MP urges readers to get on board Fast Track campaign

Stephen Lloyd MP after meeting train franchise officials at the Dept of Transport.
Stephen Lloyd MP after meeting train franchise officials at the Dept of Transport.

THE MP spearheading Eastbourne’s fight for faster trains to the capital wants Herald readers to bombard rail operators with their calls for a better line to London.

Stephen Lloyd is leading the Fast Track campaign – which is backed by the Herald – and believes the town can secure a 70-minute journey time to London Victoria.

And together with a clutch of local business leaders and passenger groups the Lib Dem is confident of convincing the Department for Transport to make improving the journey time a condition of any deal with rail operators when the contract comes up for grabs in 2015.

Mr Lloyd has already met with senior officials from rail firms to discuss the plans and now wants local people to do their bit by sending emails and letters to the Department for Transport (DfT).

Speaking this week he said, “I will now be making suggestions to the Department for Transport about how it can facilitate a faster train and making a case, supported by evidence based data about why Eastbourne deserves a quicker service.

“I also need the support of Eastbourne residents, hoteliers and businesses to strengthen our case.

“Local people can write or email the DfT saying why they feel Eastbourne should have a faster service, and what likely benefits, it would bring.

“Residents may also wish to let the DfT know if this will make it more likely they will use the service, as it will strengthen our business case.

“Please do write in.

“We have a real opportunity to get that hourly faster train that we’ve all strived for: Eastbourne in 70 minutes. Help me help our town.”

Anyone who wants to back the campaign should either email thameslink@dft.gsi.gov.uk or write to The Combined Franchise Replacement Sponsor, Department for Transport, Zone 3/15, Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR.

Mr Lloyd was supported by Belinda Fordham, spokesman for East Sussex Rail Alliance, who said, “Decreasing journey times fundamentally underpins economic regeneration and growth.

“Eastbourne in 70 is just like Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France – it is achievable, if we want it badly enough.”