Members' News

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USA: The Port Authority New York New Jersey (PANYNJ) Board of Commissioners has authorised $57 million in planning funds for the first phase of the PATH system extension to Newark Liberty International Airport, a projected $1.7-billion project that is a key component of the board’s 2017-2026 capital plan and essential to improved regional rail service for the commuting public.

“The Port Authority is committed to making critical investments in a transportation network that supports regional growth and meets the demands of the millions of people who live, work and visit the region,” said Port Authority Chairman John Degnan. “This planning effort will provide analysis of key components – ridership data, cost updates, environmental and economic impacts – to help the agency continue to evaluate the project before moving forward with construction.”

“Our 10-year capital plan dedicates $32 billion towards strategic investments to support the modernisation of critical transportation infrastructure,” said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. “This project improves transportation access to Newark Airport while extending PATH’s trans-Hudson network in Newark.”

Subject to completion of the environmental review process and project authorisation by the Port Authority board, the project would include a new station in Newark’s South Ward Dayton Street neighbourhood, a new rail yard facility and modification of existing platforms at Newark Penn Station to accommodate increased passenger flow.

The authorisation provides funding critical to move the project through preliminary design and the required environmental review process. It includes funds for environmental and transportation services, including preliminary engineering work as well as program and project management services.

Currently, the PATH Newark-to-World Trade Center line’s western-most point is Newark Penn Station. The project will extend the line west through the Dayton Street neighbourhood in Newark’s South Ward, ending at the Newark Liberty rail link station.

Once approved, construction of the extension is expected to begin in 2020 with full revenue service to start in 2026. As a multimodal transportation hub, the new station also will reduce traffic congestion and provide environmental benefits through increased use of public transportation.

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UK: The launch of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays at Stansted Airport means that Stansted Express customers can now enjoy even greater choice and value with 21 destinations on offer.

To mark the launch, the Jet2 team greeted rail passengers arriving at Stansted Airport rail station on 30th March with giveaways such as beach balls, sunglasses, Frisbee, lip balms, a mini brochure and £60 ‘Rain Cheque’ voucher to promote the new holiday opportunities.

London Stansted Airport becomes Jet2.com and Jet2holidays’ ninth UK airport base and their first in the South of England. They will offer 21 European leisure destinations, which are on sale now – Lanzarote, Malaga, Alicante, Dubrovnik, Faro, Madeira, Fuerteventura, Girona, Crete (Heraklion), Ibiza, Kos, Larnaca, Gran Canaria, Menorca, Paphos, Majorca, Pula, Reus, Rhodes, Tenerife and Zante – giving holidaymakers across North & East London and the East of England more choice and value.

The first flights from London Stansted Airport took off on Thursday 30 March 2017 to Alicante, Faro, Majorca and Lanzarote.

Stansted Express’s Head of Commercial Development, Eleni Jordan, commented, “We look forward to welcoming Jet2.com and Jet2holidays passengers onto our services and look forward to working with Jet2 over the coming months to provide a seamless journey for our passengers from train to plane. As the fastest and most comfortable way to travel to and from the airport, with trains every 15 minutes and low advance fares from just £7 one way, recent official figures have shown that the Stansted Express is the most popular form of transport, above the coach or car.”

Stansted Express as the fastest gateway to Stansted Airport, fares now start from just £7 per person each way when booked in advance or when four people make a return journey together. Standard single fares are now only £16.60, or £28 return between London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport.

The new fares put Stansted Express amongst the cheapest Stansted airport transport providers, while retaining a high quality service which includes fully flexible travel on any train on date of travel (and return tickets are valid for up to one month), no hidden fees, unlimited baggage allowance and free wifi.

Trains run every 15 minutes providing the fastest link between central London (47 minutes), Tottenham Hale (36 minutes) and Stansted Airport and the train station at the airport is directly under the airport terminal, just a 2-minute walk to check-in.

Best prices are always online at www.stanstedexpress.com, where there are a range of other services available such as discounted hotels, theatre and attractions booking service, for added convenience and value.

