Wednesday, 17 December 2014


As any prospective parliamentary candidate you have to have a working knowledge of every aspect of life. Railways included.

With millions of people commuting everyday to work, the railways of Great Britain is a subject for every politician regardless of his or her political persuasion.


With the nation’s privatised railway system creaking at the edges and slowly decaying, the question being asked of every politician is, “What are you going to do about it?”

According to Jack Swain, an expert on Sussex railways, the solutions are all too obvious.

  • Trains should definitely be longer! 3 and 4 car Coastway trains are not good enough.
  • They should retain the current Gatwick express 442s for Coastway workings and diversions via Littlehampton and Brighton.
  • Or build new 6 car trains for the Coastway and they can couple up to 12 car on London services.


Sourced from

“BML2 is a proposal to create a second Brighton Main Line to London. However, it's actually a lot more than relieving pressure on one of the country's most overcrowded rail routes for the benefit of Brighton commuters travelling into London or restoring a rail link between Uckfield and Lewes.”

Backing BML2 “100%,” Jack Swain knows more than anyone that changes need to be made now to Sussex trains, to alleviate the misery now, which commuters are having to endure now.

“Having been on quite a few peak and off peak hour trains and I would say there is much needed to improve the whole Brighton railway system.”

The BML2 Project can be broken down into three phases:-


  1. Restoration of rail link between Uckfield and Lewes, providing a direct route from Eastbourne to London via Uckfield, releasing train paths and increasing capacity on the Brighton Main Line
  2. Building of new rail link between Uckfield and Brighton via Falmer – home of Brighton and Hove Albion's Amex stadium and Brighton and Sussex universities, making them accessible from the northern parts of East Sussex and South London


  1. Re-instatement of Tunbridge Wells West and linking in to the core BML2 route, relieving pressure on the Tonbridge Main Line into London (also one of the most overcrowded rail routes in the country) and making Brighton and Eastbourne accessible


  • Re-opening Selsdon to Elmers End to rail travel to avoid the East Croydon bottleneck and provide direct link from Kent and Sussex to Canary Wharf and East London, relieving pressure on the London Underground
  • Creation of Croydon Gateway station – a possible amalgamation of Purley Oaks, Sanderstead and South Croydon, providing an interchange between BML and BML2 and relieving pressure on East Croydon – the country's second busiest rail interchange
  • Linking into Thameslink 2 between Stratford and Lewisham, providing a rail link between Gatwick and Stansted airports (“StanWick”) and opening up a rail corridor between East Anglia and Sussex, Surrey and Kent, relieving more pressure on the London Underground and improving links between these counties.

As Jack Swain explains further, “I think the new class 700 trains won’t transform travel it will just mean more people standing. It will be perfect for metro services in London but not for the Brighton main line services.”

Back to Jack, “I think these futuristic trains should replace the current Brighton mainline trains as 8 and 12 car and 6 car units for the coastway.”

Aged 17, Jack Swain isn’t a political person as such, but he does know the trains need to completely changed and he knows a bad decision when he sees one

“No plans to increase capacity on trains on the Coastways and match days!”

Criticising Southern Rail’s plan to run a train every 3 minutes on the Brighton mainline as “over-use,” Jack predicts engineering work will become more often and more frequent and if a train fails then the whole Brighton mainline will be messed up.

To sum up in simply terms, Jack’s 3 point plan:

  • BML2 Project.
  • Brighton station tracks remodelled and platforms extended for 14 car trains at the busiest time.
  • More stations should get a face lift of modernisation, an example is Hassocks.

As Jack says, “If I had my way I would replace a large area of the Brighton mainline and completely renew it because the journeys aren’t as smooth as they used to be and 12 car trains off peak and 14 car trains peak and Sundays if there is a diversions which is 1 train per hour. I would retain that but instead of 8 car it will be 14 car.”


Email Yvonne Leslie the East Coastway manager at Southern Railways.

“Every complaint for extra capacity on diversions to mainline east the more likely some action will be done.”

Maybe we can all send an email similar to the one Jack sent to increase the chance of longer trains on diversions on mainline east via Brighton (Or London Victoria via Brighton)


Hi Yvonne

Ref: Carriage numbers.

Considering the misery commuters must endure on Southern Railway trains everyday, may I put forward the following points:

• I strongly suggest that for future Mainline East Diverts you put a mixture of 10 car 442s and 12 car 377s because they will provide more capacity and the class 442s are built for long distance and used on the Eastbourne-London Bridge.

• I can’t see why some class 442s can be used of the diversions as well as 12 car 377s because the 442s have very comfortable seats and the 12 car 377s provide a lot of capacity.

• The very least you can do is on the 14th of December when the next diverted Mainline East via Brighton happens you put a mixture of 12 car 377s and 10 car 442s.

• I strongly recommend that for future mainline east diverts via Brighton they should be a mix of 12 car 377s and 10 car 442s

Please consider this email to be both a complaint of your service and a solution to what you can do to make your service better for the hardworking commuters who use it.

• It will benefit a lot of people from Eastbourne and Brighton because most people prefer to get a fast train from Brighton to London Victoria and when the Mainline East is diverted via Brighton is goes very extremely busy and with only hourly 8 car 377s it get crowded very easily.

Many thanks for your time and I look forward to your reply,

Matt Taylor
Election campaign manager for Joe Neilson, Independent Parliamentary Candidate for Brighton Kemptown 2015.
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