East Sussex rail group backs county cooperation

These Javelin trains could be seen going from Hastings and Bexhill on the HS1 route
These Javelin trains could be seen going from Hastings and Bexhill on the HS1 route

The chairman of an East Sussex rail action group is backing the coordinated approach by the southern counties to the devolution of transport powers.

Chairman of the East Sussex Rail Alliance Ray Chapman welcomed the cooperation of Surrey and East and West Sussex in improving rail links across the South East.

“We have been asking of all for major investment in infrastructure and, if Government gives approval, this will give the southern counties the opportunity to start to reverse the shockingly low level of infrastructure investment that this area of the country has suffered for decades,” he said.

The group strongly advocates the major development of the coastal route connecting Ashford, Kent with Hastings, Brighton, Southampton and Exeter.

The HS2 route was mooted by chancellor George Osbourne in his summer budget earlier this year.

“Railway development is the absolute key to the stimulation of business regeneration and employment growth, especially where there are direct connections to expanding international airports such as Gatwick, Lydd, Southampton, Bournemouth and Exeter,” Mr Chapman said.

The group believe that investment in southern rail links over the next ten years is vital for Britain to become more competitive and productive.

“If this bid by the three county authorities gains Government approval, it opens the door for new garden cities to ease the housing crisis, arterial roads brought up to motorway standards, not least rail to trunk route efficiency and capacity, all of which will stimulate business and provide a stimulant for new employment.

“The Sunshine Coast deserves this injection of new vision, new investment and new blood and we are now calling on the promoters to seek through a key summit a wider coordinated approach by all parties to get more steam and momentum rolling.”

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