Motorists encouraged to take the train to ease A27 congestion

Norman Baker unveils sign on a27
Norman Baker unveils sign on a27

Local MP Norman Baker has unveiled new signs on the A27 which are designed to highlight to motorists alternative travel options and ease congestion between Lewes and Eastbourne.

The MP, whose idea it was to install the signs, was joined by Chris Burchell, the Managing Director of Southern, and Robert MacKenzie, the Highway Agency Project Sponsor, to unveil the signs.

The first has been installed just east of the Beddingham roundabout and states “Lewes to Eastbourne, 20 minutes by train”.

The sister sign is just west of Polegate and states “Eastbourne to Lewes, 20 minutes by train”.

Mr Baker said: “I appreciate that for many, they will have little alternative but to drive to work along the A27 between Lewes and Polegate, but there are also significant numbers who live in, Polegate or Eastbourne, and who work in Lewes or Brighton.

“My message to them is that it is worth trying the train, at 20 minutes between Lewes and Eastbourne that is twice as quick as going by road. The trains these days are clean, modern and reliable and as a result of an earlier intervention on my part season ticket prices between Lewes and Eastbourne have been cut by a third.

“For those who can, taking the train between Lewes and Eastbourne makes sense and will ease congestion for those still on the A27. It is a win win.”

Elsewhere, following an extensive procurement process, Southern has announced that it has selected train manufacturer Bombardier to supply 116 new electric rolling stock vehicles at a cost of around £180million to facilitate the planned Thameslink cascade.

This order has the provision of an extra 140 vehicles which can be called in the event that further investment opportunities are identified, bringing the potential total order value up to around £385 million.

When the contract is placed, the new trains will be used initially on the Thameslink Route, facilitating the release of existing trains to newly electrified routes. In the longer term, these new trains will in turn also be cascaded.

Southern Managing Director Chris Burchell said: “We have worked extremely hard to be an effective delivery partner to the Department and we are very pleased to have reached this important milestone in the procurement of new rolling stock. This will provide essential capacity to allow our industry to grow.”

The Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said: “Increasing the number of trains on the network not only benefits passengers but everyone, as the railways are an important engine for economic growth in our country.”