Commenting on Jet2’s launch at the airport, Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said yesterday: “We have got off to a flying start in every sense at London Stansted Airport. Customers in the region have been hearing all about Jet2.com and Jet2holidays’ family friendly ethos, great value package holidays and award-winning customer service, and today they finally get to experience all of that.”

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RUSSIA: The first of two new Aeroexpress platforms at Domodedovo Airport has officially opened for operations, marking a significant milestone in company’s large scale renovation programme of infrastructure facilities located on the Domodedovo route. 

The Aeroexpress Domodedovo rail terminal will be completed in 2Q2018 and will be ready to host guests and participants of the World Football Cup. Aeroexpress plans to invest over RUB 2,043 million into construction.

"Putting the new platform into service at Domodedovo is a big step in measures to prepare Moscow’s entire transport complex for the 2018 World Football Cup," says Aeroexpress' COO Valery Fyodorov. "The Domodedovo route is usually the most used direction so the main objective of renovating infrastructure there is to increase capacity and improve the quality of transfer services provided to passengers."

The first phase of implementing the comprehensive infrastructure renovation programme for the Domodedovo direction occurred with the opening of the upgraded Aeroexpress terminal at the Paveletsky Rail Terminal in December 2015. The second phase involves building two platforms at Domodedovo. The platforms are specially built to accommodate the new double-decker trains produced by Stadler. The third stage will bring Aeroexpress' own terminal at Domodedovo Airport into service.

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SOUTH AFRICA: The Gautrain Management Agency has completed and submitted a feasibility study on the extension of the Gautrain rail network. The study has been submitted to Provincial and National Treasuries and to major stakeholders that were consulted during the feasibility process.

The feasibility study concludes that the extension of the Gautrain rail network will provide significant economic and transport related benefits to the province and the country at large; that it offers value for money, and appropriate risk transfer if procured as a Public-Private Partnership.

Demand modelling was done to determine transport needs for Gauteng in 2025 and 2037. Through the modelling process it became clear that the ‘cost of doing nothing’ in the province will lead to major road congestion in 2037, at which stage cars will travel at an average of 15 kilometres an hour due to doubling of car growth.

Gautrain network expansion

The feasibility study identified the following main links and stations of the Gautrain rail network extensions:

  • On the link between Jabulani via Cosmo City and Samrand to Mamelodi, stations include Roodepoort, Little Falls, Fourways, Sunninghill, Olievenhoutsbosch, Irene, Tshwane East and Hazeldean.
  • The link between Sandton and Cosmo City has a station at Randburg.
  • On the link between Rhodesfield and Boksburg there will be a station at East Rand Mall and possible link-up with the OR Tambo International Airport Midfield terminal development.
  • A future link from Cosmo City to Lanseria Airport.

Due to the magnitude and complexity of the project, it will be split into five phases.

“This expansion will primarily be done on a public-private partnership basis, in phases that will take a period of two decades (20 years) to complete,” Premier David Makhura said during his State of the Province Address.

The Gauteng provincial government is aware that a project of this magnitude will require significant funding from various sources. In order to address affordability issues an engagement with the national government is required. This will be facilitated by the national Department of Transport.

 

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INTERVIEW: Currently 80 East Midlands train services pass through Luton Airport Parkway (LAP) in each direction every day, with a total of just 18 stopping there. London Luton Airport (LLA) is advocating for the inclusion of four fast trains per hour from central London to Luton Airport Parkway as part of the upcoming East Midlands Trains refranchising process.

East Midlands Train passes through Luton Airport Parkway Station web

The Government is due to announce a public consultation on the East Midlands Trains franchise shortly. The current franchise is a Direct Award to East Midlands Trains Limited, which commenced on 18 October 2015. It is due to end on 4 March 2018, although the Secretary of State may extend it by up to a year. The new franchise is scheduled to commence in 2018.

