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UK: Heathrow, Transport for London (TfL) and the Department for Transport (DfT) have agreed a commitment to boost integrated rail connectivity to the airport, including the addition of two new Elizabeth line trains per hour serving Terminal 5 from December 2019.

Under the plan, services to Heathrow will increase from 18 trains per hour today to at least 22 trains per hour in 2019, of which six will be on the Elizabeth line.

A train will depart Central London to Heathrow on average every two-and-a-half minutes – including two Elizabeth line trains per hour to Terminal 5. Journey times to Heathrow from Bond Street will be 27 minutes, Liverpool Street 35 minutes and Canary Wharf will be only 39 minutes away on a direct train.

There is also an ambition to add further services in the future. A joint feasibility study is underway to look at delivering a further two Elizabeth line trains per hour to Terminal 5 meaning eight Elizabeth line trains per hour serving Heathrow, as well as additional work on developing western rail access to Heathrow.

“This agreement is a big step forward. Together Heathrow, TfL and the DfT are working together to boost rail connections to the UK’s hub, giving our passengers more choices to travel sustainably between Heathrow and London. With 22 trains per hour, an ambition to add even more services and easy to use Oyster and Contactless ticketing, Heathrow will be at the heart of an integrated transport network and our passengers will reap the benefits,” Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said.

An interchange at Old Oak Common will connect High Speed 2 to Heathrow via the Elizabeth line in under 20 minutes, from 2026. Four Heathrow Express services from Paddington will continue to run every 15 minutes offering a fast 15-minute connection between Heathrow and central London.

From May 2018, new ticket readers will be installed at Heathrow, meaning passengers using Heathrow Express and TfL Rail between Paddington and Heathrow will be able to use pay as you go Oyster or a contactless device. The new ways to pay for journeys to the airport will mean more convenience and flexibility for passengers. Passengers travelling on the Heathrow Express will benefit from easier on-the-day ticketing and can still purchase tickets in advance online from as little as £5.50.

The initiative will support Heathrow’s plans to ensure that half of all journeys to and from the airport are by electric or low emission public transport by 2030.

“We have been working with Heathrow on how we can deliver the best services for customers to and from the airport. It is great news that we can now confirm that the Elizabeth line will serve all the Terminals,” Mike Brown, London’s Transport Commissioner said.

Rail services to Heathrow from December 2019:

  • 12 Piccadilly Line trains per hour – 6 trains serving Terminals 2, 3 and 4 and 6 trains serving Terminals 2, 3 and 5
  • 6 Elizabeth Line trains per hour – 4 trains serving Terminals 2, 3 and 4 and 2 trains serving Terminals 2, 3 and 5
  • 4 Heathrow Express trains per hour – all trains serving Terminals 2, 3 and 5

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USA: Port Authority Of New York And New Jersey has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for the proposed LaGuardia Airtrain system, vehicles and system technology.

The Port Authority is seeking information from firms that manufacture rail vehicles and rail vehicle components for automated people movers, metro or light rail technologies. According to the RFI, the Port Authority may use this information to help inform next steps for the proposed AirTrain system at LaGuardia Airport.

As part of the redevelopment of LGA, the Port Authority is considering the development of a new AirTrain automated rail transportation system (LGA AirTrain) from the Airport to Willets Point, Queens.

The proposed LGA AirTrain system would serve air travellers, airport employees, and others having airport-related business, operating between LGA and Willets Point, with connections to the Long Island Rail Road (Port Washington Branch) and the Willets Point-Mets Station of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s New York City Transit Flushing subway line (7 train).

The proposed LGA AirTrain system would also serve as an on-airport transit system to accommodate current growth and the redevelopment of the Airport’s Central Terminal Building (Terminal B), and the redevelopment of Delta Airlines’ Terminals C and D, while not precluding a possible future expansion to Terminal A.

The Port Authority is currently conducting planning and feasibility studies of the proposed LGA AirTrain system, including the development of conceptual alignments, ridership forecasts, geotechnical investigation, analysis of traffic impacts, technology assessment and financial feasibility.

