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Railfuture makes the case for Uckfield – Lewes reopening

New research shows that reopening the Uckfield – Lewes line will generate economic growth in East Sussex, Railfuture has stated.

The campaign group found that investment in the rail link would speed up journey times and provide extra capacity. The report also recommends promoting economic growth in Hastings, Eastbourne and Newhaven through rail improvements along the Sussex Coast.

Chris Page of Railfuture said: “This is great news, as we now have evidence to support the proposal that we have been campaigning for. We have been working with local authorities, including East Sussex County Council, to develop a new station car park and transport hub at Uckfield, and to protect the route so that it can be reopened."

“By combining the benefits of regional economic growth with increased network capacity, we can create a viable business case for reopening to provide services to Brighton and the Sussex Coast. We want to work with ESCC and Network Rail to find a solutions which fits with their plans, supports economic growth in the region and benefits passengers.”

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Bob_Snail   19/07/2013 at 16:27

This seems to confirm other opinions expressed on the BML2 website. Let's hope it goes ahead - it would be of much more benefit than the expensive and unnecessary white elephant vanity project known as HS2 and completed quicker.

RDB Redhill   19/07/2013 at 18:02

I frequently trave to London and find that the normal train service is overwhelmed with passengers. If people travelling from East Sussex and Kent have an alternative, the main Brighton line will be able to cope more adequately with the demand on its services. I think the reintroduction of services through Uckfield will create enormous economic benefits to the whole area.

Pedr Jarvis   19/07/2013 at 19:41

With great respect to Mr Snail a suburban line in Sussex, however desirable, is not going to solve the decline of the North of England because of poor communications with Europe. Some form of HS2 is essential to allow continental loading gauge vehicles beyond London.

ALBERT J THOMAS   20/07/2013 at 15:51

How long more do have we have to wait for this vital and long overdue project to proceed?

Ricp   22/07/2013 at 00:58

Lewes is a relatively simple project, whereby the restoration of two routes into Lewes is ultimately possible. Initially the newly restored route would join the existing formation just north-west of Lewes. This is a relatively simple project, and this would help capacity by transferring Eastbourne, Newhaven or the section east of Hampden Park towards Hastings. Over the 2-hour peak window 12 trains run to and from London from either Victoria or London Bridge, and the potential capacity is 12 x 10 or 12 car trains. East Grinstead could be be served by detaching a 4 or 5-car set at Hurst Green. An 8-car set could be split again at Lewes or Eastbourne. There are many possibilities, the most important thing being that there is no loss of service on the Brighton Main Line. While some trains would provide additional capacity, such as 10-12-car trains replacing 4-6 or 8-car trains on the Uckfield line. The main issue is the Campaign for BML2, wher the existin service could be diverted North of Selsdon over the Tramlink route towards Elmers End and Lewisham. This is an interesting sideshow, but it is unlikely to bear fruit, as there are too many 'things in the way', Croydon Tramlink and the Hayes branch Time to get the prorities right. Restore double track an electrify the line throughout at 750Vdc. This can be undertaken using the high conductivity conductor, now the currennt standard on the Underground. Uckfield will have to be electrified as Southern is looking to riun 10-car trains, and the Class 171 DMUs do not meet current emission levels. However they can be released for use elsewhere. 6x 377/6 series units would cover the basics. Meanwhile Network Rail completes its analysis of the two possible routes from Uckfield into Lewes. Both projects could be completed by the end of 2016! Meanwhile the more complex project, approaching Lewes from the east but without the cost of an expensive tunnel. If the various parties would campaign for phasing these works this, this scheme can be completed by the end of CP5, ie the spring 2019. The extension of all London to Uckfield onwards towards Lewes, the East Sussex branches and Coastway route to Hastings would be a start. The best option for operating into Brighton could then be worked up in the GRIP process by NR. The simple message is get started, stop arguing over a/c or d/c 3rd rail, get Uckfield electrified, and at least get to Lewes as soon as possible.

Joeykins82   23/07/2013 at 11:58

The electrification of Oxsted-Uckfield/Lewes will almost certainly be OHLE AC; all of Southern's stock that would be used on these services and all of their recent orders are either dual voltage capable already or just need minor modifications, which they'll need eventually anyway given that NR are on the verge of committing to replacing the vast majority of the 3rd rail DC network with OHLE AC as it comes up for renewal.

Rwb   26/07/2013 at 23:00

let's all get started NOW by telling the ORR before 4th September close of consultation on draft determination that lengthening trains on the Uckfield branch in CP5 is far better done by electrifying Hurst Green-Uckfield for 377s rather than just lengthening platforms for non-existent extra 171s.

Stuart Moore   02/08/2013 at 15:31

Its a shame the the old Eridge to Tunbridge wells branch isn't included in the reopening plans as this would allow trains from London bridge an alternative route. The closure of both these lines now both heavily built upon in places was nothing short of criminal stupidity.

Ricp   05/08/2013 at 23:29

The cost of converting the Southern Electric Network to AC is wishful thinking, and likely to get squeezed out. As I put in my earlier post, the aluminium composite rail makes DC much more efficient, isolated islands of 25kv does not produce a viable network. How many units do you put pantographs on?

Phil Cooper   10/08/2013 at 22:52

In reply to Pedr Jarvis, re-opening the Great Central Railway route will allow continental loading gauge vehicles beyond London.

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