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Crossrail 2 plan boosts case for Stansted air hub

London First lobby group’s plans would increase rail services to the Essex airport


Stansted: Would benefit from better rail links

The case for Stansted to become a four runway aviation hub for London was significantly boosted this week after plans for a £12bn Crossrail 2 line connecting the airport to the city centre were published.

Last October Stansted emerged as a possible candidate to replace Heathrow as London’s hub airport along with two sites in the Thames estuary (NCE 11 October 2012).

The Greater London Authority (GLA) is consulting on the best location for a new 24-hour four runway hub airport for the capital (see box). This work will be fed into the Department for Transport’s Davies Commission review of UK aviation policy due to be published in 2015.

“Current rail services to Stansted restrict its expansion”

John Vincent, Aecom

Aecom global transportation strategic planning and advisory director John Vincent said the Crossrail 2 proposals have opened up the case for Stansted.

“It becomes more viable from a transportation aspect,” he said. “I think it has already emerged as GLA’s plan B option if a Thames Estuary airport is not viable.”

“Current rail services to Stansted restrict its expansion,” added Vincent.

Stansted is currently served by four trains an hour from Liverpool Street station, with a journey time of 50 minutes. Crossrail 2 would provide a faster, direct link to major central London stations such as Euston, St Pancras, Tottenham Court Road and Victoria. At this stage it is not known what the Crossrail 2 journey time from central London will be.

London mayor Boris Johnson strongly hinted that Crossrail 2 would fit his hub airport criteria.

“A four runway hub is indispensable for London,” he said. “I don’t think we are going to get that at Heathrow, so an airport in Essex fits into what we are trying to do.” Johnson was speaking at the launch of the Crossrail 2 proposal which was produced by business lobby group London First.

The proposed route, which runs from south west to north east London features a 24km long tunnel between Wimbledon and Hackney. It was drawn up by a working group chaired by former transport secretary Lord Adonis and including Transport for London representatives

From Hackney, the line is to connects with the Greater Anglia line at Tottenham Hale, giving direct access to Stansted airport.

Manchester Airports Group bought Stansted airport for £1.5bn last month after the Competition Commission ordered previous operator Heathrow Ltd to sell it.

Stansted refused to be drawn on whether it wanted to become a major hub airport.

“Stansted Airport’s strategy is to drive growth and fill the available capacity on the existing single runway,” said a Stansted Airport spokesman.

But the spokesman said the airport was keen to improve its rail connectivity.

“Our current focus is the ‘Stansted in 30’ campaign [for a 30 minute train journey between Liverpool Street and Stansted] we have launched to improve the reliability and journey times on the rail line between the airport and London. Better rail links will help Stansted attract more passengers and airlines,” said the spokesman.


TFL to evaluate south east airport proposals

London mayor Boris Johnson has appointed consultant Atkins and architect Zaha Hadid to help develop plans for a new hub airport in south east England.

Atkins will lead three of six packages of work: airport design and infrastructure; surface access; and environmental impacts. The firm will work with architects Pascall & Watson and Zaha Hadid Architects on the airport design and infrastructure work package.

The team will evaluate around 15 different proposals for a hub airport in the south east, producing a shortlist in the next couple of weeks.

Atkins will then work on a detailed feasibility of the shortlisted options ready for Johnson to submit a recommendation to the Davies Commission on air capacity in south east England.

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