Support for the concept of a second main line between Brighton and London (dubbed Brighton Main Line 2, BML2) was given by Chancellor George Osborne on a visit to Lewes on April 21.
According to the BML2 campaign group, Osborne said: “The prospective Conservative MP for Lewes, Maria Caulfield, is a strong advocate for a new BML2 line into London and we will look closely at its viability.” In March’s Budget statement, Osborne pledge £100,000 for a study into this project.
“We will also examine a second Brighton main line that could help to ease congestion, speed up journeys and provide regular direct trains to London from Seaford and Newhaven,” Osborne also reportedly said on April 21.
However, Norman Baker, who was seeking re-election as the Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, continued his opposition to BML2 even though he is a long-time and ardent supporter of proposal to re-open the Lewes-Uckfield line, which is a part of BML2.
Baker said: “He is backing something weeks before the election in frankly a desperate attempt to get some votes. The Tories are spraying money and promises around as they are losing the election.”
Brighton Main Line 2 includes a tunnel under the South Downs so that trains off the Uckfield line can reach Brighton, while others can run to Seaford and Newhaven via Lewes.
Such trains would by-pass East Croydon on currently redundant trackbed, avoiding the severe capacity constraint there.
- For more on this subject, see RAIL 774 published on May 13 2015