Thames Reach Airport Consortium

surface access   THAMES REACH AIRPORT

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    new orbital and tangential transport links


The Lower Thames Tunnel completes an outer orbital highway that connects the M11 at Stansted to the M2 at Rochester. This new and extended A130 provides dual carriageway access to the new airport from the eastern regions of England, both north and south of the Thames, without loading additional demand on to the M25.

The new A130 incorporates a stretch of the new A120 from Stansted to Great Dunmow, ten miles of new dual carriageway to be constructed from Great Dumow to the A12 at Chelmsford, the current A130 from Chelmsford to the Sadlers Farm Roundabout at Benfleet, the new Lower Thames Tunnel highway through to Kent and the A289 from Chattenden to the M2. The new ten-mile stretch of the A130 from Great Dunmow to Chelmsford is identified as a primary route in the Essex County Council Structure Plan, and is due for improvement, along with improvements to the A12 around Chelmsford.

The Lower Thames Tunnel also completes an inner orbital route for the Thames Gateway Region, connecting the main North-Thames radial arteries, the A13 and A127, with the main South-Thames radial artery, the A2/M2.

The new outer and inner orbital routes will relieve congestion on the eastern half of the M25 and the Dartford Crossing so providing spare capacity to meet the additional demand for Thames Reach Airport.


London's new airport will need fast, high-capacity rail links from central London to provide a passenger service comparable to the speed and capacity of the Paddington/Heathrow and Victoria/Gatwick express links. The new rail links are provided by a combination of existing rail lines, CTRL lines and proposed Crossrail lines, all connected to the Lower Thames Tunnel.

The Waterloo branch of the CTRL passes close to Gravesend, where re-opening a 2-kilometre length of dismantled railway can provide a connection to the North Kent Line. When the St. Pancras CTRL service opens in 2007 spare capacity on the Waterloo/Gravesend CTRL line, together with new twin-tracks along the route of the Isle of Grain line from Lower Higham to the airport, will be used to provide a 25-minute passenger service every 15 minutes between Waterloo International and Thames Reach Airport.

The St. Pancras CTRL service from 2007 includes a connection to the North Kent Line for running fast suburban services to Thames Reach Airport via Ebbsfleet and the upgraded Isle of Grain Line.

The twin tracks of the Lower Thames Tunnel connect the Fenchurch Street and Liverpool Street lines, converging near Pitsea, with the Cannon Street and London Bridge North Kent lines near Lower Higham. Track and signalling improvements to existing lines north and south of the Thames enable a 24-hour service to be provided between the north and south bank termini of central London, from Liverpool Street and Fenchurch Street to Cannon Street and London Bridge, via Thames Reach Airport.

The proposed Crossrail lines from central London to Shenfield and Ebbsfleet are linked via the Lower Thames Tunnel to provide a Thames Gateway Shuttle service throughout the Thames Gateway region with connections to suburban and CTRL services.

Thames Reach Airport will have a 6-platform railway station integrating the fast-rail CTRL services with the Thames Gateway services.

The twin tracks of the tunnel also provide a rail freight line across the Thames that bypasses central London and provides connections to Tilbury, Thames Haven, the Isle of Grain, Sheerness and beyond. Separate schemes are being considered for using this route to provide a freight line from the Channel Tunnel to Liverpool.

The Lower Thames Tunnel eases congestion on existing lines by combining separate radial networks north and south of the river to form a circulatory shuttle service via the airport. The tunnel also redirects freight movements away from congested central London lines.

Waterloo, Liverpool Street, Fenchurch Street, Cannon Street, London Bridge, Ebbsfleet, and other selected railway stations well served by public transport, are provided with remote check-in facilities to encourage broader use of rail access to the airport.

Rail tariffs are charged for use of the Lower Thames Tunnel.


new road and rail connections in the South East (UK)

Key RAIL connections

> Fastrail: dedicated link to Liverpool Street and St. Pancras (25 min.)

> Crossrail: across London with direct connection to Heathrow.

> CTRL: initial access via Ebbsfleet, with a later high-speed line from Paris to Edinburgh via the airport

> Regional Trains: looped lines to Waterloo, Fenchurch Street and Liverpool Street, with local links including Southend-on-Sea and the Medway towns

> Rail Freight: new east-coast freight line route to the Channel Ports

Key ROAD connections

> Outer Orbital: new orbital highway between Stansted/M11 and the M2/M20

> Thames Gateway Orbital: new inner orbital roads system east of Dartford Crossing

> Essex - Kent: new local connections


early proposed Crossrail+ with Thames Reach Airport loop

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