Chancellor George Osborne pledged £100,000 towards a new study into reopening the Uckfield to Lewes rail line.
The news was within yesterday’s Budget papers and said:
“Lewes to Uckfield rail line study – The government will provide £100,000 for a further study into reopening the Lewes to Uckfield rail line.”
No further information was given.
Lobby group claims a major success
Pressure group Railfuture welcomed the statement and said it was a “major success” for its campaign and it would work to ensure the scope of the study captured all the potential benefits a re-opening could bring.
The group had lobbied Rail Minister Claire Perry at a “rail summit” in Hastings at the end of January.
Railfuture is “campaigning for electrification of the Uckfield line to improve reliability, accelerate services and lengthen trains, and reopening of the rail link between Uckfield and Lewes to provide access from the Weald to the employment centre of Brighton and an additional route between the South Coast and London, relieving the Brighton Main Line”.
Just before the Budget, Lewes MP Norman Baker called for the Chancellor to use the Budget to “take forward the case reopen to the Lewes-Uckfield railway line”.
Earlier this year the Conservative candidate for the Wealden constituency, Nus Ghani, held a rail summit at Crowborough with her opposite number from Tonbridge constituency, to press for improvements on the Uckfield line.
Network Rail carried out a survey in 2008 which concluded the benefits of reinstatement were not sufficient to justify the costs.
Last year the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin asked Network Rail to undertake a new study into reopening the line.
Background to the closure of the Uckfield – Lewes rail line: “You can’t really blame Beeching”
London Bridge: In a separate development Network Rail announced measures to improve the reliability of services from London Bridge and to better manage and communicate with passengers while the massive rebuild of the station continues.