The reopening of the Lewes to Uckfield line moved a step forward as the Government announced £100,000 funding.
Chancellor George Osborne announced the funding in the Budget this week.
The news was welcomed by Lewes MP Norman Baker (L.Dem) and the Conservative’s candidate for Lewes MP in the forthcoming general election Maria Caulfield.
The budget statement said: “People in the South East will benefit from the Government providing £100k for a further study into reopening the Lewes–Uckfield railway line”.
Mr Baker said: “It has become clearer than ever in recent weeks that there is a need for an alternative line from the Sussex Coast to London.
“A reopened Lewes-Uckfield line would provide exactly that, enabling through trains to run from Seaford and Newhaven via Uckfield, and also freeing up space on the Brighton main line for more Brighton trains.
“It would also strengthen the resilience of the railway which at the moment is very vulnerable to problems with either the Balcombe Tunnel or Balcombe Viaduct.
“Yet again this weekend we have engineering works at Balcombe, forcing my constituents to travel by bus from Lewes to Three Bridges.
“I have been lobbying for the reopening of this line for over 25 years and the case gets stronger with every passing year.”
Mr Baker continued: “Now it is time for everyone, including those who have advocated BML2, to get behind this study and start pulling in the same direction. We have a real chance to get this line re-opened and we need to grasp it with both hands.
“I will be discussing the terms of reference of the study with the Transport Secretary shortly.”
Ms Caulfield said this was a huge step forward in progressing a second rail mainline from the Sussex Coast to London.
The reopened stretch of the Lewes to Uckfield line would enable a second main line, giving faster and more direct trains to and from Seaford, Lewes, Newhaven and Falmer.
The Chancellor, George Osborne, said: “Maria Caulfield has made a strong case for this study as the prospective Conservative MP for Lewes.
“Investing in infrastructure is a key part of our long-term economic plan, and this new study into this rail line is great news.”