Eastbourne railway investment

COMMUTERS have been given a boost with the news that Network Rail is planning on investing in improvements to the line between Eastbourne and London.

Train passengers could be forgiven for having got used to bad news in recent months, with fare increases dominating the news. But according to a group of Sussex-based lobbyists the decision to re-signal the area could show things are about to change.

Work will take place along the track from just south of Haywards Heath, via Lewes and Eastbourne, to Bo-Peep junction in the east of the county, with the work scheduled to be completed by 2013.

As well as new circuit signalling to replace the existing old-style block-section operation, the revamp will include some work designed to speed up parts of the track – meaning potentially shorter journey times to the capital.

And, according to rail lobbyist Martin Woodfine, the upgrade will provide a stronger infrastructure and provide future franchise holders with more flexibility should they wish to introduce more, or quicker trains.

Mr Woodfine told the Herald, “This is tremendous news and we welcome Network Rail’s commitment to the line improvements.

“This will remove a significant part of the entrenched infrastructure problems which service operators face in this area, with benefits to passengers going to Brighton, Gatwick and Victoria.

“The potential for faster, more frequent, journeys may have an environmental impact with people switching from road to rail along this congested transport corridor.

“We hope that our ongoing discussions with the industry will bring further positive results in the relatively near future.”

Fellow campaigner Ray Chapman, who heads the East Sussex Rail Alliance. He said, “This is great news for the whole of East Sussex and we thank Network Rail for their ongoing efforts in the area.”