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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


Department for Transport and Network Rail are crippling the South

Department for Transport and Network Rail are crippling the South


Trains are more popular than ever but the region cannot cope without an expanded system.


The Government claims HS2 (and now HS3) are vital for growth, but won’t sort out the south’s blockades.


Recently the DfT told Edenbridge Council: “Large-scale investment in alternative routes in the outer area of the Brighton Main Line would likely be of very limited value in the short to medium-term – this finding is applicable to the re-instatement of the Lewes-Uckfield line.”


One angry councillor accused them of persistently ignoring the south’s longstanding problems, saying: “this has been going on for well over 25 years”.


Network Rail said: “We have asked for the trackbed of the route to be protected as we agree the route will be needed in future. However, there are more pressing needs on the Brighton Main Line, because the capacity squeeze is more acute at the London end of the route. Were we to create space for more trains at the coastal end of the line now, we would just be pouring more water into a blocked sink.”


In fact, the BML is one ‘blocked sink’ all the way to Brighton.


An equally exasperated Uckfield commuter asked the DfT why Network Rail: “offers no forward strategic planning in respect of the continuing growing use of the rail network in the South East”.


He added: “Sussex remains particularly poorly served with effectively only one coastal commuter line to London running through it – the BML – to which everyone railheads. The Uckfield line strategically has no function in its present truncated form beyond serving local towns.  It is chronically underused in terms of train paths”


Restoring Brighton’s second main line via Uckfield is needed and he added: “for want of just a few miles of track” the vast conurbations of Tunbridge Wells and Brighton could also be connected, benefiting millions – a view recently voiced by Cabinet Minister and Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark.


The DfT responded: “The Department agrees with your view that the findings of the [forthcoming south coast] report need to be considered in the wider regional context”


The south’s inadequate rail network has a negative impact on its economy. Political pressure is needed at the highest level.



To continue and read the full article CLICK HERE


Network Rail yet again dismisses ‘Lewes-Uckfield’ but will consider BML2



Work on introducing a long-overdue new main line between London and the South Coast needs to start straightaway


A Network Rail ‘Pre-Route Study’ on the Brighton Main Line has dismissed reopening a Lewes – Uckfield connection.


The BML2 Project which proposes major investment and a new direct line into Brighton is not currently being investigated.


NR says the BML is already operating at full capacity whilst East Croydon struggles with more trains per day than Reading, Paddington, Euston and Kings Cross.


More capacity into London is desperately needed, but route, junction and terminus constraints lead NR to again mention a new 15 mile tunnelled railway under Surrey into the capital.


Rising demand on the BML and Gatwick expansion will exacerbate the problem.


Although NR wants “continued protection of the alignment” saying “the logic for this remains sound” it rejects an incremental ‘Lewes – Uckfield’ reopening favoured by Lewes MP Norman Baker and RailFuture“The 2008 study indicated this approach did not have a business case.”


“Significant upgrade costs” incurring electrification, redoubling 12 miles and resignalling would be required on the Uckfield line – as proposed by the BML2 Project. NR says without this and direct trains into Brighton, it would have no value as a secondary route.


It warns a 78-mile London – Brighton diversionary route via Arundel would add a 50 minute penalty to the journey.


Clearly, a new main line is required so we are pleased that Transport Minister Baroness Kramer has subsequently stated: “The Government recognises the importance of rail links between London and the South Coast. As such, we have asked Network Rail to consider options for improving capacity on this key corridor including the role that the Brighton Main Line 2 proposals could make.”



To continue and read the full article CLICK HERE


Baroness Kramer joins latest Lib Dem attack on Brighton Main Line 2

Baroness Kramer and John Jefkins

In their latest attack on BML2 by Croydon LibDems, she took possession of petition slips saying: “Lib Dems in government are investing £38 billion in rail in the next five years, including upgrades to the existing Brighton mainline – without damaging Tramlink.”


The Lib Dems latest misleading tactic is “opposing any new ‘BML2’ rail line through Croham that would rip up Tramlink from Lloyd Park to Elmers End.”


In fact BML2 proposes extending Tramlink and making it even more accessible.  


Local LibDem activist John Jefkins says he wants to: “raise awareness of the Brighton Mainline 2 project” and telling the press: “No one knows this is on the cards”.


Jefkins said: “It’s bonkers, basically. It has no proper business case. I’m dubbing it a line to nowhere. They may as well build it out to sea because it misses Gatwick, East Croydon and central London.”


In reality BML2 serves all these places, bringing much-needed flexibility and new destinations to the South’s rail network.


Nevertheless, the Lib Dems clearly view the capital’s global financial centre at Canary Wharf and Stratford International as “nowhere”.


Instead, the Lib Dems suggest “extra platforms at East Croydon”. But Baroness Kramer’s own departmental officials would have told her: “There is no further scope within the railway network’s existing footprint”.

Kramer’s predecessor, Norman Baker, a keen advocate of HS2, spent his long term at the DfT by campaigning against BML2 which runs through his Sussex constituency, claiming: “It would be very, very expensive, it would also be very controversial – and the last thing we want is a controversial line.”
Re-opening disused railways and exploiting existing assets should be supported by any so-called ‘environmentally-conscious’ politician.


Those who actively seek to deny millions a superbly upgraded and expanded network capable of daily transporting thousands of people don’t deserve to be entrusted with such power.



To continue and read the full article CLICK HERE



Ministerial backing for Brighton Main Line 2


Tunbridge Wells West Station


The magnificent and spacious Tunbridge Wells station built by the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Company whose main lines connected the Royal Borough to both London and Brighton. But it was systematically run-down in the 1960s and eventually closed by British Rail in 1985. As part of BML2 it would be reopened as a premier commuter station with direct trains to Canary Wharf, the City and Brighton and bring about the regeneration of the nearby Pantiles area of Tunbridge Wells.



Minister of State for Cabinet Office (Cities and Constitution) and Tunbridge Wells MP is backing BML2.


His office says:  ‘Greg Clark is a strong supporter of the BML2 campaign’ adding: ‘He has recently written to the Rail Minister, Stephen Hammond, to highlight the benefits that a link from Tunbridge Wells to Brighton Main Line 2 would bring to his constituents.’


Greg Clark said: ‘The transport network in my constituency is already severely overcrowded so a new link from Tunbridge Wells to Brighton, Eastbourne and London would be a great boon.’


He explained: ‘The Rail Minister has asked Network Rail to carry out a review on how to increase rail capacity between London and the Sussex coast so I wanted to ensure that he was made aware of the considerable benefits this proposal would have for local rail passengers.’


As Minister for Cities, Greg Clark was in Brighton recently where he signed off the ‘Greater Brighton City Deal’ expected to attract £170m of investment and 8,500 new jobs. He said: ‘It can help turn Brighton into one of the most prosperous cities in the UK.’


Greg’s support will be warmly received by Brighton & Hove City Council which last year gave wholehearted support for BML2.


In another significant move his office told us: ‘Greg has also asked the Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to support the BML2 scheme in their forthcoming Transport Strategy.’


Cheer will be felt across the region by those wanting an integrated rail network once more. Uckfield’s Mayor, Cllr Ian Smith, said: ‘This is a tremendous boost for all of us here in East Sussex. For us it is just as vital as BML2’s direct link into the City of Brighton.’


To continue and read the full article CLICK HERE