Readers urged to back the fast track campaign

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A BAND of campaigners fighting for a faster journey time to London want as many Herald readers as possible to back their efforts by bombarding the government with emails and letters.

Led by Eastbourne’s Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd, the group is confident it can secure regular trains to the capital in 72 minutes but is reliant on locals making it clear how much improvements are needed. There is currently a consultation taking place as part of the process to decide who takes over the rail franchise in 2015, when the current deal with Southern runs out.

That runs until August 23 and Mr Lloyd believes now is the perfect time to send a firm message to the powers that be that Eastbourne deserves a quicker connection to London.

The Department for Transport has the power to impose strict guidelines on what is expected of rail operators, which means if Eastbourne makes a strong enough case, the Government could pressure the successful bidder to reduce journey times.

Mr Lloyd, whose campaign is backed by the Herald, said, “If we act now, and are successful in persuading the Department for Transport Eastbourne deserves a faster and better service, more so than other destinations on the network, a 72-minute journey to the capital could become reality.

“However I need your help. The more submissions from like you, sharing your feelings about why Eastbourne needs a faster train service to London, the more likely it is, we will get a faster service.

“Please email or write to the Department of Transport saying why you feel Eastbourne deserves, and would benefit from, a faster service to the capital.”

He believes a faster service will not only improve the lot of local commuters but also attract more business to the area and stop people moving away to the capital.

Readers can email their thoughts to thameslink@dft.gsi.gov.uk or write to The Combined Franchise Replacement Sponsor, Department of Transport, Zone 3-15, Great Minister House, 33 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR.