RAIL chiefs are finally hoping to shutter a train station – 14 years after it was closed to the public.

To the naked eye, Newhaven Marine is a pile of rubble with some train tracks next to it, its station buildings demolished three years ago.

But to Network Rail it is still a fully functioning station, running a daily service to Brighton which no one is allowed on or off.

The “ghost train” has run from Newhaven Marine on 8.15pm on weekdays since the station was closed to passengers in 2016.

Now the Government is finally making a bid to close it, a move branded a “joke” by former Lewes MP Norman Baker.

“The station was demolished years ago and now they’re holding a consultation to close it,” the former Lib Dem MP said.

“I was thinking about replying to the consultation and asking Network Rail to open it up again as ‘Newhaven Rubble’.

“It’s a joke, isn’t it?”

Newhaven Marine was first opened in 1886 as “Newhaven Harbour Boat Station”, transporting passengers to the Dieppe ferry.

But as the town port moved and ferries became less frequent, the station fell out of use.

Since it was closed to the public 14 years ago, it has become derelict.

The Department for Transport claims refurbishing the station would cost £607,400 – “very poor value for money” in its own words.

“There would be insignificant passenger demand and benefits from restoring passenger rail services to the station as it does not serve the passenger ferry terminal or any other potential trip origins or destinations,” a Government report read.

“Restoring passenger services may lead to worsening journey times or reliability for passengers using the line to reach other stations.”

After 14 years of inactivity, Network Rail has now decided it wants to convert Newhaven Marine into a freight facility for the town port.

So the Government is running a consultation until April to decide whether to close the derelict station for good.

“The process is now under way to permanently close the station and we have been looking at other uses for the site,” a Network Rail spokesman said.

“The long term aspiration is for the site to be used as a freight facility and this process is under way.

“Newhaven Marine station has not had a scheduled passenger service since 2006 when the platform closed for safety reasons.

“The station was originally provided solely for the interchange between trains and cross-Channel ferries.

“The ferry terminal is now accessed via Newhaven Town Station meaning Newhaven Marine has no productive use.”

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield said Network Rail’s plans would move freight off Newhaven’s roads and on to the railway.

““I would urge all interested residents to take part in the consultation on the future of Newhaven Marine railway station,” she said.

“The plans put forward would enable this section of railway and the station to become focused on freight.”