Airport rail link could boost wider region's economy

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 6 Jul 2017

PLANS for a rail link at Doncaster Sheffield Airport that could boost international trade and improve links to London, have taken a step forward.

A study has been commissioned to determine the feasibility and business case for a potential rail link from the East Coast Mainline to the airport.

The airport, which sits on the former RAF Finngingley base, just across the North Lincolnshire border in South Yorkshire, has also unveiled early design concepts for a station, which could prove to be a major economic boost for the wider region.

It has recently benefited from a better road connection from the M18, south of Doncaster, making it far more accessible from the west, and the A1 and M1.

The East Coast Mainline passes 2km south west of the runway, as it skirts Bawtry, as illustrated below.

MADE TO MEASURE? A view from Google Maps looking west, with the distance marked to the East Coast Mainline and the main road arteries in the region.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: "Doncaster Sheffield Airport is a huge asset for Yorkshire and the North and we are committed to making it a big success.

"The opening of Great Yorkshire Way (the M18 connection) created exceptional links between the airport and the motorway network and has helped them achieve incredible growth. This shows if you have a forward thinking vision to deliver important infrastructure projects they can have a real economic impact.

"We are ambitious for the future and our concept to provide an East Coast Mainline station at Doncaster Sheffield Airport could certainly release its immense untapped potential and bring significant benefits to the wider region."

A train line is seen as having an effect beyond the airport site as a catalyst for encouraging investment, providing new jobs and support the growing innovation district at the airport’s 1,600 acre site, known as Aero Centre Yorkshire.

Steve Gill, chief executive of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, said: "This is one of few regional airport sites in the UK which offers unconstrained physical and airspace capacity with the existing runway able to accommodate a throughput of 25 million passengers per annum, providing an international gateway serving the east side of the country.

"An airport station could mean London is less than 80 minutes train travel away, and in many places quicker than travelling across to Heathrow or Gatwick on already congested routes.  

"The proposal could also support boosting international trade, deliver improved regional connectivity and contribute towards government strategy to rebalance the economy.

"The proposal for the airport station shows how a quicker, more affordable and sustainable solution in the north can deliver much needed future UK aviation capacity for passengers and cargo, complementing planned investment in south east airports.

"These aspirational designs we’ve released aim to show the scale of our ambition for the station and we hope they inspire people to get behind this proposal."

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