A bid for a fast train between Eastbourne to London is gathering speed, according to the town’s MP Stephen Lloyd.
The Liberal Democrat says he has been in constant contact with minsters at the Department of Transport pushing the case for a faster train and recently gained a significant concession making the goal more achievable.
Lobbying for the fast train has been going on for 18 months since the new franchise was first announced and in that time the MP has met with ministers as well as the individual train companies shortlisted for the franchise.
Mr Lloyd said, “A number of key local organisations including Eastbourne Borough Council, Chamber of Commerce, FSB, Eastbourne Hospitality Association, MPs’ Commission, the Town Team and Eastbourne Can have all joined me in pressing for a train that can make the journey from Eastbourne to London in around 70 minutes.
“However, following meetings, it became clear that while many were supportive, there was a potential issue with train timings as a document specified that certain stations had to be stopped at a certain number of times per hour, and this would have consequences for any fast train.
“I was concerned so took the issue straight to the Secretary of State. I have heard that the Department has agreed to introduce some flexibility to these specifications to allow stations with considerably more passengers like Eastbourne to be prioritised. This is a significant win for the campaign.
“The concession from the department is an important clarification and makes it more likely that train companies will now be able to provide a faster train between Eastbourne and London.
“I am genuinely optimistic that we may be able to get this faster train soon. Eastbourne is a town on the up, and a fast train will be the icing on the cake.”