An independent report looking into the failings on the Southern network has recommended the electrification of the line and a new depot for trains and crew at Crowborough.
The Government-commission report looking into issues on the Southern network, was carried out by Chris Gibb, a Non-Executive Director of Network Rail with over 30 years’ industry experience. The Government has been criticised for holding back the report until after the General Election; the Department of Transport received the report at the end of last year.
Appendix 5 of the report deals specifically with the Uckfield line and makes the following proposals:
- the 25-mile stretch from the Hurst Green junction to Uckfield should be electrified using overhead cables (rather than a third rail);
- if the line was electrified, the replacement fleet could have greater capacity for standing passengers;
- some trains could travel via Thameslink to serve stations to the North of London;
- if trains were compatible to those on the East Grinstead line, off-peak trains could couple and de-couple at Oxted reducing costs;
- the ability to split trains at Oxted, could provide two additional evening services from London Victoria to the stations on the Uckfield branch;
- there should be new sidings for the storage of four trains at Crowborough station, reducing the inefficiency of trains running empty from Selhurst for the start of the morning commute to London;
- trains should be driver-only operated, with on-board supervisors;
- 30 train crew, and several nightshift train cleaners, should be recruited to the new depot at Crowborough.
Click on the following link to download the full Southern Network Gibb Report (see Appendix 5).