Mr Dyer (Herald, August 31) obviously has time on his hands if his preferred route to London is by bus to Tunbridge Wells (which takes longer than by train from Eastbourne to Victoria) and then by train, which takes another hour.
It is undoubtedly cheaper as Tunbridge Wells is only 35 miles from London – less than from Haywards Heath.
Why not go all the way by bus; with his pass, it would then be completely free!
That said, I do think a 70-minute fast service to Eastbourne is ‘pie in the sky’. The trains aren’t going to go physically faster as this depends on the trains themselves, the power supply and the signalling system, so all you can do is cut out stops.
As I understand it, the proposal is to stop only at East Croydon, Gatwick, Lewes and Polegate.
The current timing Victoria to Gatwick (depart) with two stops is 33 mins. Cutting out Clapham Jn. might save 3 min, giving Victoria - Gatwick in 30 mins.
Currently Gatwick (depart) to Lewes (depart) is 33 mins including the splitting stop at Haywards Heath and one other (Wivelsfield or Plumpton).
The front portions are allowed 4 mins. for splitting; add another 2 mins for not stopping at all and another 2 mins for missing the other stop - 8 mins in total.
That gives Gatwick - Lewes in 25 mins. Currently, Lewes to Eastbourne with a stop at Polegate is allowed 20 mins.
Re-signalling this section seems unlikely to save more than 2 mins, so we have an absolute minimum of 30+25+18 = 73 minutes.
If you want the service to be passably reliable, you don’t time it on what might be achieved in the most favourable circumstances, so 75 mins looks like a practical minimum.
Commuter trains won’t get any faster as the villagers of Sussex will still want their additional intermediate stops.
As for the daytime service, the faster of the two Victoria - Eastbourne timings is currently 86 mins.
So are businesses and tourists going to come flooding to Eastbourne if they discover that the trains will get there just over 10 mins quicker? I remain to be convinced.
R. Cripps, Eldon Road