§ 3. Mr. Haselhurst
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will meet the chairman of the British Railways Board to discuss the feasibility of a rail link between central London and Stansted airport; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Haselhurst
What would be the cost of such a project? Will that cost not further tend to question the wisdom of establishing a third London airport in north-west Essex? Will my hon. Friend consider whether such a sum might be better directed towards improving services on the Cambridge line so that my constituents can enjoy a railway service more fitting to the 1980s than to the 1930s?
§ Mr. Eyre
My hon. Friend knows that the Government have made it clear that they intend to provide a rail service to link the expanded airport with London. But a decision will not be taken before the outcome of the inquiry is known. British Rail's earlier study estimated a cost of about £170 million at 1980 prices. The detailed work currently under way shows scope for reducing that cost.
I note my hon. Friend's views about priorities for railway development.
§ Mr. Wellbeloved
Is the Minister aware that a rail link between Stansted airport and central London is more sensible than the proposal to build a dangerous and noisy heliport on the banks of the Thames opposite my constituency?
§ Mr. Colvin
Has my hon. Friend had the opportunity to compare the cost of a rail link with Stansted with the cost of extending the Picadilly line to serve a fifth terminal on the Perry Oaks site at Heathrow, which would cost only £19 million at 1979 prices? Is that not one good reason, together with many other good reasons, for developing a fifth terminal at Heathrow rather than embarking upon development at Stansted?
§ Mr. Wilkinson
In order to compare like with like, will my hon. Friend consider the cost of extending British Rail's network from Feltham to terminal 5, which would be much cheaper than building a new rail service from central London to Stansted?