The submission deadline is 20th July 2017. Link to RFI document >>>

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EVENTS: The Global AirRail Alliance (GARA), an organization promoting rail access to airports, and the Airport Regions Conference (ARC), an association of regional and local authorities across Europe with an international airport situated within or near its territory, have partnered joining the 8th Global AirRail Conference and Awards and ARC’s annual meeting into a three day event.

Agenda at a glance

Day 1 – 13 November 2017 - will be dedicated to GARA meetings and discussions, focusing on rail links to airports

Day 2 – 14 November 2017 - will see joined GARA and ARC conference sessions and discussions, focusing on wider airport access issues. Global AirRail Awards will take place on Day 2.

Day 3 – 15 November 2017 - will be dedicated to ARC meetings and discussions, focusing on regional policies.

Call for speakers

We are now building the agenda for Day 1 and Day 2 and are inviting companies to contribute with presentations on these four key topics:

  • Major Air-Rail Projects
  • Technology and Innovation to improve air-rail experience or wider airport access
  • Major Airport Access Projects
  • Best Practice in Stakeholder Engagement

We are looking for “outside the box” thinking when delivering major air-rail and airport access projects, examples of collaboration and partnerships, forward thinking and new technology implementation. Please note that all presentations will be 10 minute long, to keep it focused and engaging. We are also open to any other suggestions that do not fit in the four categories.

Please send you presentation synopsis to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Not all suggested presentations will be included in the programme.


Entries for the Global AirRail Awards 2017 are now open. You can submit your projects here:

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UK: Heathrow Express has carried 100 million passengers since the service opened in 1998. To mark the occasion the operator has launched a pop-up photo Hexibition at Paddington Station.

The exhibition celebrates the diverse groups of customers and colleagues who travel on and work at HEx. The company has collaborated with a travel blogger, Dave Burt from the @London Instagram account (2.1m followers), who has taken the photos.

The Hexibition will be up from Wed 28th - Tues 4 July – see it near platforms 6&7, next to Upper Crust in the station.

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FRANCE: The European Commission has approved French support measures for the construction of an express railway line between Paris and the Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport.

The Commission received from France a notification of its plans to grant state aid to a joint venture between SNCF Réseau and Paris Aéroport, which will build and operate a direct express railway line between the Parisian train station Gare de l'Est and the Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport.

The total estimated cost of the project is €1.32 billion, with the new 32 kilometre line expected to start operations in 2023. The aid will be provided in the form of a tax-free grant, to be financed by a levy imposed from 2024 on all air passengers using the Charles-de-Gaulle airport (except passengers in transit).

In addition, a state guarantee type mechanism (known as "cession Dailly acceptée") will guarantee payment of the concessionaire's loans.

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SAUDI ARABIA: The Haramain Express Train has run a successful trip from King Abdullah City in Rabigh to Madinah at speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour (km/h), Arab News reported.

The project — which will connect Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah’s airport and King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh — will be completed by the end of 2017, said the chairman of the Public Transport Authority, Rumaih bin Mohammed Al-Rumaih, who is also acting head of the Saudi Railways Organization (SRO).

The 450km line is expected to cut travel between Mecca and Jeddah to 21 minutes, Jeddah to King Abdulaziz Airport to 14 minutes, King Abdulaziz Airport to Rabigh to 36 minutes and Rabigh to Madinah to 61 minutes.

Saudi’s General Investment Fund (GIF) has financed and facilitated the implementation of the project.

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UK: In the first collaboration of its kind, Heathrow Express has launched an exclusive €15 ticket in conjunction with the new British Airways’ “Day Tripper” fare this month.

Saving more than 60% off the turn up and go price, the exclusive day return fares will be available on Saturdays and Sundays for passengers flying into London Heathrow from Milan, Paris and Berlin on the British Airways €99 fare in Euro Traveller (economy) and the €199 fare in Club Europe (business class).

In addition, children aged 15 and under travel free on Heathrow Express at all times.

Fraser Brown Director of Heathrow Express said: “This is a first for Heathrow Express and British Airways. We are delighted to launch this exclusive ticket offer and are committed to supporting British Airways in their endeavours to attract more visitors to London for business or pleasure.

