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Rail Capacity (London/Brimsdown)

Volume 551: debated on Thursday 18 October 2012

4. What recent representations he has received on investment for a third railway track between London, Liverpool Street and Brimsdown. (123211)

My hon. Friend refers to a small scheme involving a piece of extra track in the Brimsdown area. The Mayor of London wrote to the Secretary of State this week commending the alternative, but more expensive, scheme, which would also facilitate economic regeneration.

The Minister will know that the project enjoys substantial support from Network Rail, north London boroughs and the Mayor’s office. It is crucial to the development of north London, including for potentially up to 33% of new homes, and for more than 20,000 jobs. Will he meet me to discuss support for financial frontloading with resulting payback from local authorities, developers and stakeholders? Any expression of support would be welcome.

I will of course be delighted to meet my hon. Friend and any other colleagues he feels would be appropriate.

Accepting that half a loaf is better than no bread, will my hon. Friend nevertheless acknowledge that a much more substantial scheme for improving track capacity on that line is the only way to provide commuters and passengers travelling to or from Stansted airport with the kind of service that by now should be seen as essential—and may I join the meeting?

My right hon. Friend knows that the second high-level output specification package—HLOS 2 —commits Network Rail to providing extra capacity to meet peak demand in that area. Part of that will be done by having new trains between London, Bishop’s Stortford and Cambridge, and another part is sorting out the capacity constraints south of Broxbourne, which will help his constituents. I would of course be delighted if he joined the meeting.