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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

Uncategorised

BML2 Kent Phase 2017

Why would Tunbridge Wells commuters use BML2?


Network Rail has long said that the Tonbridge Main Line (TML) is a ‘major barrier to growth’ whilst the 2017 Kent Route Study concludes no more services can be operated into London during peak times. The Tonbridge – Sevenoaks – Orpington section is only double track, but at peak times has to carry 12 – 15 trains per hour. The route cannot be quadrupled but a solution is necessary.

 

Current proposals are to introduce higher-density rolling stock which means more standing room in the aisles and vestibules. These new trains are unpopular because people resent being forced to stand for long distances and travel to work in cramped and uncomfortable conditions every day. We believe commuters and all rail users should be treated better than this. That is why we have always fought for a proper long term solution for increasing rail travel into London.

 

Tunbridge Wells is the principal generator of commuter traffic which is why its former main line from Tunbridge Wells West (TWW) to London via Oxted needs to be reopened. As an integral part of BML2, Tunbridge Wells would gain direct services to Canary Wharf which is where many of its commuters work. This would also avoid worsening congestion at London Bridge.

 

What about Sainsbury’s?
The store currently occupies part of the trackbed, but the company gave a written undertaking to remove any buildings (and at their expense) should the line ever reopen. However, we’ve always believed there exists a wonderful opportunity for Sainsbury’s to improve and even enlarge their retail operations and be partners in this great development.

 

At the moment the site’s value is mostly wasted on open-air car parking, but multi-storey parking, along with an enlarged store, as well as mooted new housing development would take full advantage of the new main line with all the business and benefits that would generate.

 

What about the Spa Valley railway?
These main line rail connections to Brighton (via Lewes) and London (via Oxted) should never have been closed. It was a dreadful decision for which we continue to pay dearly. These routes are badly needed to support intensive services on the national operating network. We’re not against preserved railways or people having fun at weekends, but the route currently performs no transport function and is far too important to remain out of use.

 

Do the local authorities support reopening?
Both Wealden District and Tunbridge Wells Borough councils continue to protect the trackbed for future reinstatement with services to Brighton via Eridge. However, there is no active promotion for reopening, whilst neither council appears to comprehend the value of the Ashurst link so trains can run direct to London from Tunbridge Wells West.

 

What is Network Rail’s position?
Although NR maintains a lukewarm interest and says protecting the routes should continue, it currently has no plans for reinstatement. It has also said it is not against reopening the Tunbridge Wells line.

 

Isn’t the tunnel at Tunbridge Wells a problem?
Not at all. Grove tunnel would doubtless be opened out and rebuilt for double track anyway, whilst the formation connecting the West and Central stations was engineered throughout to take double track.

 

Would the large station building at TWW be taken back?
It is certainly a magnificent structure and far more impressive than the cramped and somewhat dingy ‘Central’ station which struggles to serve the Royal Borough. The regeneration of the Pantiles area, close to the West station, is thankfully beginning to happen as Tunbridge Wells seeks to grow and prosper.

 

From a railway operational aspect the important asset is the space TWW offers. Its generously-long 12-car platforms could be rebuilt and there is space for at least three platform faces – giving the railways all the capacity and flexibility we need for future network expansion. Developed alongside a new Sainsburys, it would be a new transport hub for Tunbridge Wells and benefit everyone. Sadly here in England we appear to have lost the ability to do joined-up thinking.

 

Couldn’t we just reopen the old spur between the Tonbridge – Redhill and East Grinstead lines?
Although there is spare capacity on the Redhill route, that would be a longer, roundabout journey to London. However, the capacity constraints at Tonbridge would remain, but even worse we couldn’t solve the insuperable blockade which is Tunbridge Wells (Central).

 

Tunbridge Wells (Central) is the big problem, not just its short platforms necessitating ‘Selective Door Opening’, but conflicting train movements using its reversible lines, as well as the turnback itself which even Network Rail identifies as a ‘constraint to growth’. It all comes down to the undeniable fact that we need to operate more trains into London – that’s the important thing – and only BML2 can do that.

