Rail target 70 minutes to London

THE campaign to get a faster train service to London is underway and organisers say they will not rest until passengers can reach the capital in 70 minutes.

As revealed in last week’s Herald, a delegation from Eastbourne was in London for meetings with rail operator Southern and a second firm, First Group, which is expected to bid for the local franchise in 2015.

The idea was to talk to try and encourage both firms to provide better and more regular service between the capital and the south coast.

Current rules mean train companies are given a list of targets by the Department for Transport - including journey times and how often trains are run.

And the Fast Track campaign team, backed by the Herald, hopes to lobby the powers-that-be into knocking almost half an hour off the current Eastbourne to Victoria route.

Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd is heading up Fast Track alongside Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, Eastbourne Hospitality Association, Eastbourne Borough Council, East Sussex County Council and East Sussex Rail Alliance.

Mr Lloyd believes it is high time Eastbourne had better rail links that would have a huge impact on life locally.

He said, “First and foremost, it will improve quality of life for those who commute to the capital every day and stop many moving away from the town when the journey becomes unbearable.

“As well as retaining many middle and high earners we will also attract many more keen to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital and surrounding areas of astronomical house prices, under performing schools and low quality of life.

“Eastbourne offers quite the opposite. This will mean a big boost to spending power in the local economy which in turn will have a huge impact on jobs and businesses across the town.

“Currently we don’t fare as well as we could in attracting day trippers from the capital. Brighton, which is far inferior to Eastbourne in many ways, is packed. A quicker journey time will address this and put us firmly on the map for day trip destinations for the capital’s 11 million inhabitants.

“Any reduction in travel time between Eastbourne and London will be fantastic for our town; a significant step towards the magic 70 minutes. I’m determined to make it become a reality.”

r Visit www.eastbourneherald.co.uk, for Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd’s full article about his fight for quicker trains.

Do you think Eastbourne should have a quicker train to London? What impact do you think improvements would have to the town? Email us your thoughts to eastbourne.herald@trbeckett.co.uk.