“The UK capital has been named the top destination for shoppers this summer, and we know day trippers want to connect to the centre of London as quickly as possible. These fares not only offer the best price but also the fastest route into the heart of the capital.

“We continue to offer flexible pricing to our customers and airline partnerships continue to be a priority for our commercial expansion.”

Avios can also be earned on flights and Heathrow Express tickets.

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CANADA: Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca announced that the province has commenced the GO Rail Network Electrification Transit Project Assessment Process. The process builds on public consultations held last year and will assess the environmental impacts of converting core segments of the GO rail network, including the UP Express, from diesel to electric. It is a critical step towards enabling the province to begin the procurement process to select a vendor to electrify the system.

In tandem with the assessment process, Ontario is also undertaking a feasibility study on the use of hydrogen fuel cells as an alternative technology for electrifying GO rail service and the UP Express. Recent advances in the use of hydrogen fuel cells to power electric trains in other jurisdictions makes it important that Ontario consider this clean electric technology as an alternative to conventional overhead wires. As part of the study, this fall the province will bring together industry leaders in fuel cell technology for a symposium to explore the potential application of hydrogen fuel cell technology to electrify the GO rail network.

Ontario is undertaking a $21.3 billion transformation of the GO network, which is the largest commuter rail project in Canada. The investment will deliver faster and more frequent service, create thousands of jobs and improve people's quality of life. Ontario is on track to electrify and expand the rail network, and bring more two-way, all-day service to commuters and families by increasing the number of weekly trips from about 1,500 to nearly 6,000 by 2025.

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CANADA: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a federal investment of $1.283 billion from the long-term Investing in Canada infrastructure plan to support the Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM) light rail network in Montréal, connecting the airport with city centre. This announcement will make it possible to finalize the financing of the project and meet the construction schedule of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

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The Prime Minister also announced that, once the Canada Infrastructure Bank is established, it will be possible for the Province of Quebec and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec to identify the project as an opportunity for independent analysis and consideration by the Bank. If the Bank decides to move forward with an investment in the REM project, it will be possible for an investment to come from the Bank rather than Quebec’s transit allocation.

Once completed, this new, automated light rail network will include 27 stations, span 67 kilometres, and operate 20 hours a day, 7 days a week. It will link Montréal’s downtown to the West Island, South Shore, North Shore, and Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.

“The REM is one of the most ambitious public transportation projects in our history. In addition to making it quicker and easier for millions of Quebec residents to get around, the REM will reduce the number of cars on the roads, help ease traffic and make the air cleaner. The announcement today represents a big step toward improving the quality of life of Canadians and their families, creating good, well-paying jobs for the middle class and growing the economy,” Justin Trudeau said.

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EVENTS: Global AirRail Alliance and global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright co-hosted the first Airport Access Ideas Forum in London on Wednesday 7th of June 2017.

The interactive ideas forum focused on challenges and opportunities related to the provision of seamless access to national and international airports around the world, improving customer experience and reducing carbon emissions.

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Participants looked at how new technology and the sharing economy is changing road access and car parking businesses at airports, as well as opportunities for public transport and airport operators to form partnerships in order to deliver non-aeronautical revenue, improved customer experience and business development.

Duncan Field, partner, Norton Rose Fulbright, commented: “The progressive growth in air passenger numbers has created challenges for operators globally in ensuring easy access to their airports, and has meant that future proofing airport developments has become increasingly important. We see this already in the UK with road and rail improvements playing a central role in current and proposed airport expansion projects but new technology, ranging from drones that can transport passengers and their luggage, through to the increasing use of software applications and big data, have the potential to transform how passengers access airports and to create new commercial opportunities.”

“Airport Access Ideas Forum is bringing together professionals from the aviation and ground transport industries at the highest levels. The event format has taken an interactive shape to include all participants and to drive a more engaging discussion and product demonstrations,” Milda Manomaityte, Director of the Global AirRail Alliance said.

The post event report with the summary of discussions and recommendations to the industry will be released shortly.

