Fast train service one step closer?

MP Stephen Lloyd
MP Stephen Lloyd

The town’s MP says the campaign for a 70-minute train between Eastbourne and London has been given a boost.

Stephen Lloyd made the comments following the Department of Transport’s relaunch of the Thameslink Franchise bidding process which will include the Southern service to Eastbourne from 2015.

The consultation was held in 2012 and a large group of Eastbourne organisations, led by the MPs’ Commission, submitted a detailed document putting the business case for a faster train service to and from the capital.

However, the whole franchise process was put on hold briefly by the Coalition Government, but has now resumed with the consultation response and Invitation To Tender being released at the end of September.

While the Department for Transport’s document makes no specific timetable stipulations, the Eastbourne in 70 minutes campaign is referenced repeatedly throughout the report.

Mr Lloyd said the document put lots of emphasis on the train companies to find innovative and popular ways to improve the service, and the tender will be decided on this as much as the bottom line. The politician believes this puts the local campaign in a very good position to achieve its goal.

He added, “While the Department’s response does not immediately give us the silver bullet that we had hoped for, it does put our campaign in a very strong position and I am optimistic going forward.

“I’m also very grateful to the hundreds of local residents and businesses who wrote in to the consultation, as it has put Eastbourne in a very strong position.”

“I will now be meeting with all the five train operator companies short listed for this franchise to ensure that they know a possible competitive edge for them lies in providing a faster train service for our town.”