MP continues to keep fast train plans on track

Eastbourne station, railway station from Cavendish Place bridge showing Southern Railway train in sidings. April 11th 2013 E15144P
Eastbourne station, railway station from Cavendish Place bridge showing Southern Railway train in sidings. April 11th 2013 E15144P

Eastbourne’s MP Stephen Lloyd has continued his campaign in Parliament to see a fast train between the town and London.

He has met each bidder individually to explain the benefits that a journey time of 70 minutes could bring to the town and the financial gain for the businesses.

Mr Lloyd said each bidder was open to the idea of a faster train, adding, “I was very pleased to meet with the five train companies again, and particularly impressed to hear the high regard they all have for our ‘Eastbourne in 70 minutes’ campaign.

“While there are still many technical barriers to cross before we get this service, it is clear that our argument is being heard. And I can’t say I’m surprised, with our town pulling together in the same direction, unemployment falling 34 per cent since the height of the recession, and multi-million pound infrastructure projects amongst the many tangible indicators that Eastbourne has been bucking the trend.”

Earlier this month the politician said the scheme had been given a boost after the franchise process that had been put on hold briefly by the Coalition Government had resumed.

He made the comments following the Department of Transport’s relaunch of the Thameslink Franchise bidding process. He said while the department’s document made no specific timetable stipulations, the Eastbourne in 70 minutes campaign is referenced repeatedly throughout.

This and the latest positive meetings with bidders has been welcomed by Mr Lloyd, who added, “There is still some way to go before a faster train finally pulls out of the Eastbourne Terminus, but I am covering all bases – having also written to the Secretary of State for Transport this week, on top of meeting with his officials, numerous stakeholders and now the individual bidders.

“I know our message is being heard and I will keep up the pressure.”

Back in 2012 a consultation was held on the issue and a large group of Eastbourne organisations, led by the MP’s Commission, submitted a detailed document putting the business case for a faster train service to and from the capital.

Mr Lloyd had said he was grateful to the hundreds of local residents and businesses who wrote in to the consultation.