More comfort for passengers on the Uckfield line

Southern train SUS-150906-105214001
Southern train SUS-150906-105214001

Uckfield, Buxted and Crowborough commuters hope Southern Rail’s promise to introduce longer trains will help make their rail journeys more bearable.

Last October the company published plans to ease overcrowding by lengthening trains and platforms.

Southern has now taken delivery of 12 extra carriages. They are currently being assessed to find out what work needs doing before they can be introduced.

A spokesperson for Southern said: “Our commitment is to introduce 10 carriage trains onto the Uckfield line when the platforms have been lengthened by Network Rail. In the meantime the plan for the additional 12 diesel carriages, which we have now received, is to put them through a multi-million pound internal and external overhaul to make them compatible with our current fleet, and fit for purpose.

“We are doing a detailed engineering assessment of these trains to understand all of the work required. When this is done, we will be able to programme in the work – some internally at our depots, some by external suppliers. This will include work on the engines and wheelsets, as well as modifications to make the trains compatible with our existing diesel fleet, such as changes to the door mechanisms, driver’s cab system and couplers, and new electronics to allow the additional units to ‘communicate’ with our current trains which at the moment they are unable to.”

Network Rail will start lengthening the platforms later this summer, beginning with Uckfield.

All eight as far as Edenbridge should be finished by next summer.

Both Crowborough platforms will be extended - a job entailing moving signalling equipment and a siding. The longer trains will obviously allow greater capacity on the line - which may in turn lead to more passengers.

A group which is developing Crowborough’s Neighbourhood Plan is considering how parking numbers can be increased to ensure there are enough spaces to cope with higher passenger numbers.

Crowborough chamber of Commerce’s original plan to create further parking spaces in Farningham Road by using the land between the industrial estate and the railway line was considered but eventually dismissed by Network Rail who said the work that would need to be done would make the project unviable.

In the case of Uckfield, the new railway car park should substantially increase capacity and serve the greater number of passengers who might decide to use the line, once they know they can travel in greater comfort.

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