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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 June 2007, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
'Fresh hope' of railway reopening
Disused track between Uckfield and Lewes
The disused track between Uckfield and Lewes is overgrown
A group campaigning to reopen a stretch of railway line closed nearly 40 years ago says it has fresh hope after meeting the railways minister.

The track between Uckfield and Lewes, in East Sussex, was closed in 1969 because of increased road building.

Members of the Wealden Line Campaign group said Thursday's meeting with Tom Harris went "better than expected".

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it would look at a local study on the reopening when it was finished.

Trains currently run north to London from Uckfield while the seven-mile section south to Lewes is overgrown.

'Social benefits'

Campaigners say reopening it would ease traffic congestion and relieve pressure on the adjacent Brighton Main Line by opening up another route between London and the south coast.

"This would take traffic off the roads and have social benefits for getting people from Uckfield to Brighton who presently have to go by bus," said Lib Dem MP for Lewes, Norman Baker.

Campaigner Brian Hart said the meeting with Mr Harris went extremely well.

"The minister said he thought we had a very good case and he would like to see it go ahead," he said.

Allan Slater
Station resident Allan Slater said he wanted the issue resolved

"But we have to provide him with a business case and that is what we will be concentrating on for the next year."

Allan Slater, who lives in the old Barcombe Mills station on the route, said he wanted the issue resolved.

"If there is genuinely a need for the railway to come through here I don't think I am in a position to stand in their way ," he said.

A DfT spokesperson said: "The department is always willing to listen to proposals for improving the transport network.

"We understand that there is a locally funded study to look at the reopening of the Uckfield to Lewes line and we will look at this when it is finished."


SEE ALSO
Tory call to protect old railways
26 Apr 07 |  UK Politics
Calls for tracks to be reopened
02 Apr 07 |  Lancashire
Trains to return to disused line
12 Jul 06 |  Shropshire

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