A major upgrade to the route between London and Stansted Airport is proposed by Railtrack in its 2000 Network Management Statement. The works will also benefit passengers accessing the airport from the North.
The Railtrack proposals involve adding a third line to the existing London Liverpool Street to Stansted and Cambridge line over a critical two track section between Broxbourne and Cheshunt in Hertfordshire. This third track will allow fast trains to overtake stopping services to provide capacity for additional trains and allow faster journey.
'It is part of a £90M programme for improvements to the route which Railtrack has elevated in its priorities, ' says BAA rail strategy director Paul Le Blond. In addition to the track upgrades, a second tunnel could be built into the airport in the longer term.
Le Blond suggests infrastructure works would be best handled by Railtrack rather than by a direct BAA investment. But with extra capacity, peak time service to London could match the four trains per hour service during the day.
An innovative funding approach might emerge for the second tunnel into Stansted. 'But that is at least five years away, ' says Le Blond.
Construction would be relatively straightforward involving a 6m or so diameter drive through a ridge on which the airport sits. The job would cost about £30M, suggests BAA, whose ownership of the land above would simplify consents and access.
BAA would also modernise the station and integrate it with the airport; at Liverpool Street it is looking to create an in-town check-in facility.