Fast services from central London to Stansted are to be a priority for Network Rail, its new chairman has indicated.
Sir Peter Hendy, who joined from Transport for London to run the state-controlled track and station operator, has said that Network Rail intends to double the number of lines out of northeast London to four.
The disclosure came as it emerged that former Labour transport secretary Lord Adonis is to be confirmed as head of a new national infrastructure commission to help drive through projects such as airports.
The commission, to be confirmed by chancellor George Osborne at the Conservative party conference in Manchester, will make recommendations on which major projects are in the “national interest”, deciding “calmly and dispassionately what the country needs to build for its future,” the Times reported.
However, a decision on whether to allow a third runway at Heathrow will be explicitly excluded from Lord Adonis’s remit, according to the newspaper.
The prime minister has promised to make a final decision on the recommendations of the Airports Commission, which backed Heathrow expansion, by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, a broadening of the Stansted line prompted a row last year when Network Rail indicated that it might not get round to significant upgrade work on the West Anglia line until 2040.
The company was criticised by Airports Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies and London mayor Boris Johnson, which prompted a review.
Sir Peter said: “We are looking at enhanced infrastructure to improve line speeds and therefore improve journey times between London and Cambridge/Stansted airport and four-tracking to facilitate service frequency enhancements and faster services from Cambridge and Stansted travelling into London Liverpool Street.”
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