Case Studies are available to download here:

Speakers at the Forum included

Pierre Becher, Head of Marketing, Distribusion Technologies
Distribusion Technologies launched its partnership with CarTrawler to expand airport bus offerings for airlines. The one-time integration adds pre-bookable rides of more than 100 airport and intercity bus carriers to CarTrawler’s ancillary revenue platform and will be merchandised to multiple airlines and 2,000 online travel retail partners.

John McGinty, Director, Public Transportation Partnerships, Mozio
Mozio recently launched its multimodal platform in Philadelphia, allowing individuals to compare, and book the airport rail line, on-demand, taxis, shuttles, and sedans all native on the same platform. It is the first major integration of public transit into the larger travel landscape. Mozio solicited the support of city leaders, the airport, the public transit agency, visitors’ bureau, and private suppliers.

Anita Neudeck, Senior Referent Innovation & Digitalization, Munich Airport and Geert Vanbeveren, Director Business Development Innovative Technologies Mobility Management, Siemens
Munich Airport and Siemens have developed an information service for passengers travelling from city centre to the airport, directly to the gate – and vice versa. The service offers guidance and indication of expected processing times at the airport, traffic jams on the road or delays on public transport. The service is based on Siemens SiMobility Connect, enabling integration of multiple mobility services like taxi, train, car-sharing, Lufthansa Airport Bus as well as real-time information on traffic.

Robert Cook, Managing Director, Blackstone Gates
Blackstone Gates has designed a global customer knowledge travel platform. This, together with smart data analytics, enables travel service providers a critical insight into a traveller’s preferences and context.

Clement Boussard, CEO, Stanley Robotics
Stanley Robotics has introduced France’s first automated valet service at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. No more wasting time finding a parking space. Passengers can drop off their cars close to the terminals, lock it and take the keys - the service does not need it. Once the car is ready, they just need to confirm the booking and Stan, the valet robot, comes to collect the vehicle and take it to a secure car park.

Nick Mallinson, Programme Manager, University of Warwick
Revolution Very Light Rail Vehicle project is developing a lighter, lower-cost, passenger friendly solution for linking heavy rail stations, airports and other hubs in the transport network to rural and suburban areas, in the first instance using segregated alignments to avoid inter-operability issues with conventional rail.

Mark Chestney, Head of Rail, Heathrow Airport and Dr. Chris Featherstone, Technical Expert, Heathrow Airport
ULTra Personal Rapid Transit is a centrally controlled synchronous system of light-weight guideway loops with offline stations, utilised by four-person, fully integrated, automated, battery-electric vehicles. It launched between Heathrow Terminal 5 and the Business Car Park in 2011. The system has been in full operation for over six years. Over 1.5 million journeys have carried over 2.3 million passengers.

Julianna Moats, Principal Systems Engineer, Rail Systems, WSP Group
A rail link between London Waterloo Station and Heathrow Airport has been on the Government’s major project radar for half a century. The difference between this proposal and all others which have come before, or come since: this is a regeneration project, not a rail link project. The London Borough of Hounslow commissioned WSP for a feasibility study for the southern rail access link.

Glyn Jones, CEO, Stobart Aviation
Since acquiring London Southend Airport, Stobart Group has invested over £140 million to transform it from a small regional operation catering for just 47,000 passengers annually, into a facility with capacity for five million annual passengers that has won Which? UK’s award for customer satisfaction three years running.

Priit Koff, Head of Corporate Communications and Business Development, Tallinn Airport
Rail Baltic is a high-speed railway project linking Tallinn (Estonia), Riga (Latvia) and Kaunas (Lithuania) to the Polish border, thus providing access to the 1435mm standard gauge railway network in continental Europe. This is part of the TEN-T North Sea-Baltic transport corridor to be completed after 2025. The first step towards the implementation of this project is the soon-to-be completed light rail/tram access to Tallinn Airport, scheduled to open for in August/September 2017.

Henrik Rothe, Senior Lecturer Air Transport Management, Cranfield University
Urban turbine is aiming to reduce the un-manned travel to and from airports by establishing a variety of innovative public transport systems and offering alternative uses for airports. This includes new job definitions and forms of their execution.

