Building a second rail line between Brighton and London has been included in Labour’s general election manifesto.
Known as BML2, the project has been mooted by campaigners as a way of increasing capacity for trains travelling from the south coast to the capital.
A new route through Lewes and Uckfield could in turn ease congestion on the current Brighton Mainline, which runs through Haywards Heath, Three Bridges and Gatwick Airport.
The BML2 Consortium is proposing 20km of new railway between Falmer, Lewes and Uckfield, 38km of restored rail line between Uckfield and Hever, and 25km of tunnelled railway linking the whole line to Canary Wharf and Stratford International,
The Government published the London and South Coast Rail Corridor Study in March, which appeared to rule out the scheme at least in the short and medium term, with the report being labelled a ‘slap in the face for long-suffering passengers’.
But Labour’s general election manifesto published today (Tuesday May 16) promises to ‘invest in a modern, integrated, accessible and sustainable transport system that is reliable and affordable’.
It says: “We will build a new Brighton Main Line for the South East.”
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour Party candidate for Brighton Kemptown, said “Many residents tell me of the misery of the trains to Brighton and the hit to our economy, which is in danger of crippling our city.
“A second line will stop our city being held to ransom by an ineffective train operator, Southern, and allow the economy and the people of Brighton to grow and prosper.
“It will also restore the link across Sussex to the Weald and reduce road traffic.”
Peter Kyle, Labour’s candidate in Hove, added: “I fought really hard to get a bold and lasting manifesto solution to the problems facing Brighton and Hove rail passengers.
“By setting up a group of MPs with Sir Nicholas Soames I have made progress on the short and medium-term challenges, but government ignore the service future generations will inherit.
“By pledging the investment needed for a new line between London and the coast, jobs will be created, economic prosperity generated, and passenger misery ended.
“This is the kind of bold and transformational change we need and I went into politics to deliver.”
“The rising cost of water utility costs has far outstripped wage growth and is sometimes unjustifiable. Our manifesto commitments on ownership are a wakeup call to the industry and the clearest sign possible that with Labour it is consumers who have the power.”
Meanwhile Solomon Curtis, Labour’s election candidate in Brighton Pavilion, has described his party’s manifesto as a ‘programme for youth’.
He said: “For too long, my generation has borne the brunt of Tory austerity. Here in Brighton, that has been particularly bad because Brighton is a youthful city.
“So-called Generation Y is the forgotten generation. We have become disillusioned and angry. But the plans outlined for young people in Labour’s manifesto will ensure the issues that matter to us most are finally addressed.”
These include scrapping university tuition fees, reducing class sizes for five-to-seven-year-olds, creating a national education service to ensure ‘life-long learning’, free school meals for all primary school children, boosting school-based counselling, banning zero hours contracts, doubling the number of completed apprenticeships at NVQ level 3, investing in building more than a million homes, and reversing the decision to abolish housing benefit for 18-21-year-olds.
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