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bringing important railway connections together

SUSSEX ~ Ignored and left behind yet again

The Gov.UK website calls ‘Network North’ ‘a new approach to transport in the country’ and – as a consequence of abandoning HS2 –‘every region will now receive investment in the modes of transport that matter to you most.’  Well that sounds encouraging, but the devil is always in the detail.

The South East’s comparatively small £1.3bn is destined entirely for roads with nothing allocated towards easing rail’s interminable situation. Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham might care to heed what was said only a few weeks ago: ‘Network Rail’s Sussex route is among the busiest and most congested in the country, carrying 3,200 trains every weekday. Some of the oldest railway infrastructure can also be found along the Sussex route’.

But surely, Transport Minister Richard Holden meant every word at September’s Brighton conference, telling Transport for the South East delegates: ‘We’re committed to ensuring local residents can rely on a world-class transport network”. Or is it just more of the same – as former Chancellor George Osborne so famously said of Sussex: “a part of the country so often ignored or left behind under previous Governments”.....?

The abject failure to address the South East’s notorious and long-standing absent rail connections couldn’t be clearer on Gov.UK’s frontispiece. This is no oversight because they’ve been perfectly aware of this catastrophe for decades. Its omission amounts to utter contempt for this region.

Ratification of TfSE’s Plan rejoining Sussex, Kent and Surrey’s absent rail links should now be given the utmost priority.

This is only an extract from our latest news article which can be read in full at The News area of this website.


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Read the full story in The News section of our website

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The reinstatement of this strategic main line must be brought forward because its need could not be more urgent.
Network Rail completed all the feasibility and engineering studies in 2008 – just get on and do it! 

Transport for the South East (TfSE) has just released its Delivery Plan for implementing its programme supporting the economic and environmental wellbeing of the region in the years to come and which pinpoints the necessary ‘interventions’. Our interest focuses on the ‘corridors that fan out in the south to connect much of the Sussex coastline to the capital.’

There is a ‘Technical Advisor Team’ comprising three individual consultancies: Steer, Atkins and WSP. With regard to the Uckfield railway, all three have previously been involved in various studies around re-establishing the Lewes–Uckfield line, some going back decades, when East Sussex County Council was nefariously determining the conclusion it wanted.

Alongside TfSE as ‘stakeholders’ are numerous bodies, notably Network Rail and the South Downs National Park Authority – both of which support reinstating the line with the latter demanding ‘greener’ access to this beautiful area.

Giving credit where it is due, TfSE’s Plan says: "The Railway Reinstatements Package brings back into use the Uckfield–Lewes railway and the Tunbridge Wells West–Tunbridge Wells (Central) railway. This will increase resilience of rail connectivity between the South Coast and London whilst creating a new east–west rail link between the Brighton Main Line and Hastings Line.’ 

As we all know, the current means of travel between these major places is possible only by road, primarily by car, so the need for ‘Enhanced connectivity from Brighton via Lewes and Uckfield to Tunbridge Wells’ is a bit of an understatement, whilst the conclusive result – a ‘Large reduction in carbon emissions’ is palpably a given.

However, no surprise is encountered when we discover in TfSE’s Thematic Plan: ‘there are gaps in the rail network (e.g. Uckfield–Lewes)’ – so who was responsible for that?

Read the full article in The News section of this website 





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Read the full story in The News section of our website



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The once-busy railway connecting East Sussex with Kent in Tunbridge Wells will remain rigorously safeguarded for reopening.
Closed and removed in 1985, it is now designated for main line operations by Transport for the South East as part of their Strategic Investment Plan.

With Transport for the South East (TfSE) having submitted its ‘Strategic Investment Plan’ to the Department for Transport for approval in July, there is a growing clamour for urgent action over its rail aspects.

Now that TfSE has come out strongly in favour of reinstating the network connecting Sussex, Kent and Surrey for ‘mainline operations’ with commensurate electrification between Lewes–Tunbridge Wells/Oxted (for new Brighton–London services via Uckfield) this urgently needs a ‘Project Speed’ to quote Network Rail.

As we recently showed, the torpor and ministerial ineptness associated with reinstating a short segment in a Sussex main line is something which astounds many observers, not just in the UK, but overseas too. However, attitudes are increasingly hardening on a local level at this perpetual political indifference, where noticeable cracks are appearing in the so-called ‘blue wall’ south of the capital. In the past month, both District and Borough councils have once again reiterated their strong support for reinstating the Wealden Line as proposed by TfSE

Read the full article in The News section of this website