Any business case for BML2 is destroyed by bypassing central London and Croydon and by spending billions at the London end.
Brian Hart is quite wrong. Travel demand is of course to city centres.
Moving Croydon trams from dedicated routes onto busy roads would hardly “enhance” them (or be cheap). His Elmers End route is not “underused” and it’s earmarked for a Bakerloo line extension!
Croydon’s Trams are so busy it’s getting 10 extra trams. Hundreds of Croydon people signed petitions against BML2 to protect trams, allotments and 100 homes destroyed by any “gateway station” put in the wrong place. As real market demand is instead to central London and Croydon, platforms are instead being added at London Bridge and East Croydon. Norman Baker helped get this work started when he was Transport Minister.
By contrast a re-opened Lewes-Uckfield line, electrification, and reopened Tunbridge Wells route would have a better business case. Both existing Uckfield trains and proposed Thameslinks to Tunbridge Wells could be EXTENDED via Lewes to Brighton without requiring huge London costs.
Extended existing trains from Croydon need no new London train paths or expensive work. We could then add new links to Brighton from Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, Bromley and central London.
But by boosting its cost and ignoring market demand, BML2 destroys its case – and thus chances of actually happening. It hinders Norman Baker as he campaigns for Lewes-Uckfield to reopen.
Any politician instead backing BML2’s extra London costs and bypassed market deserves scorn. So while we do still need to compare options for solutions that serve Lewes station rather than bypassing it via an expensive tunnel, perhaps we’d be better off if we gave Lewes-Uckfield-Tunbridge a sexier name – like BML THREE?
John Jefkins MBE