New transport minister Chris Grayling could be the man to finally push through campaigners wishes for a second Brighton mainline (BML2).
The campaign which has gone on for almost 20 years has persistently stated its desire for a second mainline to run from Brighton through Falmer, Uckfield, and Crowborough before reach Croydon and central London. This line would relieve pressure on the existing London-Brighton line.
Calls have been intensified in light of recent weeks continued disruptions and cancellations in train services running down BML1 (Brighton to London) which culminated in the temporary closure by police of Brighton station on Tuesday night. Passengers have recently been protesting their discontent with the rail service company following a prolonged RMT dispute.
A spokesperson for the BML2 campaign in response to new PMs Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle: “Here in the south there is virtual mutiny among commuters; large-scale and vociferous protests at Southern’s stations and London termini; whilst widespread discontent, frustration and sheer anger is being expressed at what’s going on.
“Calls for GoVia to be stripped of its Southern and Southeastern franchises are being made daily; petitions are flying around and placards are being waved. MPs have been demanding swift and decisive action from rail minister Claire Perry – who asserted that changing the train operator would solve nothing – and now even she has thrown in the towel and resigned.
“Fortunately, Theresa May has already made her first good move by appointing Chris Grayling as Secretary of State for Transport. He is more than aware of the problems on the Brighton line as, exactly a decade ago, on July 21, 2006, he wrote to the Wealden Line Campaign saying: ‘I can understand your interest in the scheme and appreciate the potential benefits of opening up the line to the South Coast through Uckfield’.
“This was followed in May 2007 when, as Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, he wrote about the Conservative’s plan to protect certain key disused rail lines, with the Uckfield line being one of the top four they were most interested in. What Chris Grayling said ten years ago is even truer today: ‘There are towns and cities up and down the country where transport systems are bursting at the seams and it makes sense to protect old transport corridors from development. Too many developments are being planned without adequate provision for local infrastructure. In many cases, disused railway lines provide corridors into city and town centres. We want to make sure that there is adequate protection for potential public transport routes to help ensure that our towns and cities grow in sustainable ways’.
“Also appointed to the new team is Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby, who received a call from Prime Minister Theresa May at the weekend, offering him a ministerial position as Economic Secretary to the Treasury in her new government.
“Simon Kirby has been a long-standing supporter of BML2 and we hope he will use his influence in his new post.
“Fundamentally it’s all about providing far more capacity into the network so more trains can operate whereby all those ‘hard working people’ can rely on getting to work on time, comfortably and without delays. Transport is a pivotal element of a successful economy such as London, whilst nothing facilitates growth, prosperity and regeneration more than a new railway.”
Do you think BML2 would be worth the investment? Surely it could be the solution to continued disruption to the the BML1 service.