On 1st of March the Department for Transport has announced that the following companies have successfully pre-qualified to bid in the competition for the East Midlands franchise, to run rail passenger services from November 2018:

  • Arriva Rail East Midlands Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arriva UK Trains Limited
  • First Trenitalia East Midlands Rail Limited, a joint venture company wholly owned by First Rail Holdings Limited and Trenitalia UK Limited
  • Stagecoach East Midlands Trains Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Stagecoach Transport Holdings Limited

Last year LLA released independent economic analysis showing that increasing the number of hourly fast trains to LAP from one to four through timetable change could significantly increase rail revenue up to £110 million at no cost to the rail operator or DfT, and could almost double the number of passengers travelling by train to the airport; reducing local traffic congestion by 70,000 journeys and saving 500 tonnes of CO2.

Nick Barton webWe speak with London Luton Airport CEO Nick Barton about the current stage of the proposals.

Where are you in the discussions regarding the franchise? Do you see your conversations progressing towards a positive outcome?

While waiting for the consultation to be announced, we have continued to build our case and engage with stakeholders. I am happy to say that the initial reaction is overwhelmingly positive, as our proposed timetable change will improve not only the connectivity but also the overall economic impact of the airport.

We’ve been meeting key stakeholders, organisations and individuals up and down the rail line. These conversations were extremely useful, highlighting issues that we could address to make our case even stronger. These included questions about the effect on the wider network, future connectivity and payment systems such as the Oyster card.

What is the biggest challenge you came across in your conversations?

Our biggest challenge is still ahead of us and it is to change the thinking of the railway industry. I understand that our issue is very focused and the people we are talking to have a plethora of issues to consider. The Department for Transport has been extremely helpful in listening, understanding and supporting us in communicating our plans to stakeholders.

In 2015 you have successfully launched hourly night train services to London Luton Airport. How will the fast trains complement this and other rail services available at the Luton Airport Parkway station?

The night service is very valuable offering the ten thousand people who work at the airport, and 2-3 million more passengers, a viable option to use rail to get to and from the airport.

The existing Govia Thameslink Railway stopping service travels through London to the South Coast and offers unique access to different markets. The Farringdon connection will become increasingly important, opening up East-West traffic via the newly created Elizabeth Line. These are all excellent improvements to our connectivity.

These additional services, as good as they are, still stop at intermediate stations and take about 40 minutes to travel to/from the airport. This is great for some passengers and employees, but for many people, especially foreign travellers, the expectation is to see direct non-stop rail services to and from the airport.

That is what the new fast trains on the East Midlands line will offer. It will be a very regular service, operating every 15 minutes in both directions. It will effectively act as an ‘express’-style rail service, similar to those already in operation to and from Heathrow and Gatwick. We’re currently the only major London airport without such a service, which is something we need to change.

What would you say to airports who are reluctant to introduce rail connections in fear of losing car parking revenue?

A growing airport with a well-balanced ground access network and different travel options is far better than an airport with a vast car park. Such an airport would struggle to get national support for growth, as access would be too focused on one mode of transport. Rail is one of the best ways to accommodate the passenger demands associated with a busy airport, offering an efficient means of access and reducing congestion on the roads. We also know that poor rail links can be a disincentive to passengers – for example, the introduction of overnight train services to LAP made rail a viable option for an additional 2-3 million passengers, giving them choice and flexibility.

Currently the airport terminals are connected to the railway station by a shuttle bus, but there are plans to build a people mover to improve this link. Where are you at with this project?

The airport owners have recently submitted a planning application for a £200 million mass passenger transit (MPT) system, linking the airport terminal directly with Luton Airport Parkway station. Subject to planning permission, work on this project could begin later this year – with the system ready for operation by Spring 2021.

The MPT system will be a fully-automated, two-way, 24-hour people-mover based on the latest technology and design innovation.

What is the next challenge in improving ground access to London Luton Airport you see in the future?

With all the projects that are happening now, rail access to and from London Luton Airport will be dramatically transformed. The road connections are already good, so the innovations that will come in the future will be about improving accessibility through public transport.

The proposed Oxford-Cambridge rail link, running through the richest part of the UK, is a very interesting development for the airport. The new East-West line will intersect the Midland Mainline which currently serves the airport. This means that LLA is in a prime position to act as an integrated road, air and rail hub at the junction of these two strategic national economic corridors.