News Archive

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UK: The Airports Commission has published its Final Report, which sets out its recommendations to Government for expanding aviation capacity in the UK.

The Commission’s analysis shows that expanded airport capacity is crucial for the UK’s long-term prosperity. While each of the three schemes shortlisted was considered a credible option for expansion, the Commission has unanimously concluded that the proposal for a new Northwest Runway at Heathrow Airport, combined with a significant package of measures to address its environmental and community impacts, presents the strongest case and offers the greatest strategic and economic benefits – providing around 40 new destinations from the airport and more than 70,000 new jobs by 2050.

The report describes the strengths and weaknesses of the other short-listed proposals. The Heathrow Extended Northern runway delivers similar economic benefits, is less costly and requires the loss of fewer homes. But it provides a smaller increase in capacity and is less attractive from a noise and air quality perspective. The Gatwick scheme is feasible, but the additional capacity would be more focused on short-haul intra-European routes and the economic benefits considerably smaller.

“Over the past two and a half years, the Airports Commission has reviewed the evidence without preconceptions, consulted widely, and followed an inclusive and integrated process. At the end of this extensive work programme our conclusions are clear and unanimous: the best answer is to expand Heathrow’s capacity through a new Northwest Runway,” Sir Howard Davies said.

On the subject of the proposed Heathrow Hub concept, the Commission has “determined that despite the potential benefits it would bring to some passengers from the West of England and Wales, the costs and risks associated with the ‘hub station’ concept were such that it should not be recommended.”

Heathrow Davies Surface Access

Responding to the Commission’s report, Captain William Lowe and his fellow Directors of Heathrow Hub, said:

“While we obviously still believe our own concept to extend the runways is superior to Heathrow Airport Ltd.’s third runway option, we congratulate John Holland-Kaye and his team. We recognise that the Commission has spoken but we will continue to liaise with ministers and civil servants to ensure our proposal is properly understood as a cheaper, simpler and more politically deliverable option.”

HeathrowHub Davies Surface Access

On the subject of an HS2 spur to Heathrow Airport, without the need for an interchange at Old Oak Common, the Commission concluded that “the scheme was likely to attract only a small number of passengers, carry a high capital cost and represent an inefficient use of HS2 capacity. <…> Therefore such a spur should not form part of the surface access package that would accompany airport expansion and that there is not a robust business case for it at this time.”

Secretary of State for Transport the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP commented:

“In December 2013 the Commission shortlisted 3 schemes for further consideration - two at Heathrow and one at Gatwick. It also made recommendations for improving our existing airport infrastructure, including upgrading transport connections. We are acting on these interim recommendations. We are working with Gatwick airport to upgrade the station, Network Rail is leading a study to improve the rail link between London and Stansted and Crossrail will soon provide a new direct route to Heathrow.”

“This is a detailed and comprehensive report, based on a significant volume of technical material, and the Government will need to review our analysis carefully. The Commission urges it not to prolong this process, however, and to move as quickly as it can to a decision. Further delay will be increasingly costly and will be seen, nationally and internationally, as a sign that the UK is unwilling or unable to take the steps needed to maintain its position as a well-connected, open trading economy in the twenty-first century,” Sir Howard Davies concluded.

 

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FINLAND: The first passenger trains began running on Finland's newest section of railway early on Wednesday morning, 1st July 2015.

The trains will begin stopping at Helsinki Airport train station as of 10 July, at the latest, in the meantime a shuttle bus will connect passengers from Aviapolis train station to the terminals.

The Ring Rail Line connects the main line to the Vantaankoski line via the Airport. It brings rail services to new areas in Vantaa and improves public transport connections in the entire Helsinki region.

Journey time from the centre of Helsinki to the Airport is 30 minutes, and long-distance train passengers from the north can conveniently change trains at Tikkurila station to get to the Airport.

RingRailLine

The Airport station is a tunnel station located 45 metres underground. The station is designed to be spacious and well-lit, so that flight passengers can move around it as easily as possible.

At each end of the station there are three escalators and two large lifts that give access to two different exits. It is a short walk from the station to Terminals 1 and 2 at the airport along a connecting passageway between them. Another exit on Tietotie, mainly serves those who work in the area.

At all new stations, the platform is 230 metres long, accommodating three Sm5 (Flirt-) train units. The Airport Station has one platform area with train tracks on both sides.

Construction of the Ring Rail Line began in 2009 and the cost estimate for the project is about €770 million. The costs are shared among the Finnish Transport Agency, the City of Vantaa, and Finavia. The project also gets support from the EU.

The ring rail line has 18 kilometres of new track, 8 kilometres of which is in a tunnel. Initially there will be five new stations: Vehkala, Kivistö, Aviapolis, Airport and Leinelä. In addition, allocations have been made for three more stations: Petas, Viinikkala and Ruskeasanta.

