West Anglia Taskforce recommends reducing journey time between Stansted Airport and Cambridge

Posted on in News

UK: Rail infrastructure on the West Anglia Main Line between London, Cambridge and Stansted Airport makes services slow, unreliable and does not have the capacity to cater for more passengers and new housing without substantial investment to coincide with the introduction of Crossrail 2.

That is the verdict of the West Anglia Taskforce who says that new funding must be secured to build a further two tracks between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne as an early phase of Crossrail 2. That work will also help accelerate the delivery of 25,000 new homes and up to 10,000 new jobs.

The West Anglia Main Line runs from Liverpool Street and Stratford to Stansted Airport and Cambridge, linking together the London Stansted Cambridge Corridor and passing through identified growth areas such as the Upper Lee Valley (London’s largest Opportunity Area), Harlow Enterprise Zone and Cambridge Compass Enterprise Zone.

The Taskforce, which was established by the Government and City Hall, has published a report on Wednesday 20 July, in which it calls for investment to address transport constraints that would provide a faster and more reliable rail service. It says it would add up to £15bn to the region’s economy and provide an additional four trains per hour to some stops and significantly reduce journey times from Cambridge to London.

Investment in the West Anglia Main Line will also take a first step towards Crossrail 2, the proposed railway linking Surrey and Hertfordshire through the south west and north east of London and would improve access to more than 170 destinations worldwide at Stansted Airport.

Stansted Express

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I have been clear about my commitment to Crossrail 2 and the benefits this will bring to the capital. But it is crucial that we secure funding to upgrade the West Anglia Main Line before the construction of Crossrail 2 begins. That will help us unlock investment that will support vital new housing development in north London.”

The Taskforce is also working on a plan for short and medium term improvements that can be implemented in advance of ‘four-tracking’ on the line and will be discussing these with the new East Anglia Rail Passenger franchise operator. There will also be talks with businesses about the potential for private sector investment to support improvements and the Taskforce will report back its findings in the autumn.

Chair of the Taskforce, Sir Alan Haselhurst MP, said: “The need for investment in the West Anglia Main Line is overwhelmingly clear. With the right investment, spectacular growth from inner London through the Upper Lee Valley, Hertfordshire, Harlow, Stansted Airport and all the way to the outstanding University of Cambridge could be unleashed.

“Companies across the corridor deserve the best possible rail network; people travelling to work require reliability and London’s third largest airport for passengers and employees alike, needs a high quality link to the capital.

“I look forward to working with the new East Anglia franchise operator and reporting back in the autumn on the specific gains which investment in our rail infrastructure will bring.”
Following the publication of the West Anglia Rail Taskforce report, Chris Wiggan, Stansted Airport’s Head of External Affairs and a member of the Taskforce working group said: “The Taskforce has clearly explored the challenges and highlighted the chronic underinvestment that has faced the West Anglia Mainline over the decades and set out an ambitious long term plan to transform the railway and the region.

“With the announcement on the new rail franchise days away, we believe this is an ideal opportunity to implement the Taskforce’s short term recommendations, including reducing journey times by at least four minutes to the airport and Cambridge and improving reliability on the line through the acquisition of new rolling stock.

“We and other businesses along the line believe quick and effective measures will deliver immediate benefits to airline passengers, businesses and commuters and will be critical in attracting new airlines to Stansted to serve the burgeoning growth corridor between London and Cambridge.

“The airport now looks forward to working closely with Network Rail, the Department for Transport and the new operator to deliver faster and more reliable services to the airport and Cambridge over the next few years.”

Commenting specifically on the long term recommendations, Mr Wiggan said: “Stansted supports the need for additional track capacity between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne along with the seamless integration of the Stansted Express with future Crossrail 2 services. This should all be part of a sustained programme of investment in the line beyond 2026.

“However, if we are to unlock the full economic benefits of the airport today and foster further growth in our region, we need to act now and focus on short term, tactical measures that will make a material difference to the passenger journey.”

Download the report here>>>