Alex Kirkwood, Associate Partner, Weston Williamson
Future sustainable cities will need to be built around efficient transport infrastructure. Environmental strategies and planning authority policies will become increasingly important if we are to achieve sustainable growth. Cities will be more attuned with nature, incorporating extensive natural landscape, reducing energy, water consumption and enhancing bio diversity.

Gavin Wicks, Head of Transport Planning, London City Airport
To become a Major East London transport hub London City Airport needs to create an interchange for international, national and local travel for people in London and the South-East. The Silvertown Crossrail station supports the Mayor’s vision for strategic growth by maximising the regeneration potential of the Royal Docks Area as well as providing faster links to key London employment areas, and unlocking more land for homes and businesses.

Notes to Editors

Global AirRail Alliance
The Global AirRail Alliance (GARA) is an international organisation that joins rail operators, airports, airlines and suppliers from around the world who work on creating seamless travel experience between air and rail. Global AirRail Alliance was set up to deliver dedicated, information and international events for the air-rail market mainly focusing on integration of rail with airports, recognising global trends in seamless travel infrastructure and information. The air-rail market is a leader in innovation and partnerships creating seamless travel, integrating different transport modes, innovating in e-ticketing and passenger information systems.

Norton Rose Fulbright
Norton Rose Fulbright is a global law firm. We provide the world’s preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. We have more than 3500 lawyers and other legal staff based in more than 50 cities across Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Norton Rose Fulbright will combine with Chadbourne & Parke, a leading international law firm, during the second quarter of 2017. Norton Rose Fulbright's expanded practice will have more than 1000 lawyers in the US and 4000 lawyers worldwide.

Recognized for our industry focus, we are strong across all the key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and healthcare.

Wherever we are, we operate in accordance with our global business principles of quality, unity and integrity. We aim to provide the highest possible standard of legal service in each of our offices and to maintain that level of quality at every point of contact.

Norton Rose Fulbright Verein, a Swiss verein, helps coordinate the activities of Norton Rose Fulbright members but does not itself provide legal services to clients. Norton Rose Fulbright has offices in more than 50 cities worldwide, including London, Houston, Toronto, Sydney and Johannesburg.
For more information, see

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UK: The High Court has ruled in favour of the Office or Road and Rail (ORR) agreeing that Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) is not permitted to introduce all of its proposed new charges for train operators to use its track, which links Heathrow Airport to the Great Western main line.

20 years ago, Heathrow Airport has spent £1bn building the five-mile rail link connecting Heathrow Express to the Great Western mainline.

Four Crossrail trains an hour will run between Paddington and Heathrow Terminals 2 and 4, replacing Heathrow Connect trains from May 2018.

HAL has proposed that each Crossrail train should pay a levy or toll for the use of its track and stations serving the airport.

ORR had decided Heathrow couldn’t charge trains for using the line, saying it would cost around £42m a year.

Heathrow Airport Limited then launched a judicial review of this decision and after a three day hearing, the High Court has dismissed airport’s application and uphold ORR’s decision.

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Mike Bones, Senior Consultant at North Star Consultancy

OPINION: The theme of the recent UITP Transport Summit which took place in Montreal was ‘Lead the Transition’ and whilst there were some excellent presentations and workshops where this was at the helm, Montreal itself has some work to do to make their own transport network work more collaboratively.

The Montreal Metro System (inspired by the Paris Metro) was inaugurated in 1966. It is therefore surprising, that there is still no metro service linking the airport to downtown Montreal. A Blue Line extension has been proposed and has been in the pipeline for several years and is still a priority for the Mayor of Montreal and Société de transport de Montréal (STM). However, this proposal faces conflicting budget and political pressure from the Federal Government with their preferred priority of a light rail line.

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Therefore, alighting passengers at the airport requiring public transport into downtown Montreal are faced with a single option of the regular 747 bus. Whilst this operates on a 24/7 basis for a flat fee of $10, it seems a somewhat inefficient and rudimentary option of transportation, if compared to other major international cities. The bus must negotiate its journey into town via an already congested road network and therefore can take between 45-60 minutes, for what is a distance of only 9 miles.

