Chancellor commits to look at Brighton mainline upgrade study

Sarah Green August 5, 2015

George Osborne MP, indicates when announcing the extension of the scope of the Lewes-Uckfield rail study, that he wants to look at rail links in Sussex more generally, including the viability of a Brighton Main Line 2.

Simon Kirby MP
Simon Kirby MP with Rail Minister, Claire Perry MP

The Chancellor was responding to a letter from Maria Caulfield, the new Conservative MP for Lewes.

He said: “As part of the Summer Budget, I have announced the extension of the scope of the Lewes–Uckfield study to look at improving rail links between London and the south coast, including upgrades to existing routes, consideration of the Brighton Main Line corridor, and re-examination of the Department for Transport’s feasibility study on BML2.”

Cllr Geoffrey Theobald
Cllr Geoffrey Theobald

Cllr. Theobald, a long-term supporter of BML2, said: “This really is very welcome news indeed and I would like to thank the Chancellor for his foresight in extending the feasibility study to include BML2. It is clear from his letter that he recognises, not only the benefits to long-suffering commuters of a second Brighton mainline but, equally importantly, the potentially massive economic benefits to the south east as a whole. Maria Caulfield deserves a lot of credit for continuing to pursue the case for BML2 in the face of a vociferous and often misleading campaign by her predecessor, Norman Baker, against it. As a former Brighton councillor, Maria can see the wider benefits that BML2 would bring, not just to her constituency. I very much hope that the study will now proceed apace because the current mainline is clearly very close to breaking point.”

Simon Kirby, Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven is delighted at the news.

He said: “This is great news that the Chancellor has said he will include the viability of a Brighton Main Line 2 in the upgrade study. As a regular commuter myself, I am very much aware of the frustration that an unreliable service can cause. I have been pressing for improvements for a long time, together with other MPs in the South and am delighted that the Chancellor has taken this decision.”

Mr Kirby has met regularly with Rail Minister, Claire Perry MP and management of Southern Rail, Thameslink and Network Rail along with other Southern MPs to discuss concerns about issues of reliability, seating and customer services.