BRITISH train operator West Anglia Great Northern is due this month to relaunch its Stansted Express service which connects London Liverpool Street with Stansted Airport. This is now the London hub for several low-cost airlines, and WAGN reports that passenger numbers on Stansted Express are 37% up on last year, itself 40% ahead of 1997-98.

WAGN franchisee Prism Rail has invested £10m in relaunching Stansted Express, including the recruitment of 70 ’cabin crew’ all speaking at least one major European language apart from English. Staff wear what WAGN describes as ’stylish and futuristic’ uniforms, complementing the new Stansted Express livery of blue, orange and silver.

Since August, a fleet of nine Class 317/7 EMUs has been phased into service on the airport shuttle. Refurbishment of these trains was funded by their owner Angel Trains and undertaken by Railcare Ltd at Wolverton. The new business class area features reclining seats, as well as power points for recharging laptop computers or mobile phones.

Each four-car EMU has two galley areas for a trolley-based catering service, which will offer passengers speciality sandwiches, continental pastries and drinks including fresh coffee, brewed on board in small batches using a special medium blend supplied by Costa. Business class passengers will be offered complimentary coffee and pastries.

  • Customers making bookings on the website of low-cost airline EasyJet can now follow a link to train operator Thameslink and buy tickets for travel to Luton Airport Parkway from five stations in central London. Fares start at £4 per person each way if booked at least eight weeks in advance.