Taxis are a rather expensive option at a fixed fare of $40 so the demand for the 747 buses is high, but this does not give visitors a very good first impression to Montreal’s transport system or the city for that matter. It is hard to think of any other major cities where the city centres are not connected to the airport via some type of rail system. Montreal needs to bite the bullet and extend the metro, not at the expense of the alternative mass transit system but as a pre-cursor and, subsequently, as a complementary option. To make this happen, there needs to be alignment between federal and local government to agree on a joined-up plan that will allow both options to be funded and developed within their own differing timescales, synergising where appropriate.

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AUSTRALIA: The Forrestfield-Airport Link is a step closer to reality with a construction site now established and work underway at the Airport Central Station.

The construction site at the Perth Airport, located near the control tower, will be ready for the tunnel boring machine to start travelling through in early 2018.

The tunnel boring machine will first break ground in Forrestfield in late July, starting its two-year journey to Bayswater. Three new stations will be built as part of the new rail link - Belmont Station, Airport Central Station and Forrestfield Station. Perth Airport users will have access to a direct 18-minute train journey to the central business district.

The works at Perth Airport coincide with the release of artist impressions of Airport Central Station. The underground station has been designed to create a seamless journey to the airport terminals via an elevated walkway. The station has a striking roof shape inspired by the aerodynamic features of aircraft with ample natural light to the concourse and platform levels.

The Forrestfield-Airport Link project is closely aligned with Perth Airport's redevelopment plans to consolidate the domestic and international airport terminals. Works have begun at the airport to construct the underground station box structure adjacent to the existing airport control tower. Like most stations on the Transperth network, the station will have lifts, stairs, escalators, toilets, ticketing and information services, a kiosk and customer service staff.

The Forrestfield-Airport Link is expected to be completed in late 2020.

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MALAYSIA: KLIA Ekspres was awarded the Outstanding Green Air Rail Transport by the Malaysia Canada Business Council (MCBC). The Business Excellence Award Gala Dinner was held in conjunction with MCBC’s 25th Anniversary to honour and recognise industry leaders and influential entrepreneurs in bilateral and global commerce.

The award was presented by Deputy Minister of International Trade, YB Datuk Chua Tee Yong and witnessed by Her Excellency Judith St George, the High Commissioner for Canada. Accepting the award on behalf of ERL was the Chief Executive Officer, Noormah Mohd Noor.

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“We are thrilled that KLIA Ekspres is positively recognised for its green contribution in the transport industry. This award is a testament to our ongoing commitment in complying with the Environmental Management System,” said Noormah at the Gala Dinner.

“We would also like to thank our passengers for their continuous support and trusting KLIA Ekspres as their preferred mode of transfer. Our passengers also reduce their carbon footprint when they choose to travel on KLIA Ekspres,” Noormah said.

Every year, passengers help save 44,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions when they travel by KLIA Ekspres. ERL’s wholly-owned operations and maintenance company, ERL Maintenance Support Sdn Bhd has been certified ISO 14001:2004 compliant for Environmental Management System. The operations of KLIA Ekspres are also in compliance with the country’s Environmental Quality Act 1974.

This recent recognition will help KLIA Ekspres educate the public on how trains are among the most environmentally sustainable transportation mode.

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CANADA: Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne has announced that the province is moving forward with the preliminary design work on the speed rail along the Toronto-Windsor corridor and is investing $15 million in a comprehensive environmental assessment. Ontario will establish a new governing body to oversee the ambitious work required to design and implement high speed rail.

The announcement comes as the province releases a new report by David Collenette, Ontario's Special Advisor on high speed rail. In 2015, Collenette was asked to assess the project's feasibility. After extensive consultations, his report has concluded that there is a business case for high speed rail along the Toronto-Windsor corridor and that there are opportunities to engage the private sector in financing and delivering the project.

High speed rail could cut travel times between Toronto and Windsor from four hours to just over two. Proposed stops on the new HSR line include Windsor, Chatham, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph and Toronto, with a connection to Pearson International Airport.

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The report recommends connecting Pearson International Airport to the high speed rail via expanded Malton GO Station, which will be linked to the airport terminals via people-mover system.

