West Anglia Taskforce lays out track ahead

16 February 2016

Track improvements to rail links between London, Cambridge and Stansted Airport would bring tens of thousands of new homes and jobs, and provide a real boost to economic growth.


That was the message from the West Anglia Taskforce as they held a meeting with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to highlight the weight of demand that is building for two new rail tracks to be added between London and Hertfordshire, and called for more businesses to back their vision.


The Taskforce, which was established as part of the Chancellor and the Mayor’s long term economic plan for London, has seen strong support from business groups and councils in the last year as they build on a case presented by Transport for London (TfL) and the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium (LSCC) to Network Rail in June.


Now the Taskforce, which comprises groups including Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, South East LEP and Stansted Airport, has highlighted their need for more business support as they outlined how the additional lines would lead to faster journeys, more regular trains and, with Crossrail 2, a more than doubling of current capacity.


The improvement would help support growth and businesses across London, Stansted Airport and Cambridge, and take a first step towards Crossrail 2, the proposed railway linking the south west and north east London. Delivered in the early 2030s, Crossrail 2 could unlock up to 80,000 new homes and more than 45,000 new jobs along this stretch of the line, as it helps to relieve the severe capacity constraints on the approaches to Liverpool Street and Stratford.


Four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line, combined with and a clear commitment to Crossrail 2, would bring early delivery of around 20,000 homes and 10,000 jobs to the area.


The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: “We knew substantial investment into the West Anglia Main Line had the potential to unleash growth in London and beyond, and now the Taskforce is proving the real economic impact it will make. Expanding the line can unlock tens of thousands of vital new homes and jobs for our expanding population, and take a huge first step towards the arrival of Crossrail 2. Now we want to see even more businesses from across the region step forward and back our vision for this vital new infrastructure.”


Services on the West Anglia Main Line are currently severely hampered by a two-track stretch from Coppermill Junction (just South of Tottenham Hale) and Broxbourne Junction in Hertfordshire. By adding two further tracks the route could deliver an additional four trains per hour to some stops and significantly reduce journey times from Cambridge to London. This would help rail passengers along the whole line, in all directions, at all times of day.


The region is expected to grow by over a half a million people and 210,000 jobs by 2031, but without improvement to the rail link, the Taskforce is warning of housing pressures, labour shortages, pressure on growth and access to Stansted Airport.


Chair of the Taskforce Sir Alan Haselhurst MP said: “Private sector input is essential if we are to achieve urgent improvements to this important railway line. Only then will we be able to meet the interests of the growing number of people living and working along its length. This is a line that is vital to the prosperity of the area, and the growth of Stansted Airport adds to that urgency.”


Improvements would spur the delivery of thousands of new homes and jobs right along the line, as well as support aspirations for the corridor to become a focus for technology and bioscience-led economic growth in the “golden triangle” of London, Cambridge and Oxford. This would also help unlock the full potential Stansted Airport’s available runway capacity, making it a more attractive option to new airlines and stimulate investment in an area of Greater London with huge untapped potential.


It is also a vital precursor for Crossrail 2, which would allow up to 30 trains per hour in each direction to cross central London and connect into the region’s existing transport network. Delivered in the early 2030s, Crossrail 2 has been estimated to boost the UK economy by up to £102bn, as well as supporting over 200,000 new homes and jobs. The early delivery of four-tracking will ensure that this growth can be kick-started ahead of Crossrail 2 opening.

Notes to editors

1.         The Taskforce was announced by the Mayor and the Chancellor in February 2015 as part of their long term economic plan for London. It first met in September 2015 and will report its initial findings to the Government and Network Rail in summer 2016.


2.         The West Anglia Main Line runs from Liverpool Street and Stratford to Stansted Airport and Cambridge, linking together the West Anglia Main Line 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.


3.         Sir Alan Haselhurst MP is Chair of the Taskforce and Fiona Fletcher-Smith is Chair of the Taskforce’s Working Group.


4.         For more information on the West Anglia Taskforce, including Terms of Reference and its members, please visit this website: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/transport/west-anglia-taskforce


5.         The West Anglia Taskforce also has a Twitter account: @WestAngliaTF


6.         For more information about Crossrail 2, visit www.crossrail2.co.uk