The creation of a new Conservative administration has renewed the prospect that Tunbridge Wells will finally be reconnected to Brighton via rail, campaigners believe.
Brian Hart, a long-term advocate of the Brighton Main Line 2 scheme, is confident that the Government will announce its implementation as the case for doing so is stronger than ever.
He said: “I believe Chris Grayling [the new Secretary of State for Transport] and the Government will shortly approve BML2 because it offers so many solutions to current problems in London & the south east.
“Chris Grayling, in justifying continued support for HS2, now says its needed, not for speed, but for additional capacity.
“That’s exactly the reason for building BML2, which is infinitely more affordable than HS2 and it has a far greater benefit-to-cost ratio.”
His organisation, the BML2 Project Group, welcomed several appointments to the new Cabinet, including the selection of Chris Grayling and Justine Greening, who have previously expressed an interest in the project, as well as vouching for its viability.
Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby, who takes a Ministerial position as Economic Secretary to the Treasury, is a long-standing supporter of BML2 and has previously said:
“A second main line is the only realistic and cost-effective means of overcoming the existing the capacity problems that are clear to us all.”
The Brighton Main Line 2 would see the Tunbridge Wells West station next to Sainsbury’s brought back into the rail network for the first time since 1985.
It would also involve rebuilding old railway lines between Tunbridge Wells and Eridge and down towards Brighton from Uckfield, via Lewes.
Other considerations include a second direct line to London opening up in the town, connecting directly to Canary Wharf.
The plan has been part of the Government’s London & South Coast Study – a review of future rail infrastructure projects – which was commissioned last year and is scheduled for release in the autumn.