London mayor Boris Jonson has added his weight behind calls for improved rail links between the capital and Stansted.
Upgrading the line carrying the Stansted Express train service was not among priorities put forward by Network Rail in a 30-year regional plan last autumn, mentioned only on a wish-list out to beyond 2040.
Airports Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies criticised Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne for having ignored the commission’s findings that rail links to Stansted must be improved as a priority.
Johnson is also backing a four-track solution, which could allow fast trains between the City and Stansted to run at around 20 minutes, less than half the current journey time.
“There is a strong nationally important case to be made for four-tracking … as a precursor to Crossrail 2,” the mayor wrote in a letter to Carne that has been seen by The Times, in which he added that he was “disappointed that it has not been fully assessed”.
“Massively improving journey times and reliability between London Stansted and Cambridge [will] support the government’s aspiration for Cambridge to become an economic powerhouse, part of improving the links between the ‘golden triangle’ of London, Cambridge and Oxford and improving surface links to Stansted,” he wrote.
A spokesman for Stansted owner Manchester Airports Group told the newspaper: “Unlike other London airports, Stansted has spare runway capacity today and significant room to grow in the future.
“It is vital that faster rail services are delivered between London and Stansted to ensure that this potential is utilised, and it is encouraging that the mayor recognises this.
“We have identified a clear solution for speeding up train services to Stansted. It is now time to get on and deliver these improvements.”
Network Rail said it would consider all the responses to its present consultation.
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