Cutting journey time is achievable

ESRA would like to thank Chris Osman for his letter in last week’s Herald re faster rail services.

The current DfT consultation to tender a combined Southern, South Eastern and Thameslink franchise will provide East Sussex with perhaps the only opportunity it has had in the last few decades, and certainly the only opportunity it will have for the next 15 years to re-shape rail services to meet both current and future demands.

Decreasing journey times fundamentally underpins economic regeneration and growth. ‘Eastbourne in 70’ is just like Wiggins winning the Tour de France.

It is achievable, if we want it badly enough and work hard to provide the DfT with workable, cost neutral solutions.

There are many factors that combined will deliver this. Network Rail is already part way through delivering a major re-signalling programme which will allow faster line speeds between Eastbourne and Lewes.

Added to this there are options such as ending the splitting procedures at Lewes/Haywards Heath as this often takes up to nine minutes; decreasing the number of station stops such as one train per hour not stopping at Clapham Junction and through a full re-write of the timetable a reduction in queuing times at key junctions such as Keymer.

These time-savings: nine mins at Haywards Heath, two mins at Clapham Junction and several minutes through the resignalling achieves the target reduction without compromising stops at Polegate, Lewes, Gatwick Airport and East Croydon and ensures a balanced loading that is sustainable.

The slower hourly Eastbourne service will continue to maintain the local stops such as Plumpton, Wivelsfield and also Haywards Heath and Clapham Junction.

Why not join us in this campaign as rail reform is fundamental to the success of Eastbourne’s growth strategy

Belinda Fordham, East Sussex Rail Alliance