Lewes MP Maria Caulfield pushes rail line reinstatement bid

Uckfield to Lewes railway line reinstatement campaigners have been given new hope.

A bid for a share of the Department for Transport’s £500 million Restoring Your Railway Fund has been made.

The application has come from Maria Caulfield, the MP for Lewes.

Uckfield to Lewes line closed 50 years ago

The end of the line at Uckfield Railway Station. File photograph

She submitted an initial application for the inclusion of the Sussex and Kent phases of BML2 [Brighton Main Line 2] in the government’s fund.

She said on social media: “Our team have been working feverishly behind the scenes regarding this.”

The government has asked MPs, local councils and community groups across England and Wales to propose how they could use funding to reinstate axed local services and restore stations.

The funding will be split in three ways to offer support to projects at different phases of development:

Ideas Fund

This will provide support to proposals to reinstate axed local services. These should be sponsored by MPs working with local authorities and community groups.

Accelerating existing proposals

As well as looking for new ideas, the £500 million fund will be used to help accelerate the development of closed lines and stations which are already in the process of being considered for restoration.

Proposals for new and restored stations

A new round of the New Stations Fund will support both the development of new stations and the restoration of old station sites.

Ms Caulfield said the government was due to make a decision in the summer.

“Hopefully we should know fairly soon if the Lewes to Uckfield Line could be reopened.

“I think most people want to see it opening,” she said.

A heritage train known as a Thummper at Worth Halt on the preserved Lavender Line at Isfield

A Thumper returns to Worth Halt at Isfield after a run over a section of what once was the Uckifled to Lewes railway line

What is BML2?

BML2 aims to not only restore the line to Lewes but is much more ambitious.

Its website says:

“Its principal aim is to substantially improve and enlarge the South East’s rail network by introducing new main lines whereby more services into London may operate. 

“These new services would also usefully connect counties on both sides of the Thames by passing through the rapidly expanding eastern side of the capital.

BML2

A map taken from the BML2 website which shows the scope of the project

“So, despite what its name suggests, it is also a great deal more than just relieving pressure on the country’s busiest and most congested rail route – the London-Brighton Line. 

“Additionally, BML2 would not only be of great benefit to hard-pressed commuters, but would also restore valuable strategic rail links across Sussex, Surrey and Kent.

You can read more on the BML2 website

The railway line between Uckfield and Lewes was closed almost 51 years and last February, this website published:

Uckfield to Lewes rail line: 50 years of hurt

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