CAMPAIGN: John Coleman, Duncan Bennett and Cllr Ian Smith at the old Uckfield Line
"WE WANT the Uckfield to Lewes railway line reinstated."
That is the rallying call from a new campaign group which wants the service re-launched.
The Uckfield Line Rail Extensions Group (Ulreg) has joined forces with the existing Wealden Line Campaign (WLC) to call for the reintroduction of the line as pressure on the current rail network reaches breaking point.
The new organisation consists of elected representatives from town and parish councils in Crowborough, Lewes and Buxted.
It was born from the Uckfield Rail Line Parishes Committee which meets every month to discuss the pros and cons of rail services in general in East Sussex. Uckfield town councillor Ian Smith, secretary of the new group, said: "We have done as much as we can for the present line and we now need to move on to the next level.
"What we are looking to do is take the present line from Hurst Green to Uckfield and extend it along its former route down to Lewes."
Ulreg plans to work with the WLC to get advice and expertise on the subject. And it is hoped the new councillor-based group will have more weight behind it when talking to railway network decision makers.
Cllr Smith added: "It's a natural extension from the parishes lines committee.
"This is representatives from the councils that have been elected by the people who live along the present route; therefore they will have more clout.
"They are campaigning positively for the re-opening. It's been 40 years since services south of Uckfield were closed, campaigners feel that extending the line would be beneficial for tourism in the county as well as taking the strain from commuter lines as the South East becomes more populated."
Mr Hart, from the Wealden Line Campaign, said with an estimated 55,000 new homes to be built along the East Sussex coastline the need for the reinstatement of the line was now even more apparent.
He Hart said: "We are 100 per cent behind it because it is comprised of councils and in many ways it will take some of the pressure off us. They can reach the parts that we can't."