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Latest 2017 BML2 Project Publication

BML2 response to Gibb Report BML2 response to 2017 Gibb report

Our 10pp response to the Gibb Report is now available to download for viewing or printing.

Click on image to start the download.

It is approx 2.5mb in landscape pdf format.









Important BML2 Information, Facts, Figures and News Reports



Hever Station


Shameful - the South East’s most notorious wasting asset.



Ahead of George Osborne’s commissioned investigation into BML2, Network Rail’s newly-published Sussex Study reveals BML2 would be the fastest alternative rail route to London.


Via BML2 would be 73 minutes (currently fastest 56/semi-fast 64 minutes), providing the quickest-possible second route.


Faster than reversing trains at Lewes by 20 minutes (with only an Uckfield–Lewes link), faster than building a ‘Lewes loop’, and infinitely faster than via Arundel.


But NR thinks the South East can wait another three decades for BML2.


Despite Sussex lines carrying more than 60,000 into London during the high peak, unlike Scotland, no new or re-opened lines are planned.


BML2’s diversionary capability is just a bonus – because it’s a hugely-useful new main line in its own right avoiding bottlenecks at East Croydon, London Bridge and Blackfriars.
Instead, Network Rail and the DfT intend over-cramming the Brighton Line. Today’s carriages typically carry 99 people, but the new Thameslink trains will have fewer seats and loads more standing room – carrying half as much again. But they will also be subject to the same old delays and cancellations.


It is also hoped to run trains every 150 seconds through the 2-track Thameslink core at Blackfriars/Farringdon which relies on trains north and south converging in the right sequence with no delays. Industry journal Rail Engineer aptly concluded: “Fingers crossed all round, I guess.”


Our inadequate rail system seriously damages the Sussex economy and London’s too. That‘s why the Chancellor’s intervention is so important because he recognises the immense value of BML2 and its Thameslink 2 aspect which has the greatest benefit, economic return, and usefulness after Crossrail.


George Osborne needs to be at the very heart of this because BML2 is as much about the economy as transport, and it is a project he needs to steer through with all possible speed.


For more detail CLICK HERE to read the full article





HM Treasury gives green light to Brighton Main Line 2 study

Yellow Aspects


Yellow aspects are now common on the Brighton Line
which increasingly has to bear more trains and traffic

between the Sussex Coast and London.

The south urgently needs the Government's green light for BML2.



Writing from HM Treasury, George Osborne says he is wholly committed to a full study into Brighton Main Line 2.


In a letter to Sussex MP Maria Caulfield (Lewes) which he asked to be forwarded to the BML2 Project Group, the Chancellor pointed out how vital effective transport links are to the economy.


“This means providing significant transport investment to places like the South Coast, where it is essential to have excellent connectivity between London and places like Lewes and Brighton.”


Recently at Westminster many concerned MPs, including Maria Caulfield, debated the lamentable performance of Southern and the overall crisis of insufficient capacity affecting routes in London and the South East.


Shadow Transport Minister Lilian Greenwood questioned Rail Minister Claire Perry over whether the Government was genuinely committed to investigating BML2, rather than just a 7-mile reopening between Uckfield and Lewes.


In a formal written response to Maria Caulfield MP the Chancellor was unequivocal:


“As you noted, I announced funding earlier this year towards a feasibility study for the re-opening of the Lewes–Uckfield line. However, I want to go further and take the opportunity to look at rail links in Sussex more generally, including the viability of a Brighton Main Line 2. Therefore, as part of the Summer Budget, I have announced the extension of the scope of the Lewes–Uckfield study to look at improving rail links between London and the south coast, including upgrades to existing routes, consideration of the Brighton Main Line corridor, and re-examination of the Department for Transport’s feasibility study on BML2.”


George Osborne has unquestionably shown he is his own man, whilst the fact that he, rather than the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, has made this statement is exceptionally encouraging.  


As Chancellor, he more than anyone else, realizes the potential BML2 holds by giving the capital’s commercial heartland new horizons, as well as all rail-users new hope.


To continue and read the full article  CLICK HERE




Osborne promotes Brighton Main Line 2 Project

Uckfield Buffers


This closed main line from London to Lewes and Brighton should be growing traffic – not trees.


After January’s meeting with Rail Minister Claire Perry, George Osborne committed funding in his spring budget towards investigating BML2.


But, DfT officials thought a new study could be restricted to reopening only the Lewes–Uckfield section for local journeys; its usefulness during disruption on the BML and, if justified, the split between local and national funding.


This narrow focus would doom the project because it is one link in a very long chain. BML2 is not about huge public-purse spending to run a few more subsidised trains, but a business-minded strategy of opening-up specific strategic links to tap into guaranteed profitable markets.


Fearing what might happen if left to Network Rail, the issue was raised with the minister. Nusrat Ghani MP (Wealden) responded: “I’m pleased to let you know that Maria and I met with Claire Perry last week. She confirmed that the Department for Transport is beginning to scope a study into BML2, as per the Chancellor’s statement. (our emphasis)


In last Wednesday’s budget we were extremely pleased to read that George Osborne had acted swiftly and decisively in determining Government policy. Under the heading ‘Securing a truly national recovery’ the chancellor demonstrated he knows what he’s talking about:  


Brighton Main Line: The government will extend the scope of the Lewes–Uckfield study to look at improving rail links between London and the south coast, including upgrades to existing routes, consideration of the Brighton Main Line corridor, and re-examination of the DfT’s feasibility study on BML2.


This is a significant step forward because it shows that for the first time ever, the Government appears prepared to take BML2 seriously and is willing to listen and be convinced of its widespread merits.


To continue and read the full article  CLICK HERE

South too wealthy for rail investment

Brighton Lanes


Brighton and the busy South East needs BML2


The South’s rail network is in crisis whereby the Sussex Express pondered: “BML2 – more than just a pipe dream?” while in the city’s Argus, Brighton award-winning transport consultant Nik Askaroff warned: “Access into Brighton is hopeless and we’re at breaking point already. The immediate problem in my eyes is the trains. Someone needs a strategy.


Decades of doing nothing caused George Osborne to observe “– a part of the country that is so often ignored, or left behind, under previous governments” and to declare: “We’ll start a feasibility study into Brighton Main Line 2 – speeding up journeys and relieving congestion in first 100 days for the South Coast”.


Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has always said he remains “alive” to reopening the former Sussex main line.


However, a DfT spokesman argued BML2 was “not a priority” as did Network Rail who said they were still trying to sort out East Croydon.  


Project manager for Network Rail’s previous study in 2008, Chris Curtis, concluded that reopenings in Scotland and Wales “have all been successful because they connected reasonably sized centres of population in economically deprived areas”. He compared these with Sussex: “– this part of the world is hardly deprived economically (particularly if the cars going up Lewes High Street are anything to go by!)”


Even in 2013 he said: “the reason the traffic is bad in that part of the world is that most people can afford cars and tend to use them.” It didn’t occur to him this might be because they no longer have a railway and a train service, whilst remaining lines are consequently jam-packed.


Back then he offered no hope towards eliminating central London’s chaotic congestion with BML2’s Thameslink 2 – “the route to Docklands from a wide variety of Brighton Main Line (and branches) stations from 2018 will be change at Farringdon for Crossrail. No need for another new railway there for a while yet.” The recent gridlock at London Bridge should have changed minds, but don’t bank on it.


Now the DfT has stressed it is fully aware of the aspirations for BML2, whilst Patrick McLoughlin has told the Argus he wants Brighton to benefit from a “world class rail service” and is “looking carefully at ways to improve the train service between Brighton and London.”


After decades of false dawns, let’s hope this time our faith in politicians to get on with BML2 isn’t misplaced. 


To continue and read the full article CLICK HERE