Effective lobbying by Lewes Lib Dem MP Norman Baker today passed dividends as the chancellor announced a new £100,000 study in to the reopen of the Lewes- Uckfield railway line as part of his budget announcements.
The budget statement says: “People in the South East will benefit from the Government providing £100k for a further study into reopening the Lewes–Uckfield railway line”.
Norman says: “It has become clearer than ever in recent weeks that there is a need for an alternative line from the Sussex Coast to London. A reopened Lewes-Uckfield line would provide exactly that, enabling through trains to run from Seaford and Newhaven via Uckfield, and also freeing up space on the Brighton main line for more Brighton trains. It would also strengthen the resilience of the railway which at the moment is very vulnerable to problems with either the Balcombe Tunnel or Balcombe Viaduct. Yet again this weekend we have engineering works at Balcombe, forcing my constituents to travel by bus from Lewes to Three Bridges.
“I have been lobbying for the reopening of this line for over 25 years and the case gets stronger with every passing year. The coalition government, thanks to the Lib Dems, has a good record on rail expansion. Taking Lewes-Uckfield forward would be the icing on the cake
“Now it is time for everyone, including those who have advocated BML2, to get behind this study and start pulling in the same direction. We have a real chance to get this line re-opened and we need to grasp it with both hands
“I will be discussing the terms of reference of the study with the Transport Secretary shortly.”