The Saffron Walden constituency is home to a number of railway stations from which Sir Alan's constituents commute to work. Furthermore, many constituents commute from other nearby stations such as Bishop’s Stortford and Chelmsford.
Thus, rail transport is an issue Sir Alan is passionate about and he has fought hard for improvements since being elected in 1977. Working alongside other MPs from the region, Sir Alan has managed to help make improvements to the train services most regularly used by constituents. However, as any commuter will be able to testify, there is still a great deal to do. If re-elected to Parliament, Sir Alan will continue to fight tooth and nail for improvements on the West Anglia line.
On the issue, Sir Alan said:
“Abellio Greater Anglia, as the current operator of the network, need to recognise the needs of the ever growing passenger numbers on the West Anglia line.
“The inescapable truth is that the greater improvements which would benefit so many people in the Saffron Walden constituency cannot be achieved without extra track being laid. In this regard, the Network Rail Utilisation Strategy for 2014-19 lets down people in the Saffron Walden constituency badly. Despite having previously agreed with me that four tracking was required between Coppermill Junction (south of Tottenham Hale) and Broxbourne, they now take the view that a business case cannot be made for such an investment.
“As one of the East Anglian MPs who submitted a manifesto to the Government covering the needs of the region as a whole, as a region we feel we have been let down and the failure to invest in the West Anglia leaves those people commuting from the Saffron Walden constituency ignored, yet again.
“I am a great believer in rail transport, but various governments have become very tired in backing its full support.
“Everyone should unite in pressing the Government to acknowledge that our time has come. It is in the interests of commuters, business, Stansted Airport and the local environment that rail travel is made as attractive as possible. More new trains and faster journey times would go some way to achieving that. We have put up with an inferior service for too long. We deserve better, and I am determined to get it.”
In addition to holding House of Commons debates on the West Anglia line, Sir Alan has held summits with Ministers and now looks forward to the impending feasibility study. “I do feel that there is growing momentum for the cause of improvements to the West Anglia line”, Sir Alan said. “I am determined to continue lobbying on this vital issue and finally secure the services that my constituents deserve.”