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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

London & Continental Railways to secure land for BML2

Following Lord Berkeley’s request that strategic rail land at Uckfield station should be transferred to the custody of Network Rail for future reopening of the Sussex route, Earl Attlee, on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government has given a surprising response.


The Government now intends that the majority of the erstwhile British Rail Property Board (now BRBR) should be transferred to London & Continental Railways “This includes the site at Uckfield” confirmed Earl Attlee.


London & Continental Railways was established in 1994 as the company to build and operate the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now called High Speed One). It has been involved in several London regeneration projects at Kings Cross and Stratford and is now a company which is wholly owned by the Secretary of State for Transport.


Earl Attlee explained that Network Rail is not a Government entity, whilst only a small number of assets such as properties within the lineside fence; bridges spanning operational railways; test tracks and railway war memorials would pass into their ownership.


Uckfield Old Station Land


Fears that this strategic site, which remains under threat from an East Sussex County Council inspired road scheme, could end up with the Highways Agency appear to have been allayed. Nevertheless, a very close watch will be maintained on any further developments.


Earl Attlee gave this assurance to Lord Berkeley: “Strategic land ownerships will be retained under the control of the Secretary of State [Justine Greening] through London & Continental Railways.”


Peter Foot, Rail Operations Advisor at the Department for Transport told BML2 project manager Brian Hart that the Government’s ‘Impact Assessment’ is part of their consultation on the abolition of certain Government quangos; in this instance the British Railways Board (Residual) (BRBR). This consultation closes on 25 June 2012 and full details are on the DfT website at http://www.dft.gov.uk/consulations/dft-2012-11

 

Meanwhile, Rail Minister Theresa Villiers has signed off a departmental letter to Brighton & Hove MP Mike Weatherley saying that the Government’s position on Brighton Main Line 2 has not altered. It says BML2 is “not likely to attract central Government funding in the short-term or medium-term” because, despite several imaginative ways in which BML2 could get to the outskirts of London “they have not been able to find a credible solution that would enable BML2 trains to reach central London.”


The response continued: “BML2 trains might be routed via East Croydon or via Tonbridge” – a remark which Brian Hart believes reveals the DfT simply doesn’t understand BML2.


“We’ve never suggested BML2 trains could be routed via Tonbridge as the Kent main line is full” he said. “BML2 is all about solving severe overcrowding on both the Brighton and Tonbridge main lines by re-establishing a desperately-needed main line from Kent, Sussex and Surrey into London using currently under-used or closed railway assets.”


Mrs Villiers’ letter ends: “Should the economics of the BML2 proposal change in the future, of course we would be prepared to look at this again.” However, this is unlikely to quell the demand for urgent solutions from MPs and peers.


With nothing on the table apart from more and more overcrowding, ever-higher fares, airlines and the capital demanding more rail capacity, yet no investment in any new lines in the congested south, the Government’s complete lack of direction is being woefully exposed.


Instead of continually scratching around for desperate excuses, it should be investigating and assisting in ways to bring BML2 forward.