Sussex and Coastway

An integral part of Railfuture's London and South East regional branch, our Sussex and Coastway Division holds eleven meetings a year in a variety of venues across East and West Sussex.


Our area covers East and West Sussex (including the City of Brighton & Hove, and the 'MarshLink' to Ashford International in Kent), and includes the South Downs National Park, but excludes the far south west area of West Sussex which is covered by Railfuture Wessex branch.

Within our Sussex & Coastway Division there are six Rail User Groups affiliated to Railfuture:
We also work closely with Three Oaks & Winchelsea Action on Rail Transport (THWART) - email.

The local Community Rail Partnership in our area is the Sussex CRP.


We usually meet on the first Thursday of each month (except August) at 18.00, rotating our venues around East and West Sussex including Brighton & Hove.

The first meeting of the New Year will be on Thursday 3 January 2019 in the URC hall at Victoria Road, Polegate, East Sussex, BN26 6DA.
The following meeting will be on Thursday 7 February at Perrymount Methodist Church, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, with guest speaker Orlagh Ennis, Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Brighton Main Line Improvement Project, Network Rail.

Our guest speakers on 19 July 2018 in Haywards Heath were Catherine Folca from Transport Focus and David Statham and Andy Wakeford on behalf of the Rail Delivery Group, on the topic of fares and ticketing, currently undergoing public consultation until Monday 10 September. View the presentations by clicking on RDG-DS/AW and TF-CF.

On 7 June 2018 we had presentations from Anthony Merlyn from GTR and Victoria Garcia from Brighton & Hove Buses, on the theme of Accessibility. View the presentations by clicking on GTR-AM and B&HB-VG.

On 20 July 2017 we had a presentation from GTR's Passenger Service Director for Southern & Gatwick Express Angie Doll.

On 1 June 2017 we had a presentation by GTR's Head of Strategic Planning Phil Hutchinson, who returned to update us on the next phase of their 2018 timetable consultation. Another topic for brief discussion was our Division's contribution to the Railfuture response to the consultation on Network Rail's draft Kent Area Route Study, central to plans for HS1 services for Rye, Hastings and Bexhill and continuation of the through Ashford-Brighton service (see MarshLink).

On 3 November 2016 we had a presentation from Paul Best (Strategic Planner, Sussex - Network Strategy & Planning), Network Rail.

On Sunday 18 September we had a stall at Haywards Heath Railway Station 175th Anniversary. More info: HH175

At our 8 September meeting we had a presentation from GTR's Head of Strategy Phil Hutchinson about their draft 2018 timetable consultation, launched that day for a 3-month period.

At our 7 April 2016 meeting in Eastbourne, we reviewed the third Hastings Summit organised by local MP Amber Rudd, held on 18 March, and discussed strategic issues to raise at a rail meeting convened by East Sussex County Council for Friday 22 April.

The previous meeting on 10 March was held in Haywards Heath and jointly with our Surrey division as we were addressed by Piero McCarthy from GTR/Southern.

At our meeting on 16 July 2015 in Haywards Heath, held jointly with our Surrey Division, Network Rail's Mike Smith, Route Enhancements Manager and Paul Best, Strategic Planner for their South East Route (Sussex and Kent Areas), joined us and informed a wide-ranging discussion about projects for delivery in the current CP5 until 2019 and the Sussex and Kent Area Route Studies looking forward to potential CP6 investments post-2019.


The Sussex and Coastway division is leading two major campaigns:
  • Uckfield Lewes. Reopening the line between Uckfield and Lewes will enable residents of the Weald to travel to reach jobs and education in Brighton to support economic growth and spread prosperity in the county, create an additional route between London and the South Coast to help relieve the Brighton Main Line, and pave the way for Thameslink 2.
  • Marshlink. Raising the line-speed between Ashford and Doleham from 60mph to 90mph and from Doleham to Ore/Hastings from 40mph to 60mph, and redoubling the single line section either between Rye and Winchelsea or between Rye and Appledore will enable a service frequency of two trains per hour; electrification would enable a cleaner quieter service. This will provide the potential for through trains between Bexhill/Hastings and London which will support economic growth particularly in Hastings, and an improved service at the smaller stations. At the first Hastings Rail Summit on 31 March 2014 the Secretary of State Patrick McLoughlin announced that Javelin services would run to Hastings and Bexhill soon after 2019. At the second summit on 30 January 2015 Rail Minister Claire Perry demonstrated her commitment to the project by meeting the first Javelin to visit Hastings and Bexhill.
We contributed to the East Sussex Rail Strategy and Action Plan. The two key objectives of the Action Plan are to upgrade and electrify Marshlink and the Uckfield line, as building blocks for a high speed Javelin service between Bexhill/Hastings and London St Pancras and reinstatement of Uckfield - Lewes.

In conjunction with local rail user groups calling for an improved service on Marshlink, we have held a number of station counts and supported the protest meeting at Winchelsea station on 7th December 2013 to call for the return of a usable Sunday service.
STOP PRESS from Sunday 13 December 2015 all-day, alternate-hourly, Sunday services returned to Winchelsea and Three Oaks stations.

As part of the London & South East regional branch of Railfuture, the Sussex and Coastway Division has contributed in the past 10 years to every form of consultation response, including Local Transport Plans, Local Development Frameworks, Multi-modal studies, Route Utilisation Strategies, DfT franchise proposals, and proposed timetable changes.
  • View or download the Report of Southern Stakeholder Timetable Meeting April 2015.
Stay up-to-date with all Railfuture and other regional and national events and key dates.

Catch up with other London & South East rail development campaigning news in the regional branch newsletter railse.

Take Part

We campaign for sustainable growth in market share for rail transport. Therefore we support initiatives which will improve the attraction of rail and create a successful, financially secure rail industry: sufficient capacity, efficient customer service, simpler fares, improved connectivity, faster schedules, network enhancements and improved competitiveness with other modes of transport. If you share these ideals please contact us or join here. We welcome new members, and people to share practical ideas and to help put plans into action.

"Uckfield: it has no particular attractions" - Descriptive Railway Hand-Book of Great Britain and Ireland, by George Bradshaw, 1863.

Really? See community website for Uckfield, also Lewes, plus Uckfield News and Lewes-online.


john.fowden at btinternet.com - Acting Convener
michael.j.davies21 at btinternet.com - Minutes Secretary

Railfuture - The independent campaign for a better passenger and freight rail network

We need you - Join us!

Please go to the Join page to become a member of Railfuture.


Railfuture is the campaigning name for Railfuture Ltd, a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. Registered in England and Wales No. 05011634. Registered office: 24 Chedworth Place, Tattingstone, Suffolk IP9 2ND.

Rail User Express Rail Action