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Uckfield and Lewes railway line has a new campaign group

By This is Sussex  |  Posted: June 18, 2009

<P>CAMPAIGN: John Coleman, Duncan Bennett and Cllr Ian Smith at the old Uckfield Line </P>

CAMPAIGN: John Coleman, Duncan Bennett and Cllr Ian Smith at the old Uckfield Line

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"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."

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    P W, From SE In NW  |  March 14 2010, 1:00AM

    The building of extra houses in the area is precisely the reason why the line Should be reinstated. In an ideal world so would all the other old connections from the South Coast to London! Ignorant ridiculous, blinkeredness to suggest otherwise.

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    Alex, Hove  |  March 04 2010, 11:51AM

    There are ways around the capacity thing, such as attaching coaches to other trains at East Croydon The only reason the study found it to be unviable was because it was biased. ESCC seem to have a vested interest in keeping it closed so put out a deliberately narrow scoped study, engaging "their" busincess consultants to produce a poor business case. Another one is going through the study at the moment and should produce a more accurate picture. Besides, network rail have to do what the DfT says

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    Chris Bedford, Brighton  |  January 18 2010, 7:50PM

    I have completed a full and detailed video survey of the entire trackbed between Uckfield and Lewes. Visit my website dumpman.co.uk for further details and a catalogue of all my other wonderful local history/interest documentaries.

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    Graham, Crowborough  |  June 26 2009, 10:55AM

    Dan, I use the line every weekday as well. Standing from Edenbridge is a lot easier than standing from Crowborough! There will not be four trains an hour unless they reinstate the double track and electrify it. Moreover, there is no spare capacity at either East Croydon or the London stations for additional trains on this line. Network Rail don't see it as viable so it just will not happen as the infrastructure is their responsibility. Surely the campaigners can see that they are wasting their time.

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    Dan, Edenbridge  |  June 24 2009, 8:16PM

    Graham: are you bein insane, this link needs to be reinstated asap. If you read any of the campaign stuff from the wealdenlink website you will see how much of a benefit it will be to the line. I use the line every weekday from edenbridge town and yes i will admit it is busy but if this link is re-established then there would be more likely 4 trains an hour instead of the current 2 peak time trains. If the tunbrigde wells link is added as well it would really benefit every town along the line. Instead of being selfish and worrying about your seat on the train, get behind this campaign and stop whingeing.

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    Graham, Crowborough  |  June 19 2009, 7:51PM

    I can not believe that anyone can be so foolish as to encourage the reinstatement of this link. With 55,000 new homes on the coast do you honestly believe that anyone from Uckfield northwards will be able to get on the train never mind find a seat. Forget the whole idea and start to think of the implications for once.

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