Multiple routes offered by BML2 rail link

As much as we’d like to believe Croydon residents read the Sussex Express, Norman Baker appears to have yet again involved his Lib Dem party members in his continuing wilful campaign against BML2. For them to claim that 100 Croydon homes would be destroyed is just as untrue as Norman’s deliberate falsehood that BML2 would tunnel underneath Lewes.

John Jefkins MBE (letters, January 16) is oblivious that East Croydon, London Bridge and Blackfriars all have finite capacity for both trains and passengers from the South Coast. The jam-packed Tonbridge – Sevenoaks route is, just like the Brighton Line, to quote Network Rail: ‘a major barrier to growth’.

Only the Uckfield line, upgraded as BML2, can enable more direct trains into Brighton via Falmer; more direct trains to Eastbourne or Seaford via Lewes; more direct trains to Tunbridge Wells via Oxted – without any adverse impact on the critically over-congested Brighton and Tonbridge main lines.

The London Phase will allow Sussex, Surrey and Kent commuters to directly reach Canary Wharf and Crossrail without first having to travel into London Bridge and all the chaotic congestion that entails – as we have witnessed this month.

As Transport Minister, Norman Baker visited Croydon in 2013 to specifically broaden his campaign against BML2, while local Lib Dem activist John Jefkins told the Croydon Advertiser: “I’m dubbing it a line to nowhere”. Consequently, a senior financial associate at Canary Wharf expressed utter disbelief, telling us: “This is incredible, heaven help us if they wield any real influence in Government”. John Jefkins subsequently handed over a Lib Dem petition against BML2 at Westminster to Norman Baker’s replacement, Rail Minister Baroness Kramer.

BML2 doesn’t bypass anywhere, because its proposed ‘scissor’ connection south of Croydon would enable trains from the Sussex Coast, via Haywards Heath or Uckfield, to reach London Bridge, Victoria or Canary Wharf – giving Network Rail valuable multiple alternatives (especially useful in times of crisis) and passengers all-embracing travel choices.

As for Bob Brown, it’s a pity BML2 is beyond his comprehension, but our website will helpfully explain ‘Why only BML2 can benefit Lewes’.

And finally, please, let’s leave the Bluebell Railway well alone, it’s a marvellous asset for Sussex and would serve very little strategic function, even if Network Rail requisitioned the Haywards Heath, Horsted Keynes, East Grinstead section, electrified and resignalled it.

Brian Hart

Campaign Director

Wealden Line Campaign