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Railwatch 079 - April 1999

Railwatch - New deal for Coastway East

By Phil Gruber

RDS has joined other environmental campaigners to call for a New Deal Railway from Brighton to Ashford.

It is purposely based on the policy framework outlined in the 1998 Transport White PaperA New Deal for Transport — Better for Everyone.

Working with Transport 2000 and Friends of the Earth, RDS has also aimed for an integrated campaign.

The principal objective is to "reduce road traffic by offering high quality travel choices — by train and bus, and for cycling and walking".

The campaign literature presents proposals to redevelop the existing Connex South Central Coastway East infrastructure east of Lewes, focusing on the need for better local services between Eastbourne and Ashford, through Bexhill, Hastings and Rye and also for shorter journey times and through services to Brighton, Worthing, Chichester, Portsmouth and Gatwick Airport. The line needs resignalling to increase capacity, particularly east of Lewes, a new chord at Willingdon (to link east-west between Polegate and Pevensey) and track redoubling, with electrification, between Ore, east of Hastings, through to Ashford.

New stations are proposed at East Moulsecoomb on the outskirts of Brighton at Willingdon, Stone Cross between Eastbourne and Bexhill and at Glyne Gap and West St Leonards.

Quality bus contracts are a feature of the campaign to provide convenient and efficient bus services linking homes, workplaces, schools, hospitals and leisure centres with the railway.

Ultimately, on the design basis proposed, 15 minute frequency regular interval stopping services would be possible both between Bexhill and Hastings and between Lewes and Brighton, with semi-fast through services to and from Portsmouth and Gatwick Airport, operating half-hourly between Lewes and Ashford. The campaign aims to inspire East Sussex County Council to lead a public/private sector partnership with rail, bus and construction industries, and transport users, to develop and implement the proposals.

It also aims to inform the travelling public and to win their support for the developments. The proposals have already been put to the county council for inclusion in its Local Transport Plan, to be submitted in July.

This should lead to its inclusion in the more comprehensive Local Transport Plan which has to be submitted next year, not only by ESCC but by other local authorities.

RDS, T2000 and FoE volunteers helped launch the campaign for the general public on Local Transport Day on 6 March.

Information has been made available at public libraries in South Coast towns along the route and can also be obtained on request from RDS Coastway campaign manager Phil Gruber (01273 552372).

Note: contact details (postal and email addresses, along with telephone numbers) in old editions of Railwatch out of date. Click CONTACT US for latest contact details.

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