Fresh calls for Arundel chord so trains can run direct from Worthing to Horsham

LG 160115 Arundel Railway Station and the railway line - calls for an Arundel Chord (new railway link for London) made by councillors
LG 160115 Arundel Railway Station and the railway line - calls for an Arundel Chord (new railway link for London) made by councillors

Fresh calls for a new rail link near Arundel to enable trains to run direct between Worthing and Horsham have been made by councillors.

Passengers currently have to change at either Barnham or Ford.

But a project called the Arundel chord, which would create a new piece of track enabling trains to turn east near the town, has often been mooted as a way of eliminating this.

Paul Dendle (Con, Arundel and Walberton) said: “It’s something that’s economically important for the whole district and it would give resilience to the planning of the Brighton route because it would give an alternative route.”

He raised the issue at an Arun District Council meeting on Wednesday (July 17).

James Walsh (LDem, Beach), leader of the council, said he had been in favour of the chord for years, but the main obstacle was not really the land or even the cost, but congestion further up the line near East Croydon at the Windmill junction.

He promised to lobby Network Rail over the project.

Ricky Bower (Con, East Preston) described how it was far quicker to travel from Brighton to Horsham via Three Bridges rather than using the Arun Valley line, but the chord would be positive for places along the coast such as Worthing and Shoreham. He added: “I very much support this.”

Isabel Thurston (Green, Barnham) also described support for the proposal as if they wanted to reduce climate change they needed to have an efficient public transport system.

After the meeting, Nick Herbert, Arundel and South Downs MP, said: “I persuaded Network Rail to look again at the case for the Arundel Chord in 2015, but their route study concluded that it would offer low value for money.

“I believe that the entire rail network in the south needs a fundamental upgrade to modernise and meet rising demand, and the chord should be looked at again in that context.”