Rail campaigner from Uckfield to Lewes says MP Maria Caulfield was ‘suspended’ by government over link

Rail link offer

Campaign manager Brian Hart, who edits the Missing Link newsletter on behalf of the Wealden Line campaign, told the Express: “The government has turned down our request for fundraising under the so- called the “Restoring Your Railway” (RYR) program. In a communication to Lewes MP Maria Caulfield, the DfT letter signed by Transport Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said the proposal ‘did not make the case sufficiently clear to be recommended for further funding’ . One of the reasons given was that passenger numbers on the Brighton main line are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels.

“We are not discouraged by the latest layoff. The RYR program appears to be a crude exercise in vote buying. I feel sorry for Maria who put a lot of effort into this and was hung up to dry.

“I can’t help but vent on such ungrateful Northerners who believe we get everything we want in the ‘undeserving South’ where the cost of housing and living is much higher here when the salaries are the same. The county’s GDP is comparable to that of Cumbria. We are the most congested part of the UK and deserve ‘greener transport’. Next month, Brighton’s nine-day main line closure will cause howls of anguish.

Brian pointed out: “The closure of the line in 1969 remains a recurring blight and it’s a shame we never had politicians with the guts to settle things once and for all.”

The BLM2 project aims to extend the Uckfield-London Bridge route from Brighton to Stansted. Brian and his team traveled the route to and through London and explained the feasibility of the project to potential backers, all of whom were ready to provide substantial capital.

The government’s letter continued: ‘There are no further Ideas Fund rounds planned. However, my goal is for the feedback to help you reconsider your proposal so that you are prepared for future opportunities.

Brian said: ‘If railway numbers are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels, why is the government announcing it is spending £96billion – £96,000,000 – on railways elsewhere UK? Surely not to buy votes in the “red wall” constituencies? »

Ms Caulfield, MP for Lewes, said she believed having a second rail line to link the strategic towns of Lewes and Uckfield and the introduction of a direct main line to Seaford and Newhaven are still reasons organizations to support BLM2’s offer and will continue to campaign.

She said: ‘It is disappointing that the Restoring Your Railways bid was not successful. Passenger numbers were a key reason for this decision, as we still only see 40% of passengers traveling to and from London on our current main line, compared to before the pandemic.

“Given that working from home is expected to continue for the long term, the congestion figures in our offer no longer reflect the reality of congestion on the current Brighton main line. I’m still passionate and committed to reopening the line as congestion wasn’t the only reason for the offer.

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