 

Aside from commuters, what other benefits might there be?
We would gain regional services to Lewes, Brighton, other Sussex Coast towns and of course the University of Sussex at Falmer and the AMEX stadium at Falmer. All would become within easy reach by train. Such traffic would also flow into Tunbridge Wells, not only from Sussex but also Surrey and Kent.

 

 

Grayling invites funders for Brighton Main Line 2

London and South Coast Rail Corridor Study

 

The Transport Secretary has met with promoters of the BML2

concept and encouraged them to continue to develop

their proposals for it to be delivered and funded privately.


Publication of the Government’s ‘London and South Coast Rail Corridor Study’ has been long delayed, whilst publications such as The Times declared: ‘Plans for a new railway line between London and the south coast have been scrapped because it would be too expensive’.

 

In fact, events of the past twelve months have surpassed the report’s objective – to examine a case for Government funding a new main line between London and the Sussex Coast.

 

During 2016 the London & Southern Counties Railway Consortium (LSCR) was established to arrange delivering BML2 for the nation.

 

In response to the latest study a spokesman said:
“We are delighted that the Government has signalled its support for a private sector solution to solve capacity issues on the Brighton mainline.”

 

LSCR intends developing a new route introducing greater capacity for the millions of daily commuters and has been working with international investors to supply 100% of the capital.

 

The Consortium sees increasing Government appetite for private investment in UK infrastructure as the ideal opportunity to reposition the dedicated work of the Wealden Line Campaign’s Brighton Main Line 2 project, elevating it onto a fully professional, project footing.  LSCR has engaged with leading companies who have global expertise in infrastructure, economics, property and financing – transforming the scheme from a good idea to a thoroughly realistic proposition.

 

An LSCR spokesman said: “In BML2 we perceived a project of real value which could, if taken forward by professional companies, deliver tangible and substantial rewards for London and the South East, the rail industry and the people who live here. It was for this reason that we wanted to be involved. We sincerely hope that with the Government’s blessing and helpful co-operation we can bring this to fruition as soon as possible.”

 

For more detail CLICK HERE to read the full article

 

 

 

Transport Secretary shows keen interest in Brighton Main Line 2

 

Brighton's 2nd Mainline before closure

 Photo by kind courtesy John Wenham

 

Closed in 1969, Brighton’s second main line is now part

of serious proposals to boost the rail network and the economy.


 

Throughout the past year the BML2 Project Group has been in discussion with a number of professional individuals who are attracted by the massive potential of the scheme. Their purpose was to scrutinize the proposal and explore the opportunities which BML2 could provide for growth in the capital, as well as improving and strengthening transport links for the many thousands of people who commute every day across London and the South East.

 

On Monday 30 January, a delegation, including Sussex MPs and representatives from London & Southern Counties Railways (LSCR) the private sector consortium now seeking to take the project further, was able to meet with Chris Grayling to discuss in broad terms the proposals for new links, as set out by BML2, in order to strengthen the South East rail network.

 

A spokesman for the LSCR Consortium said: “The BML2 project group has done an excellent job in making the case for extra capacity on the Brighton Mainline route. A new privately-funded line would create additional connections for towns across the southern counties and benefit millions of commuters on one of the UK’s most overcrowded rail routes.”

He went on to explain: “These were initial discussions with the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling who was keen to learn more about the project. While the project is still at a relatively early stage, we are encouraged by the interest shown by the Secretary of State and look forward to further positive engagement with Department for Transport officials in the coming months.”  

 

We understand BML2 will be discussed on BBC Sunday Politics South East on 5 February 2017.

 

Without doubt, 2017 represents a turning point in the long struggle to revive those lost rail links, as well as making new ones. Accordingly we look forward with renewed enthusiasm to the days and months ahead as BML2 looks set to finally become a reality.

 

For more detail CLICK HERE to read the full article

 

 

Grayling urged to consider ‘A railway that works for everyone’

Main Line lost by Sussex

 

 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