"The GTAA is very pleased to see the government moving ahead with this important initiative given the benefits that a link to Toronto Pearson would bring," said Howard Eng, Greater Toronto Airports Authority President and CEO. "A high-speed rail service along this corridor would provide vital regional connections and help to relieve the congestion that today is stifling our economy and impacting the quality of life for all Ontarians. It could also be a key building block in support of Toronto Pearson's mega hub vision and would move us one step closer to making an integrated regional transit centre at Toronto Pearson a reality."

In early 2016, the GTAA announced plans to develop a regional transit centre to connect the airport area to key employment and residential areas throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe. In addition to serving as a connector for airport passengers to surrounding regions, the transit centre at Toronto Pearson would provide crucial connectivity to the 300,000 workers in the Airport Employment Zone, the second-largest employment area in the country.

A request for bids for the design required to support the Environmental Assessment for the full length of the Toronto-Windsor corridor will be issued this fall.

Download the full report here:

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USA: NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) selected WSP (former WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff) to conduct preliminary engineering and other planning work for a new AirTrain connection to LaGuardia Airport.

The firm’s work will take a major step forward in advancing the LaGuardia AirTrain project – which will create a much-needed rail link to the airport.

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LaGuardia is currently the only major East Coast airport without rail access. By 2030, the number of passengers at LaGuardia is expected to increase by more than 6 million annually and the AirTrain is essential to accommodate that growth. WSP will lead the preliminary planning work for three different components of the project:

  • Construction of up to two new AirTrain stations at the new terminal buildings at the airport
  • Construction of an AirTrain station at Willets Point
  • Construction related to the “right-of-way” for the train from the airport to Willets Point

"The new AirTrain will improve passenger experience, reduce traffic congestion and serve as a key part of the modernization and transformation of LaGuardia into a world-class airport," Governor Cuomo said. "LaGuardia Airport is an essential part of New York’s economy and transportation network, and by providing additional transit options we will support new economic opportunities and growth throughout the region.”

The LaGuardia AirTrain will serve a high-tech three-station complex at Willets Point. The station complex will create a seamless transfer for passengers between completely new LIRR and 7-line subway stations to be built over the next five years at Willets Point and the new AirTrain stop.

WSP’s mandate is to develop plans and to engineer the easiest possible transfer of MTA passengers with luggage to and from the AirTrain. The LaGuardia AirTrain link with the LIRR will provide a guaranteed 30-minute ride to the airport from Midtown Manhattan’s two rail hubs – Grand Central and Penn Stations – as well as access to commuters coming from Long Island.

Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said, "LaGuardia Airport is the only major airport in the region without direct rail transit access. With passenger demand expected to reach 34 million annually at LaGuardia by 2030, providing mass transit access to the airport is fundamental to transforming it into a world-class facility that supports future growth, while reducing roadway congestion and resulting emissions."

WSP will analyze and assess alignment alternatives, conduct a geotechnical review, create a conceptual design for both the train right-of-way and the stations, and develop cost estimates for the project. As part of the planning work, the firm also will conduct a detailed ridership analysis, analyze public-private partnerships and other options to identify the most advantageous financing plan for the AirTrain, as well as evaluate expanded parking and centralized car rental operations at a new Willets Point station complex.

Reliable and efficient rail service to and from the airport is critical to manage on-site airport parking, improve drop off and pick up activities at the terminal frontages and reduce congestion on and off the airport, including on the Grand Central Parkway – the main artery to and from the airport – and nearby neighborhood streets.

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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: With over 160 million passengers expected to use London’s airports this year, London Southend Airport has compared data for each of the locations to see which would win in a race to the city.

The race started at an origin common to all the main airports and one of the most popular – Amsterdam. It ended at a London icon –the Stock Exchange (or at the platform you would step on to at nearest tube, St Paul’s, when arriving by London Underground).

To calculate the race times, London Southend Airport added together the flight time, aircraft taxi time from touch down to gate, walking time from gate to airport exit and public transport from the airport exit to the platform at St Paul’s. This gave a total time for each airport.

