In last week’s budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said he was extending the scope of the Uckfield-Lewes study to look at other ways of improving rail links to the Sussex coast.
In recent years campaigers have argued re-opening the Uckfield to Lewes could provide an alternative route into London when there is disruption on the Brighton Main Line. But in May 2014 a report from Network Rail decided the industry should focus on bottlenecks at the London end. The report however reccommended that the route of the old line should continue to be protected from development.
Back in March, George Osbourne announced the Government were providing £100,000 for a further study into reopening the rail line. Now during his Summer Budget on 8th July, the Chancellor said the study would include proposals for alternative mainlines into the capital:
The Government will extend 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 DfT’s feasibility study on BML2.
A copy of a letter to the Lewes MP from the Rail Minister Claire Perry, sent a couple of weeks before the recent budget, spells of the Department’s intentions in lightly more detail.
The Department for Transport intends that the study will be completed with recommendations made to Ministers by the end of 2015.