Several new areas for housing, work, and recreation will be built along the Ring Rail Line. It also enables the development of business activities. New park-and-ride facilities will accommodate about 700 cars.

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CANADA: The City of Ottawa released the Stage 2 Light Rail Transit (LRT) Environmental Assessment and Functional Design Report detailing the functional design of the east, west and south LRT extensions, and confirming that Stage 2 remains within the City of Ottawa’s affordability model.

“I am pleased to see that we are moving forward with the Stage 2 LRT plan as it will fundamentally transform how we get around our city,” said Mayor Watson. “I am most pleased to see that Stage 2 remains affordable, and I look forward to working with our provincial and federal partners to confirm their support for this plan.”

The work completed as part of the Environmental Assessment process to date confirms that Stage 2 can be constructed within the $3 billion that the Transportation Master Plan identified two years ago.

The report also sets out the functional design of the alignment and stations for each of the three Stage 2 LRT extensions: the O-Train Confederation Line West extension from Baseline and Bayshore to Tunney’s Pasture, the O-Train Confederation Line East extension from Blair to Place d’Orléans, and the O-Train Trillium Line extension to Bowesville/Riverside South.

In addition, the report confirms the functional design and costs for potential future extensions to Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport in the south and to Trim Road in the east, should funding sources become available.

otrain en

“This report is the culmination of years of planning and community consultation on Stage 2, and includes the results of the meetings of the Working Group between the National Capital Commission and City of Ottawa Working Group earlier this year on the O-Train Confederation Line West extension,” said Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of the Transportation Committee. “The results of the EA process to date have laid a solid foundation for the work we have ahead of us to implement Stage 2.”

“Stage 2 will enhance the transit service that we offer to residents farther east, west and south of our city core,” said Councillor Stephen Blais, Chair of the Transit Commission. “I am pleased to see that, in less than a decade, people from Place d’Orléans to Baseline and Bayshore, and from as far south as Bowesville Road, will benefit from the reliability and convenience of rail rapid transit.”

City Council approved the Stage 2 LRT package as part of the 2013 update of the Transportation Master Plan. When completed in 2023, Stage 2 will add 19 new stations and 30 kilometres of rail to Ottawa’s O-Train system, and bring LRT to within five kilometres of almost 70 per cent of residents.

The report will be considered by the Finance and Economic Development Committee on June 29 and by City Council on July 8. Subsequent to this approval, preliminary implementation activities will begin, and the City will continue to engage with federal and provincial partners on project funding.

More information on Stage 2 LRT can be found on the newly launched project website at stage2lrt.ca.

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UK: Heathrow has launched a new interactive rail journey map (click here to access the map), showcasing how services from Wales and around England to the airport are set to dramatically improve. The map includes journey times from 31 cities from as far North as Newcastle to as far South as Plymouth.

Significantly, between now and 2032, a raft of improvements including Crossrail, Western Rail Access, HS2 access via Old Oak Common and Southern Rail Access will be delivered to make it easier and quicker to get to Heathrow by rail.

Heathrow Surface Access

  • Crossrail: The full opening of Crossrail in 2019 will bring the heart of London’s financial district and much of East London within a 60 minute catchment area for Heathrow.
  • HS2: By 2032, Heathrow will be connected to the High Speed Rail network via a new passenger interchange at Old Oak Common providing fast access to the Midlands and improved connectivity to Northern England and Scotland.
  • Southern Rail access: This project will improve connectivity between Heathrow and South London, Surrey, Hampshire and the South Coast.
  • Western Rail access: Providing fast direct access to Heathrow by 2021 for passengers from Slough, Reading and the Thames Valley and further improve journey times to the South West and South Wales.
  • Piccadilly Line upgrades: Will deliver improved frequency and faster journey times.

 Direct and faster journeys to London

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Ramboll Environ has been contracted by the state agency Rail Net Denmark to carry out the EIA of a planned 18 km railway between Jelling and Billund (in Jutland, Denmark). Two alternative solutions have to be evaluated and compared under the three million DKK contract.

The EIA will include the full palette of environmental issues from impact on landscape, nature, cultural and recreational values, groundwater, soil, use of resources, human health and traffic, as well as impacts from noise, vibration, emissions and waste. Furthermore, the need for adaptation of the coming railway to future climatic changes will be evaluated.

The new railway will bring passengers to Billund Airport, as well as the Legoland amusement park. It is expected that 1.2 million passengers will use the railway annually, and the price for construction is estimated to 0.7 billion DKK.

“This project will strengthen Ramboll’s expertise in conducting EIAs of new railways and dealing with the specific environmental challenges faced by such projects,” Peter F. Sorensen, Head of Department for Environmental Planning at Ramboll Environ in Denmark said.

The new railway is the result of a national political agreement to upgrade the Danish railway system, which will include building new stretches of railway, upgrading to high-speed rails and introducing electrification for large parts of the Danish railway network.

The project runs through the rest of 2015 and beginning of 2016.