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Latest 2018 BML2 Project Publication

Design2158 What BML2 will do for

Kent and Tunbridge wells

The 14pp report can be downloaded for viewing and printing by clicking on the image. Please circulate to friends and colleagues and if appropriate, to local Tunbridge Wells and Kent councillors.









Important BML2 Information, Facts, Figures and News Reports


What is BML2?

BML2 is a proposal to create a second Brighton Main Line to London. However, it's actually a lot more than relieving pressure on one of the country's most overcrowded rail routes for the benefit of Brighton commuters travelling into London or restoring a rail link between Uckfield and Lewes.


The BML2 Project can be broken down into three phases:-


  • Sussex phase:-
      • restoration of rail link between Uckfield and Lewes, providing a direct route from Eastbourne to London via Uckfield, releasing train paths and increasing capacity on the Brighton Main Line
      • building of new rail link between Uckfield and Brighton via Falmer – home of Brighton and Hove Albion's Amex stadium and Brighton and Sussex universities, making them accessible from the northern parts of East Sussex and South London


  • Kent phase:-
      • Re-instatement of Tunbridge Wells West and linking in to the core BML2 route, relieving pressure on the Tonbridge Main Line into London (also one of the most overcrowded rail routes in the country) and making Brighton and Eastbourne accessible


  • London phase:-
    • Re-opening Selsdon to Elmers End to rail travel to avoid the East Croydon bottleneck and provide direct link from Kent and Sussex to Canary Wharf and East London, relieving pressure on the London Underground
    • Creation of Croydon Gateway station – a possible amalgamation of Purley Oaks, Sanderstead and South Croydon, providing an interchange between BML and BML2 and relieving pressure on East Croydon – the country's second busiest rail interchange
    • Linking into Thameslink 2 between Stratford and Lewisham, providing a rail link between Gatwick and Stansted airports (“StanWick”) and opening up a rail corridor between East Anglia and Sussex, Surrey and Kent, relieving more pressure on the London Underground and improving links between these counties.


CLICK HERE to see the BML2 Project Route Map


BML2 does not merely provide a quicker journey between two cities – commuters from many towns across the South East will directly benefit from increased destinations, including: Eastbourne, Tunbridge Wells, Seaford, Uckfield and Crowborough. Relieving the pressure of overcrowding will also benefit Hassocks, Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath and Crawley. Nearby towns and villages will also benefit from increased business, particularly those involved in tourism.


Gatwick is the country's second busiest airport which is at capacity. Providing a rail link to the underused Stansted airport would enable them to work together like a hub airport – a more viable proposal than “HeathWick” and reducing the need for a new airport in the South East or expansion of Heathrow or Gatwick whilst allowing increases in international visitors.


Additionally, with better cross-London connections, tourists will find it easier to explore a greater part of the country – not just Sussex and Kent, but also Surrey, East Anglia and beyond without the nightmare of carrying baggage on the London Underground.



Adonis champions Brighton’s Main Line 2

Adonis champions Brighton’s Main Line 2

Photo courtesy Guardian Newspapers


Labour’s influential Transport Secretary in the last Government and keen proponent of Britain’s High Speed Two, Lord Andrew Adonis, is championing BML2.

In a powerful message to Lord Bassam of Brighton he says: “On any realistic analysis of capacity requirements over the next generation it is stark staring obvious that the second mainline to London is needed.”

In the week which sees the fiftieth anniversary of the infamous Beeching Report – although Beeching was not responsible for this closure – he has told the BML2 Project Group: “The loss of Brighton's second main line via Uckfield and the direct London services it provided was a massive error of the 1960s. It needs to be reversed.”

Lord Adonis, now Labour’s Minister for Infrastructure in the Lords believes:

“Substantially increasing capacity into our cities remains the industry's greatest challenge. Brighton Main Line 2, by reconnecting Brighton with London as one seamless journey, has the potential to do this and is therefore a strong contender for serious investment because it would strengthen the existing overloaded network.”

Lord Bassam of Brighton said to have the support of Lord Adonis was “terrific news” and went on to add:

“BML2 will also bring extra gains by way of tapping into new revenue markets across a wide sweep of Sussex, Kent and Surrey, as well as providing a realistic diversionary route, new destinations and opportunities for people everywhere.”

CLICK HERE to read the full story

Conservatives endorse Brighton Main Line 2

Tunnel under the Downs


Leader of the Conservative Group on Brighton & Hove City Council – Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald OBE – and the city’s two Conservative MPs – Simon Kirby and Mike Weatherley – believe the South needs BML2.

They say that Brighton, the south’s largest city after London and Bristol, must have BML2 to promote business and stimulate growth. Noting Kent’s benefit from HS1, London’s emerging Crossrail and the proposed HS2, they state: “We firmly believe that a new Brighton Main Line – BML2 – has an equally strong case to put” adding: “BML2 offers a golden opportunity to provide a new, direct rail link between London and Brighton with its tunnel under the South Downs.”

They consider that only BML2 can “realistically deliver the quantity and quality of additional rail capacity that all of Sussex so desperately needs” citing the urgent need for a secondary route when the BML is blocked; new connections into Brighton from East Sussex, West Kent and Surrey; direct London trains to Amex stadium and universities; and a “godsend” for the many thousands of Sussex commuters.

They conclude “BML2 represents excellent value for money” and say: “It is an imaginative, impressive and highly sensible project and we afford it our unreserved approval and backing.”    

CLICK HERE to read the full statement

BML2 – wired for speed

BML2 – wired for speed


Wired for Speed - and reliability.

Will this be the future for BML2 as the rebuilding of the line is used as the first part of the Southern Region's conversion from third-rail electric?



A top-level conference this week in London asks ‘Has Third Rail had its Day?’ at which Network Rail’s Head of Electrification and Energy, Peter Dearman, will argue the case for the conversion of the entire Southern Region’s 750V DC third rail network to 25kV AC overhead line (OHL).


The case for conversion stems from “concern about the inherent capability of the third rail system to cope with projected increases in passenger and freight demand”. The advantages of OHL over third rail are “lower capital and operating costs, higher energy efficiency and the ability to support more intensive train services”.


Further large-scale third rail electrification is absolutely ruled out, whilst we understand Network Rail is already looking seriously at OHL for the Uckfield line, alongside conversion of the East Grinstead – Croydon route.


Today, the Uckfield branch, with its fixed fleet of diesel trains introduced in 2004, is experiencing severe overcrowding problems. The DfT bluntly refuses ordering any new diesel stock and says hard-pressed commuters will just have to wait until electrification schemes elsewhere in the UK might release second-hand diesels.


Recently, however, a number of knowledgeable individuals, some of whom work in the industry, are suggesting that BML2 could not only be the way forward, but actually provide a very useful and convenient first step towards the desired conversion of the south to OHL.


CLICK HERE to read the full article