Campaigners have welcomed the news that Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, has agreed to meet with them to discuss a second Brighton mainline.
The Brighton Mainline 2 (BML2) consortium has long campaigned for a second railway line via Uckfield to connect the capital to the seaside.
Last month, it was revealed a group of heavyweight overseas investors had stated their intention to fund the scheme, and had a particular interest in linking the rail line from Brighton to Canary Wharf.
Now, Simon Kirby, Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown, said the transport secretary had agreed to meet with the campaigners behind the idea.
He said: “I am pleased that the Secretary of State has agreed to this meeting. I believe that this project could be a long-term solution to resolving some of the problems on the existing line.”
A spokesman for rge BML2 campaigners said: “We’re delighted the Secretary of State has agreed to meet the BML2 consortium. Over the past year, international investors have looked at the Brighton Main Line 2 proposal in detail and have now agreed to fund it. The consortium of professionals is now prepared to undertake its design and construction and will now put its case to the government.
“Aside from the current industrial disputes, railways in London and the South East are struggling to meet demand. BML2 will deliver vast amounts of capacity so more trains can be operated. There will be new destinations with some closed routes in Sussex reopening. This is going to be a very exciting time and a huge boost for the Sussex economy.”
Cllr Geoffrey Theobald, long-time supporter of BML2, and leader of the Conservatives on Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “This is very encouraging news. I, along with Simon and Lewes MP Maria Caulfied, met up with members of the BML2 consortium before Christmas and were very impressed with the progress they are making. At a time when the current Brighton mainline is in a state of chaos I am sure that the transport secretary will be impressed by the potential benefits of their plans.”