Officials at Stansted Airport in Essex have welcomed plans by Network Rail to spend more than £2 billion improving the rail infrastructure in our region.
More than £35 billion is set to be invested across the UK, over the next five years.
Airport bosses hope the plans will help to make the 'Stansted in 30' campaign a reality.
Essex County Council also welcomed the announcement, acknowledging the need for an improved rail infrastructure for commuters, business and the economy in this region.
Derrick Louis, Essex County Councilor for Highways and Transportation said:
– Essex County Council
“Essex is planning significant growth over the next few years, which will place increased pressure on our rail network... We hope that the planned schemes and infrastructure improvements will increase the capacity and reliability of the rail service in our region, providing significant improvements to the infrastructure and rolling stock.
“While the proposed £2.2bn investment set out by Network Rail will cater for growth in the coming years, we believe that further investment will be needed for new railway infrastructure in the long-term, and we will continue to press for this”.
By next year passengers can expect trains to be less packed. A new flyover at Hitchin will carry trains from London to Cambridge over the main line, relieving a key bottleneck.
New platforms planned for Peterborough should increase capacity and reduce congestion there.
From 2014 new trains through the Intercity Express Programme will provide more seats, and £240m will be invested in key pinch points on the East Coast main line including Peterborough.
From next year services from Oxford to Bletchley and Milton Keynes Central will be reintroduced. The railway line between Oxford and Bedford via Bicester Town and Bletchley will also be electrified. But the plans are wrapped with a warning.
From 2024 the West Coast main line - as Britain's busiest and most economically vital rail artery - will be full with no more space to accommodate the expected growth in demand.
Network Rail believe HS2 would solve the capacity crunch set to face passengers and businesses on the line.
At the moment commuters have to settle for a diesel railway with an ageing infrastructure, by 2020 they'll get to travel on one of the most modern electric railways in Europe.
The overhead lines will be built using the latest technology for reliability and efficiency, whilst signalling will be controlled from Network Rail's state of the art control centre in Derby.
- £60m could be saved every year once the line is electrified from Bedford to Sheffield. This will also reduce carbon emissions by 13,000 tonnes annually.
- Thameslink: By 2018, there will be up to 24 services through central London as part of Thameslink, the majority of which will be 12-car trains. The Thameslink programme will also provide passengers from Cambridge with new trains and more destinations.
Anglia Route: lines out of Liverpool Street including Great Eastern main line
There are several big developments on this line. The completion of the overhead line upgrade on the Great Eastern main line, track renewal and new signalling is a major component of the 2014 - 2019 plans.
Another priority is finishing the Crossrail service from Shenfield to Liverpool Street.
That development will lead to:
- More seats and direct services to Thames Valley, central London and Heathrow Airport.
- New Crossrail station at Liverpool Street will free up platform space, enabling opportunities for more services on the Great Eastern main line.
In addition Network Rail are committed to examining how to improve journey times on the line.