Government accused of being ‘cagey and vague’ over refusal to release early BML2 report

Posted On 26 Jan 2016 at 10:02 am

As anger mounts over poor services on the overcrowded Brighton mainline, the Government is refusing to release any details of an interim report into the feasibility of a second line from the capital to the coast.

Southern trains stock shot
The Network Rail study was originally confined to whether the Lewes to Uckfield line could be reopened, but was widened to look at how this could form part of a second line from London to Brighton in August when the Government boosted its funding.

Rail minister Claire Perry has answered parliamentary questions by both Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas and Hove MP Peter Kyle by saying an interim report has now been completed – but details will not be released until the full report is published in “early 2016”.

Ms Lucas said: “The minister answered my question by saying she is keeping the interim findings of the BML2 study secret.  This is unacceptable.

“Ministers might try and argue that things are at an early stage but that does not wash – the notion of the need for a study into this rail corridor has been around for a very long time, and the timeframe of ‘early 2016’ is far too vague.

“Last week, there was an angry meeting of MPs with ministers and rail bosses, because we still face chaos on the Brighton mainline with cancellations and severe delays, bringing chaos and major inconvenience to the thousands of people who daily rely upon this essential line.

“To expand the capacity between Brighton and Hove and London, we have got to have investment in BML2 as a permanent, long-term solution.  Ministers are being cagey and vague over their long overdue BML2 study when what we want is transparency, commitment and action.”

  1. Gerald Wiley Reply

    I would just like to know what Caroline and Peter expect from a “BML2”. Is it the panacea of all evils, the same way that nationalisation is supposed to be?

    Will this mean a totally separate, duplicate, route from the capital to Brighton with no “single points of failure”? This is especially as all trains from Victoria seem to end up on a single 2-track viaduct from Battersea to Clapham Junction.

    Will BML2 avoid London Victoria, Clapham Junction, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport and Haywards Heath and provide a totally different route in case of major failures?

    How about a new route from London Bridge to Oxted avoiding East Croydon and thence to Uckfield and Lewes and so into Brighton from the East? What will all those affected by the necessary re-twinning and electrification of current tracks; laying new routes through outer London; and reinstating routes closed by Dr. Beeching through Sussex to support all the additional trains; think of this?

    I imagine, like with HS2, this will be a major field day for all the various NIMBYs. Look what happened with the Bexhill to Hastings link road.

    If journey times via this alternative, BML2, are longer than those on the current route, who will want to use this, except as a fall back route, and if so are their better, less costly options to deal with the situation when there are problems?

    Will Brighton Station need to be increased in size to provide additional platforms, or will we need a new, second station outside the centre of the town with decent parking facilities?

    The whole idea of a BML2 sound wonderful – especially if someone else is funding it – but I just wonder if the proponents of the idea have really thought it through properly.

    Is all this is really wanted is for the current, BML1, to be totally upgraded and modernised to avoid all the problems that have bene occurring and to look at how to increase capacity on what we have already.

    After, all, how many other major towns and cities have the luxury of alternative routes? What is so special about Brighton & Hove?

  2. Jon Pratty Reply

    Just do some research, Gerald. Yes, BML2 avoids the East Croydon /Clapham Jnc bottleneck. That is the whole point of it. It’s what Brighton, Eastbourne and towns across East Sussex really need to keep economic development on track. Without it, industries and regeneration now succeeding in the south east will just seize solid.

  3. Jon Pratty Reply

    Here’s the BML2 route. The lines shown at East Croydon are new alignments, I believe.

    • Gerald Wiley Reply

      Thanks Jon – didn’t realise all the fine work that had been done.

      Seems most points are covered – most impressed – just wonder what the costs and timescales would be for implementation before any benefits would accrue for BML1 users.

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