MP’s proposal for alternative to Brighton mainline

Nick Herbert MP at Pulborough railway station
Nick Herbert MP at Pulborough railway station

COMMUTERS left stranded by a flooded main railway route this week could benefit from a proposed multi-million pound link from the coastal line to Arundel and on to London.

The town’s MP Nick Herbert has made a fresh call for Network Rail to consider building the ‘Arundel Chord’, giving trains from the south coast to the capital an alternative route when the Brignton mainline is closed, as happened on Monday.

Mr Herbert met the managing director of Network Rail, Dave Ward, last May and urged him to consider a rail chord at the junction of the Arun Valley and Coastway lines near Lyminster and backed up the meeting with a letter in which he said: “If trains from Chichester, Barnham and Arundel could run up to London via Dorking, this would reduce the pressure on the Gatwick line.

“You said that you would look into these proposals, and were particularly interested in them as a means to run services when the London to Brighton line is unavailable.”

Network Rail is understood to be looking into the Arundel Chord as part of a study of routes to be completed by the end of the year and released in early 2015. However, four years ago the estimated £25m cost of construction meant the link would not be economically viable.