Southen Race infogr web

First was London City Airport, taking 70 minutes in total from Amsterdam to the London Stock Exchange. This is based on a 26-minute flight time, 3 minutes of aircraft taxi time from touch down to gate, a gate to exit walking time of 5 minutes, followed by public transport from the airport exit to St Paul’s tube station of 36 minutes.

London Southend wasn’t far behind, with a total journey time of 99 minutes, comprised of a 24-minute flight, five-minute aircraft taxi and a walk of just three minutes from the gate. The final leg, 67 minutes of public transport to St Paul’s, is by far the longest part of the journey.

Despite the speed and convenience of the Heathrow Express, London’s biggest airport only comes third in this race to the city. That’s down to a lengthy 10-minute aircraft taxi time and a 15-minute walk from the gate, as well as the 52 minutes of public transport needed to get to St Paul’s. In total it should take 104 minutes from Amsterdam.

Gatwick was up next with timings as follows: 27 mins (flight), 10 mins (aircraft taxi), 22 mins (walk from gate to exit), plus 62 mins (public transport to St. Paul’s). Total – 121 minutes.

Stansted: 25 mins (flight), 10 mins (aircraft taxi), 9 mins (walk from gate), plus 69 minutes to St. Paul’s from Stansted. Total: 113 minutes.

And Luton: 26 mins (flight), 6 mins (aircraft taxi), 6 mins (walk from gate), plus 87 mins (public transport from airport exit to St Paul’s – which includes the shuttle bus from the airport to the train station). Total – 126 minutes.

So, the line-up of London Airports, ranked in terms of time from Amsterdam, right into the heart of the city, is as follows:

  1. City (70 minutes)
  2. London Southend (99 minutes)
  3. Heathrow (104 minutes)
  4. Stansted (113 minutes)
  5. Gatwick (121 minutes)
  6. Luton (126 minutes)

Glyn Jones, CEO of Stobart Aviation (which owns London Southend Airport) commented: “I am a fan of London City airport, and am not surprised to see it top the table, but it has some interesting challenges. It only operates half days at weekends, and between the hours of 06:30 and 22:30 during weekdays. A number of aircraft types are restricted at London City because of noise levels and operational constraints. Visibility and wind are a big issue, something I know for a fact, as London Southend takes more than its fair share of the resulting diverts. But that aside, it is an excellent airport serving London’s financial centre well.

“I was, of course, very interested to see where our own airport, London Southend, figured in the table in terms of the Race to the City. For me, coming second is encouraging and a good start, but it’s still not good enough. London deserves better. Our flagship airport is, without doubt, Heathrow, yet it is ‘mid-table’, at best, on this all-important metric of getting into London. After all, it’s London the arriving passengers want, not the airport!

“So here’s a thought: let’s introduce rail franchises to airports and make it easier for airports to bid for them. At London Southend, we operate our own train station, but what about the rail franchise too? We could tailor the service specifically with the needs of the air passenger in mind, reduce stops, reduce waiting times in between services and reduce further the time into the centre of London.

“Clearly, our service at London Southend is already pretty good but “good, is the enemy of great.” And to become great, we need to reduce air traffic delays, cut taxiing times at airports, minimise transit and immigration times on arrivals and, yes, contribute far more fully to surface access provision. Operating our own rail franchises would be one start point, improving transparency of information to the consumer, as we do here, so that passenger choices are as well informed as they can be, is another. In the end, we have to put the customer at the heart of all we do. It’s how we try to operate London Southend but don’t take my word for it. The next time you travel to or from Amsterdam, give my race a try, and fly superfast through London Southend Airport.”

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SWEDEN: Arlanda Express has been yet again recognised as a company that provides the best service in Sweden offering land-based transport. This is the fifth consecutive year that Arlanda Express has claimed the top spot in ServiceScore’s nationwide survey among Swedish customers and consumers.

ServiceScore® measures how Swedish consumers perceive customer responsiveness and service among companies offering land-based transport.

“All companies can offer a high level of service for one or two years if they really put their minds to it. But maintaining a top level year after year requires commitment, which is something that most lack. Our personnel are quite simply outstanding,” says Per Thorstenson, CEO of Arlanda Express.

Arlanda Express has also won awards for its commitment in the area of diversity, and its staff speak 25 languages.