Grayling urged to consider ‘A railway that works for everyone’
Published on Monday, 12 December 2016 00:30
Fifty years apart of a Sussex Main Line ~ Barcombe Mills
On the left when trains ran between Uckfield and Lewes before
the aborted Lewes Relief Road scheme caused closure and
on the right Edwina Currie, ex-Tory politician cycling along the old trackbed
Economic Secretary to the Treasury and Sussex MP Simon Kirby (Brighton Kemptown) has written to Secretary of State Chris Grayling MP, requesting that he meets the Brighton Main Line 2 Project Group.
Simon Kirby said: “Following a meeting last week with the BML2 Project Group, I have written to the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling asking him to consider holding a meeting with them in early January. I believe that this project could be a long-term solution to resolving some of the problems on the existing line.”
Dubbed ‘a railway that works for everyone’ BML2 is viewed as a critical element to the economy, where trains are the supreme mass-mover of people.
Equally supportive is Lewes MP Maria Caulfield who wrote an erudite article in the Daily Telegraph on 10 December saying: “Sussex is in desperate need of extra capacity and the best way to create that is a second main line from the south coast to London. A proposal for this already exists: Brighton Main Line 2 (BML2) would create a new route from the coast up to Canary Wharf which would take pressure off Brighton Mainline 1, making it easier to upgrade and maintain those creaking old tracks. This project could begin in as little as 18 months; a feasibility study is already on Mr Grayling’s desk and foreign investors are waiting to fund it.”
Brighton’s Green MP Caroline Lucas has been piling pressure on the Government to release the study. On 1 December HM Treasury told her: “The former Chancellor commissioned the London South Coast Rail Corridor Study in 2015, which looks at the region’s rail transport needs broadly. The Study considers the case for investment in the Brighton Main Line, re-opening the Lewes-Uckfield line, as well as the ‘BML2’ concept, for a new mainline to London. The Government will publish the London and South Coast Rail Corridor Study, and its response to the recommendations, in due course.”
As we approach 2017 and with international investment lapping on our shores, there could never be a better time to roll out the carpet and show that Britain really is – ‘Open for Business’.
For more detail CLICK HERE to read the full article
Department for Transport denies indecisiveness over ‘capacity time bomb’
Published on Wednesday, 02 November 2016 06:38
Demand for rail travel has far outstripped available capacity –
the Government needs to sanction BML2 without further prevarication.
The DfT denies it is delaying publication of the long-awaited London & South Coast Rail Study.
Green MP Caroline Lucas recently asked Rail Minister Paul Maynard if he will: “publish the London and South Coast Rail Corridor Study” as well as: “whether he plans to fund proposals for a Brighton Mainline 2 in order to remedy the significant capacity and performance constraints identified.”
Hove’s Labour MP Peter Kyle said: “We’ve had a new Chancellor, new Rail Minister and new Government since they first promised this report and still passengers suffer every day. As well as doing everything I can to get the current mess sorted out, I am pressing the Government to deal with the long-term capacity time bomb that will explode on to the next generation of passengers if we don’t get this right. I’m calling for this report to be released before Christmas at the very latest.”
The DfT claimed its findings were being “carefully considered by ministers”.
In a letter to one of Southern’s Uckfield Line commuters who wrote to Chris Grayling over the desperate need for BML2, the DfT acknowledged: “Local aspirations to reopen the line are long-standing and well understood by Government and the rail industry. People face considerable frustration in moving between the towns by road, whether by car or public transport. The key challenge with reopening the [Wealden] line is that it would involve significant construction costs and the local demand and wider benefits would be potentially insufficient to make the scheme economically and financially viable.”
This echoes all excuses over forty years for doing nothing. If demand is so low, why has public support been sustained throughout forty years? Why have innumerable studies by British Rail, Network SouthEast, Railtrack, Connex, Network Rail – and now WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff occurred?
This issue has been a festering sore for almost half a century – as ex-Chancellor George Osborne said of Sussex: “a part of the country so often ignored or left behind under previous Governments.”
The DfT said: "The Study considers the case for investment in the Brighton Main Line, re-opening the Wealden line and the Lewes–Uckfield line, as well as the ‘BML2’ concept, for a new mainline to London.”
Only three years ago Lord Adonis, Chairman of the Government’s National Infrastructure Commission declared: “It is stark staring obvious that the second main line to London in needed.”
For more detail CLICK HERE to read the full article