Rail campaigners on wrong track

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I WAS astonished to read the article and opinion regarding the train service and proposal to cut 20 to 30 minutes off the journey time from Eastbourne to London.

This proposal will make a laughing stock of the delegation and write off any future credibility that may be needed.

Anyone with the slightest knowledge of train operation will see that achieving this sort of time reduction is out of the question. The distance from Eastbourne to Victoria is 65 miles, to lop 20-30 minutes off the journey time would require an average speed of 60-70 mph.

Existing services are timed at 90 mph wherever possible which means any improvement would be in a few minutes only by reducing the intermediate stops.

A new High Speed Railway would need to be constructed with trains running non stop to Victoria which could just about make it. This is out of the question!

The London to Brighton line is one of the most intensively used lines in the UK. Using existing track, any service would need to run non stop to London and even then 60 to 70 minute time would be almost impossible.

With stops at Polegate, Lewes, Haywards Heath, Gatwick Airport, East Croydon and Clapham Junction coupled with upgrading the line speed to Keymer Junction (where the Eastbourne line joins the Brighton Main line) the best that could be achieved is around a 7 to 10 minute improvement.

Eliminating any of the above stops would inconvenience travellers to and from those points, many being interchange stations for other lines, Gatwick Airport is an essential stopping point. To eliminate any would put the loadings on trains and a reduction in service at risk.

I suggest the interested parties sit down with experienced railway operators nefore submitting any proposal, to ensure that whatever is put forward is feasible and not just pie in the sky.

I have been a railwayman for more than 45 years and have studied the operation side of the railway for many years.

CHRIS V OSMAN

Whitley Road.