only will HS2 better serve the airport from across the country, the new railway will take trains off the busy West Coast Main Line allowing more regional train services to and from Birmingham International Station.

Tim Clarke, Chair of Birmingham Airport and Allan Cook, Chair of HS2 Ltd, along with Nick Barton, CEO of Birmingham Airport, met at the airport to discuss their infrastructure plans and visited the airport site to understand where the airport developments will take place. This meeting is a clear sign of commitment from the two parties to see both projects delivered in unity for the benefit of the overall region.

Allan Cook, Chair of HS2 Ltd said:
“HS2 is a once in a generation opportunity to better connect the Midlands and the North. Calling at the new Interchange station, our trains will be more reliable, quicker and allow more passengers to use Birmingham Airport, the NEC and other leisure attractions. The new HS2 station will act as a catalyst for the development and growth proposals for the area around the station – including new homes and jobs. We plan to work closely with the Airport and the Urban Growth Company to deliver improved connectivity that will in turn drive economic growth for both the West Midlands and the country.”

Tim Clarke, Chair of Birmingham Airport, said:
“From next month, the airport will begin works on its Master Plan, where £500m will be invested over the next 15 years to grow the airport by 40%, serving 18m passengers a year – using the existing single runway. For us, it is important the airport continues to play a part in the development of the Midlands, acting as a catalyst for the continued growth of the region’s economy. With a greater choice of flights and destinations, alongside improved regional connectivity and a direct link to HS2, we will do just this.”

When HS2 opens, the rail journey between Birmingham Airport and central London will reduce from the current 70 minutes to 38 minutes as it becomes the UK’s first and only high-speed connected airport, whilst also increasing the current two-hour catchment of 35m to 45m people.

Interchange station will be a new major gateway station for the region, part of a new public transport interchange serving Solihull, the West Midlands, Birmingham Airport and the National Exhibition Centre. The station will be immediately adjacent to Birmingham Airport, allowing it to take an increasingly national role, helping to drive international trade, investment, employment, inbound tourism and the success of the region’s many universities.

Phase One of HS2, between the West Midlands and London is scheduled to be completed by 2026, with plans to extend to Crewe by 2027 and to Leeds and Manchester by 2033. Works on the first phase of HS2 are already well underway at over 250 work locations.

Around 9,000 jobs are now supported by the delivery of HS2, with 300 apprentices on board and 2,000 businesses supporting the new backbone of Britain’s rail network. When construction peaks, it is estimated that HS2 will need over 30,000 people to design and build the full HS2 rail network when it is built in the North.

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FRANCE: After five months working closely with SNCF Réseau, Île-de-France Mobilités and the communities, the Prefect of Paris Michel Cadot has proposed to the government two scenarios to carry out Paris-North Railway Line works. 

15 major projects are earmarked to be completed by 20124 on the North axis, including the regeneration of tracks of the RER B, new automated operating and signalling system Nexteo, CDG Express connecting Roissy Airport and Paris city centre, Grand Paris Express interconnections with the RER network, Gare du Nord 2024 and many more.

After number of consultations, the Prefect has proposed two technically feasible scenarios to carry out the work on CDG Express.

Scenario 1 -  CDG Express delivered in May 2024

  • Respect of the calendars for the 15 other projects except the partial realization of the regeneration priority 2
  • Closed 3 weeks in the summer of 2023
  • Necessary reduction for 19 months of CDG Express's level of service to compensate for the postponement of functionalities (Aulnay turnaround and Le Bourget garages)
  • Low additional cost
  • High tension in the railway system and operational risk

Scenario 2 - CDG Express delivered in December 2025

  • Respect of calendars for the other 15 projects
  • More weekends worked on 2021/2023
  • Neutrality guaranteed at commissioning
  • High additional cost requiring a decision in the finance law
  • Lower tension on the rail system

These scenarios were presented to the coordinating committee on April 15, 2019, during which each of the partners expressed its preference:

  • ADP, DIJOP and CDG Express project company for Scenario 1;
  • Île-de-France Region, Hauts-de-France Region, Île-de-France Mobilités, City of Paris, Departmental Council of Seine-Saint-Denis, County Council of Val d'Oise and EPT Plaine Commune in favor Scenario 2

Posted on in Members' News

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UK: Heathrow has announced it is getting ready to introduce a set of tough new measures to protect local air quality, reduce congestion and tackle emissions.  

Heathrow is putting plans in motion to introduce charges for passenger cars and all private hire vehicles. This includes the world’s first airport Ultra Low Emission Zone (the Heathrow ULEZ), set to be introduced in 2022. The Heathrow ULEZ will introduce minimum vehicle emissions standards identical to the London Mayor’s ULEZ for passenger cars and private hire vehicles entering car parks or drop-off areas at any of Heathrow’s terminals, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Over time with the opening of the new runway from 2026 and improvements to public transport access to the airport, the Heathrow ULEZ will transition into a vehicle access charge (VAC) on all passenger cars, taxis and private hire vehicles coming to car parks or drop-off areas. The goal is to tackle the main source of local air pollution – road vehicles – and reduce congestion by encouraging more people to use sustainable ways of getting to and from the airport.

Initial proposals for the Heathrow ULEZ could set the charge figure between £10-15, in line with charges set by the Mayor in central London. Exact details for the Heathrow ULEZ will be confirmed when Heathrow submits its final DCO application for expansion after public consultation. Revenue generated from both schemes will help fund initiatives to improve sustainable transport, contribute to community compensation and help keep airport charges affordable as the airport expands.

The announcement comes at a time when action is needed to protect local air quality by changing industry and public behaviour. Heathrow will now join London and Birmingham as the third UK zone to impose charges on the most polluting cars.

Furthermore, Heathrow is doing its bit to reduce vehicle use by leading industry change through a targeted Colleague Strategy which will be launched next week and will focus on significantly reducing the number of colleague car trips through a mixture of incentives, restraints on parking, and investment in new public transport links. The airport has invested over £1billion in rail infrastructure and provides over £2.5million annually to encourage public transport use via the airport free travel zone, support for bus services and contributions to local sustainable transport schemes.

Heathrow is fully backing plans to treble rail capacity by 2040 through improved transport links which take into account the introduction of the Elizabeth Line, an upgraded Piccadilly Line, and proposed rail links from the West and South. 

Earlier this month Heathrow also published its annual sustainability strategy report – Heathrow 2.0 – which sets out how the airport is addressing the impact of aircraft and other operations. Highlighted in the report are significant investments made to offset emissions and speed up electric flight, supporting the airport’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2020 and to operate zero carbon airport infrastructure by 2050. Initiatives include a project to restore UK peatlands to offset carbon emissions, more electric vehicles and charging points, investment in the development of sustainable fuels, a pledge to waive a year’s landing charges for the first electric or hybrid aircraft put into regular service at Heathrow, along with research into future infrastructure to support electric aircraft and technologies. 

“Heathrow Expansion is not a choice between the economy and the environment – we must deliver for both. Today’s announcement shows that we will take the tough decisions to ensure that the airport grows responsibly,” Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said.

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Virgin Trains USA

USA: Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline, announced the rail construction contractors for Phase 2 expansion between Orlando and South Florida, representing a total private investment of $4 billion.

Phase 2 contractors are the Hubbard Construction Company, Wharton-Smith Inc., The Middlesex Corporation, Granite and HSR Constructors. These five contractors will be responsible for the development of 170 miles of new track into the completed state-of-the-art intermodal facility located in the new South Terminal at the Orlando International Airport (MCO).

Construction of Phase 2 encompasses four zones, with Zone One and Zone Two work beginning on 21 May 2019, which includes the area of the Orlando International Airport and the Virgin Trains Maintenance Facility. Full scale construction on Zone Three and Zone Four is imminent.  

Phase 2 construction by the numbers

Construction will be conducted in four zones between Orlando and West Palm Beach.

Zone One is located one-mile south of Orlando International Airport and will be overseen by Hubbard Construction Company and Wharton-Smith Inc.   

Zone Two is a 3.5 mile section in the heart of Orlando International Airport (OIA). Middlesex is an integral part of Virgin Trains USA's expansion construction and the company's scope of work will include clearing land, building drainage structures and pump stations, utility relocation, excavation and rail bed embankment, trench and bridge construction, track and signalization installation, and reconstruction of one of the airport interchanges. 

Zone Three is approximately 35 miles of rail alignment following the Highway 528 corridor between OIA and Cocoa.  

Zone Four includes the upgrade of 129 miles of existing track from Class IV to Class VI (allowing service up to 110 MPH).

Construction is expected to be to be complete and service will begin between South Florida and Orlando in 2022.