Fresh calls for new trainline from Tunbridge Wells West

Fresh calls for new trainline from Tunbridge Wells West

15th June 2018

Fresh calls have been made for a new trainline from Tunbridge Wells West station.

Supporters of Brighton Main Line 2 [BML2] have long campaigned for the link to be brought back into mainstream use to offer an alternative route to London and a direct link to Brighton.

BML2 group member Brian Hart told the Times that latest plans for the development involve a tunnel link under central London to offer passengers a link to Canary Wharf.

The ambitious plan would see an all new tunnel purpose built. It would have the added benefit of connecting Canary Wharf to Gatwick Airport.

MP Maria Caulfield, whose Lewes constituency could also be linked to Tunbridge Wells by the line, previously told MPs that 'a private investor' was 'willing to put up more than £15billion' towards the project.

It has not been stated who the investor is but it is understood to be several overseas backers.

Mr Hart said: 'We need more track and more trains. Network Rail admits years of under-investment has led to today's problems for services.

'Having warned that five additional peak services will soon be needed, Network Rail concludes has admitted there is little capacity for more services into London.

'The Government is demanding councils build thousands more homes hereabouts, whilst closed lines remain shut. We cannot manage with the existing trainset. BML2 is long overdue.'

The Department for Transport most recently said they are not currently developing BML2 but has encouraged those behind it to continue in their plans and that it could be considered in the future.

Mr Hart said the BML2 group is meeting with the government in July.

Tunbridge Wells West closed to passengers in 1985 and, since 1996, has been the terminus for the heritage Spa Valley Railway line, which connects to Eridge.

This whole line would be brought back into mainstream use under plans for BML2. It is currently unclear how the historic railway could be impacted.

Presently if a passenger wishes to get to Brighton by train from Tunbridge Wells or Tonbridge, it would involve at least one change and can take around two hours.

This journey could potentially be made in 40 minutes on BML2, and would take around 45 minutes to Canary Wharf, compared to the current 1hour 10.

Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark told the Times: 'I would be delighted to see BML2 go ahead.

'The reopening of Tunbridge Wells West would be a real boon to the town - bringing greater choice and more services both to London.

'I'm therefore thrilled to see that work continues at pace.'

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