Rail links to Stansted airport

The RDS international committee is hoping to organise a conference on rail access to rapidly growing Stansted airport. WAGN runs a good service from London Liverpool Street and Central Trains runs some trains in from Cambridge and the North but, ironically for an airport in the East of England, there is no rail access from the East.

A rail line could be reopened from Braintree but perhaps it is time to think radical and consider a completely new rail alignment from Chelmsford which would tap into an enormous market. Both Great Eastern and Anglia could then serve Stansted. Unfortunately the Labour Government gave the go-ahead for upgrading the A120 road without considering options of improving rail links. Of course the East-West rail link which the Government is still prevaricating over could also serve Stansted by the addition of one curve.

The committee's intention of creating a database of travel agents who are good at selling European rail tickets has faltered because members with the necessary skills and equipment are too busy on other projects. If you can help, please contact Railwatch editor Ray King. One of the first trains through the Channel Tunnel was a class 319 Thameslink unit which is equipped with both third-rail electrical pick-ups and a 25kV overhead pantograph but since then only Eurostars and Eurotunnel shuttle trains have carried passengers.

We often ask why ordinary trains could not run between, say, Ashford and Amiens through the Channel Tunnel. Public transport is not just about carrying business travellers between city centres. Connex, with its French connections, could run its trains through the Channel Tunnel. It even has some dual-voltage class 319s.

The next meeting of the international committee was scheduled for 23 January. Contact John Barfield 0171 474 5722

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