Published by Railfuture

Railwatch is the quarterly magazine of Railfuture, which is free to members.

Non-members can subscribe to Railwatch, receiving it by post.


Railwatch 081 - October 1999

From plane to train at Stansted

Two decades ago, RDS members appeared at a public inquiry into the development of Stansted Airport. We argued for a rail link to the airport, enabling trains to reach it from both the London and Cambridge directions. That subsequently happened.

Such action does not mean we automatically support unrestricted growth of air transport. For many journeys, high speed trains are a better option. That is why RDS campaigned for many years for the Channel Tunnel and why our international committee continues to press for it to be better exploited as part of a European rail network.

Travellers between Britain and the near Continent should be encouraged to go this way. There also remains a role for the classic rail/sea/rail combination on some routes.

However, air transport will still have a large share of international travel and so, in the recent public consultation on proposals to increase the passenger air traffic movement limit at Stansted, we did not object. Instead, we argued for improved public transport infrastructure and noted with approval the Department of Transport, Environment and the Regions' aim "to increase the proportion using public transport at Stansted."

Approval has since been given for passenger throughput to extend to ultimately 15 million per year. That in turn will create more jobs at the airport. The more of those workers who can be encouraged to commute in by train, the better. This was a point made by RDS representatives Richard Pout and David Bigg at the Essex Structure Plan hearing this summer.

Seventy per cent of the airport's main demand is said to be centred on London, and so an enhanced service to and from Liverpool Street is obviously important. But Silicon Fen (also known as Cambridgeshire) is not far away, and there will be increased demand for better rail services from there to the airport. A reopened St Ives line will have a part to play there - and so naturally we continue to argue against proposals to turn it into a busway or a toll road.

Extending the airport branch eastwards to Braintree to link up with the Great Eastern network is another way of improving its infrastructure and - incidentally - making new journeys possible, such as Ipswich to Harlow or Harwich to Bishops Stortford. Our studies suggest this would cost £42 million, compared to an estimated £87 million for road improvements along that corridor. In the short term, however, more can be done to integrate the Colchester-Stansted Rail Link Coach service into the rest of the network; and ideas like interchangeability of rail and coach tickets between Cambridge and the airport are worth exploring.

RDS therefore organised an all-day conference for decision makers and opinion formers at the Marks Tey Hotel, Colchester on Wednesday 22 September. This was a relatively new departure for us, since most of our conferences to date have been on Saturdays and aimed principally at the voluntary sector. Speakers included MPs and managers from Railtrack and train operators as well as representatives of the voluntary sector.

Details of the conference will be published in the next issue of Railwatch.

Note: contact details (postal and email addresses, along with telephone numbers) in old editions of Railwatch out of date. Click CONTACT US for latest contact details.

[Issue 81 Index]

[Railwatch Home] [Prev Issue (80)] [Railwatch Issues] [RIS Progress Reports] [SRUBLUK Progress Reports] [Next Issue (82)] [Railfuture Home]

Rail users are encouraged to join Railfuture to help us campaign for a bigger and better railway - membership for individuals is just £20 per year

Railfuture is an independent, voluntary group representing rail users in Britain with 20,000 affiliated and individual members. It is not funded by train companies, political parties or trade unions, and all members have an equal say.

Railfuture campaigns for cheap and convenient rail services for everyone; better links for buses, bikes and pedestrians; policies to get more heavy lorries on to rail; new lines, stations and freight terminals. In short, a better rail service and a bigger rail system for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture is pro-rail but not anti-road or anti-air. However, we campaign for a switch from road and air to rail. We do not interfere in the running of the railway - we campaign for the quality and range of services provided, not how they are delivered. We are the only champion of all rail users.

Railfuture is the campaigning name of Railfuture Ltd.

A not-for-profit Company Limited by Guarantee.

Registered in England and Wales No. 05011634.

Registered Office: Edinburgh House, 1-5 Bellevue Road, Clevedon, North Somerset BS21 7NP (for legal correspondence only).

All other correspondence to 14 Ghent Field Circle, Thurston, Suffolk IP31 3UP

© Copyright Railfuture Ltd 2024.

Railfuture is happy for extracts to be used by journalists, researchers and students. We would, however, appreciate a mention of Railfuture in any article, website or programme. Except with Railfuture's express written permission, no one should distribute or commercially exploit the content.

Privacy Statement

Click Privacy to read Railfuture's GDPR statement on how we treat your data.


This site does not use its own cookies, although Google Analytics does. Hosted by TSO Host (cPanel) and maintained for Railfuture by Billing Specialists Ltd.