Taskforce calls for substantial investment in West Anglia Main Line

20 July 2016

Rail infrastructure on the West Anglia Main Line between London, Cambridge and Stansted Airport makes services slow, unreliable and does not have the capacity to cater for more passengers and new housing without substantial investment to coincide with the introduction of Crossrail 2.

That is the verdict of the West Anglia Taskforce who says that new funding must be secured to build a further two tracks between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne as an early phase of Crossrail 2. That work will also help accelerate the delivery of 25,000 new homes and up to 10,000 new jobs.

The Taskforce, which was established by the Government and City Hall, has today (Wednesday 20 July) published a report in which it calls for investment to address transport constraints that would provide a faster and more reliable rail service. It says it would add up to £15bn to the region’s economy and provide an additional four trains per hour to some stops and significantly reduce journey times from Cambridge to London. 

The Taskforce has been working closely with four Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across this area – the London Enterprise Panel, Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough, South East and Hertfordshire – that recognise the importance of investment in the West Anglia Main Line. The LEPs have joined together to make a case to Government via their Growth Deals to secure funding for vital improvements, which are due to be submitted later this month.

Investment in the West Anglia Main Line will also take a first step towards Crossrail 2, the proposed railway linking Surrey and Hertfordshire through the south west and north east of London and would improve access to more than 170 destinations worldwide at Stansted Airport.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I have been clear about my commitment to Crossrail 2 and the benefits this will bring to the capital. But it is crucial that we secure funding to upgrade the West Anglia Main Line before the construction of Crossrail 2 begins. That will help us unlock investment that will support vital new housing development in north London.”

The Taskforce is also working on a plan for short and medium term improvements that can be implemented in advance of ‘four-tracking’ on the line and will be discussing these with the new East Anglia Rail Passenger franchise operator. There will also be talks with businesses about the potential for private sector investment to support improvements and the Taskforce will report back its findings in the autumn.

Chair of the Taskforce, Sir Alan Haselhurst MP, said: “The need for investment in the West Anglia Main Line is overwhelmingly clear. With the right investment, spectacular growth from inner London through the Upper Lee Valley, Hertfordshire, Harlow, Stansted Airport and all the way to the outstanding University of Cambridge could be unleashed.

“Companies across the corridor deserve the best possible rail network; people travelling to work require reliability and London’s third largest airport for passengers and employees alike, needs a high quality link to the capital.

“I look forward to working with the new East Anglia franchise operator and reporting back in the autumn on the specific gains which investment in our rail infrastructure will bring.”

- Ends -

Notes to editors

  • The West Anglia Main Line runs from Liverpool Street and Stratford to Stansted Airport and Cambridge, linking together the London Stansted Cambridge Corridor and passing through identified growth areas such as the Upper Lee Valley (London’s largest Opportunity Area), Harlow Enterprise Zone and Cambridge Compass Enterprise Zone.
  • Four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne is necessary for Crossrail 2 and forms part of the scope of that project.
  • Early delivery of four-tracking by 2026 in advance of Crossrail 2 would provide additional stopping services to Stratford, up to 3,800 extra seats between Cambridge and Liverpool Street in the morning, faster journeys, improved reliability and accelerated delivery of up to 25,000 new homes and 10,000 new jobs along the corridor.
  • The introduction of Crossrail 2 in 2033 will see 12 new trains per hour for all stops between Broxbourne and Tottenham Hale and faster journeys to central London including the West End. Crossrail 2 will unlock 100,000 new homes in the corridor and 45,000 new jobs.
  • Before implementation of four-tracking in 2026, the Taskforce wants to see improvements to journey times, customer experience and station and local access improvements. It will work with the new East Anglia Rail Passenger franchisee to develop plans in more detail once the new franchise starts in October 2016
  • The West Anglia Taskforce comprises organisations from the public and private sectors along the whole corridor between London, Stansted and Cambridge. Membership includes the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, London Stansted Cambridge Consortium, Cambridge Ahead and Stansted Airport as well as the Greater London Authority and county councils and boroughs along the line. More information on the Taskforce, including a full list of members and Terms of Reference, can be found here: www.upgradewaml.co.uk
  • Sir Alan Haselhurst MP is Chair of the Taskforce and Fiona Fletcher-Smith is Chair of the Taskforce’s Working Group. Sir Alan Haselhurst MP is available for comment at the House of Commons on 020 7219 5214.
  • The West Anglia Taskforce also has a Twitter account: @WestAngliaTF