More split trains needed

HAVING campaigned, as our MP knows, to persuade Southern to add carriages to the 2317 Worthing line train to split at Haywards Heath to accommodate theatre goers, it alarmed me to read of his wish for this practice to be reduced.

Only a few months ago we read a typically negative letter from a DfT officer, where our MP is a Minister, responding to the well-researched BML2 case to extend the Uckfield line to Lewes, so points south, east and west, stating East Croydon could take no more trains. Strangely, as realised in a similar response received some years ago and sent them a timetable indicating that Uckfield trains already run through East Croydon, officials in this department seem unable grasp this fact.

Personally I seldom find the coupling/decoupling of trains at Haywards Heath problematic: it is surely preferable to having fewer trains. Having little faith that those in the DfT or the Secretary of State who grant franchises care much for rail, I suspect Brighton trains and points west will continue as priorities, so am concerned that a reduction of ‘splitting’ will mean fewer than the number of trains currently timetabled for the Eastbourne line. I also hope the franchise being taken over by a single operator won’t result in trains ceasing to go to Victoria, as has been rumoured.

Overcrowding is due to train use increasing, thankfully, while successive governments cater to the road lobby despite its higher cost over rail reinstatement0. It is long past time for a full, non-partisan business case, one not dictated by ESCC and Governments’ consistent preference for roads (since it will cost much of the rail budget to save 20 minutes, I find the proposed HS2(?) as a vanity in a restricted budget).

Rather than cutting ‘split’ trains, many would welcome serious consideration given to adding carriages to the existing Worthing line, with trains at 2217, 2247, 2317 and 0005, to ours at 2247 and 0005.

Were the 2217 and 2317 to be split, there might be less overcrowding on the Eastbourne line.

Norman Baker makes some good points (he omits the idiosyncrasy of luggage racks that support only a briefcase on the route to Gatwick), but I fear the loss of trains if ‘splitting’ ceases at Haywards Heath. And yes please, let’s get on with BML2 (also offering an alternative to clogged rush hour traffic), especially when the Brighton line has such frequent problems.

Janet Mortimer, Lewes