The Government has committed to a full feasibility study looking into the West Anglia Main Line. This follows a debate in the House of Commons which John Hayes MP called a ‘perfectly reasonable request’.
Representatives have been invited to the Department of Transport to discuss what that kind of study might look like.
Campaigners say that investing in the West Anglia Main Line will create tens of thousands of new jobs for areas of high unemployment, boost the high tech community based in the region the route serves and open up access to Stansted Airport.
Hayes made it clear that the Network Rail’s Anglia Route Study “is not set in stone” and he encourages “representations that will contribute to its evolution.” He said: “travel should be a joy, not a pain.” He recognised that on the West Anglia Line: “there is high and constant demand for rail services on a line with, as has been said, limited capacity.”
The Minister also committed to “a proper refurbishment” of existing rolling stock and that any new rolling stock on the route will: “be of the right order so that the quality of service that people enjoy is enhanced.”
London Stansted Corridor Consortium Chairman Greg Clark welcomed the historic news: “Our members will enthusiastically take up the Minister’s offer of a meeting at the Department to take this vital work forwards. Together, we can provide a credible plan for investment in the West Anglia rail corridor, deliver faster, more frequent, more reliable and better connected services and respond to population growth by supporting delivery of jobs and homes.”
Andrew Harrison, Managing Director, Stansted Airport, said:”The best way to unlock Stansted's potential, improve passenger experience and foster economic growth is by investing in the rail infrastructure to provide faster journeys, additional capacity and greater resilience.
“I'm delighted the Minister has recognised this potential and we look forward to working in partnership with the Department, Network Rail and others with a strong interest in the line between London and Cambridge to deliver investment in improved rail links’.