Rail changes could save time

I agree with Ivor Hueting (letters, August 30) that the major challenge facing the railway to London is one of capacity, but that does not mean that it is not possible to achieve faster services with the present infrastructure.

A small change to train pathing would allow the joining and splitting of trains at Haywards Heath to be ended. That would save up to seven minutes.

If you then have one of the two trains per hour calling at smaller stations such as Plumpton and one train per hour bypassing them, a further five or so minutes can be released for the faster train.

However I also agree we need to look at more far-reaching solutions, including the reopening of the Lewes-Uckfield rail line (rather than the unrealistic so-called BML2) and the electrification of the line northfrom Uckfield.

This is something I have been campaigning for since the 1980s and would allow some trains from Eastbourne or Seaford to reach London via Uckfield instead of Haywards Heath.

Happily, that is precisely what the coalition government, at my request, has now formally asked Network Rail to investigate, as part of a study into the capacity of the rail corridor from London to Sussex, an initiative launched recently when the Transport Secretary Patrick McLaughlin joined me at Lewes station.


Lib Dem MP for Lewes and Transport Minister