Transport for the South East is an emerging sub-national transport body representing local authorities across the South East, which is seeking statutory status so that it can take responsibility for the organisation and enhancement of transport across the region, from Berkshire and Hampshire around London to Kent.

The outcome desired is sustainable growth, which the strategy aims to deliver by investing in attractive public transport and developing land use policies which reduce the need to travel – ie planning for people and places rather than for vehicles. This aims to double the number of rail journeys in 30 years, whilst avoiding any large increase in car journeys.

An economic connectivity review has already identified the corridors which support key journey needs. The next step will be Area Studies covering these corridors to identify the opportunities.

Railfuture considers that the potential for new journey opportunities by rail exists in the following corridors in particular:
  • Inner orbital: the ‘R25’ route between Reading, Redhill/Gatwick and Rochester. Three trains per hour are already planned between Redhill and Reading, with services extended to Oxford. An interchange station with the Southern route at Dorking would facilitate Guildford – Horsham and Epsom – Gatwick journeys, whilst in future frequencies should be increased further to 4 trains per hour and journey times reduced. The success of the Reading – Gatwick service shows that a through service between the Medway towns and Gatwick would create new journey opportunities; initially this could be with reversals at Strood and Redhill to prove the concept, followed by frequency and journey time improvements facilitated by new junction connections.

  • Outer orbital: East and West Coastway between Ashford, Brighton and Southampton/Portsmouth. An extension of High Speed 1 domestic services via Marshlink to Hastings and Eastbourne, facilitated by a new junction connection at Ashford East, would have a major positive effect on the economy of Hastings and Bexhill, improving opportunities for their residents. West Coastway services also need to be recast to increase frequencies, reduce journey times and reach new destinations, which would improve access to jobs and education in Brighton – this would require additional tracks at some places on the line.
Railfuture has identified two further corridors that do not currently exist:
  • Tunbridge Wells – Brighton. Brighton & Hove’s Objectively Assessed Housing Need identifies a need for 30,000 new houses by 2030, of which only 13,000 can be accommodated within the city boundary – the rest will need to be built with the surrounding districts, and included in those district council’s housing plans. Railfuture considers that a new Garden Village between Lewes and Uckfield could accommodate one third of the shortfall, justifying reopening the Uckfield – Lewes railway line to serve a new station in that Garden Village.

  • Southern Access to Heathrow. A new rail link to Heathrow providing access from south-west London, Surrey and Hampshire, such as that proposed by Heathrow Southern Railway, would reduce journey times and congestion.
By creating new journey opportunities these developments would encourage people to change from road to rail, and so achieve the strategy objective of sustainable growth.

Please review the strategy and the consultation questions, and let us know what you would like Railfuture to say in its consultation response by emailing bridgethegap at railfuture.org.uk.

You can of course make your own individual response to the consultation, but please do not mention Railfuture in your response.

Transport for the South East website

TfSE Strategy Executive Summary

TfSE Strategy

TfSE Strategy consultation

Brighton & Hove Objectively Assessed Housing Need

LUcky Garden Village – the Railfuture case for a Garden Village between Lewes and Uckfield

Railfuture Uckfield Lewes campaign

Railfuture Marshlink campaign for High Speed 1 services to Hastings

Railfuture responses to previous TfSE consultations