TWICE in one week the railway line from London to Brighton was thrown into chaos, and this doesn’t just affect Brighton and Hove but as far afield as Eastbourne and Worthing.

That’s a lot of people relying on one increasingly overloaded line of railway.

No mention has been made of the cost to the local or wider economy, and as for inconvenience to long-suffering passengers...

The Department for Transport still maintains that reopening the Uckfield to Lewes railway line is not economically justified, but given the number of occasions the mainline is closed, planned and unplanned, this argument is wearing thin.

Lord Bassam of Brighton urged support for a plan to restore the Uckfield to Lewes line in The Argus (February 17) and this is a serious proposal which would provide a permanent solution.

It is called BML2.

This is a scheme to not just reopen eight miles of missing track, but provide an additional artery to London and possibly link into the wider UK rail network.

Adopting BML2 would lead to better services for central and eastern parts of Sussex, allowing improved reliability, operational flexibility and reducing overcrowding.

It has far more potential than just a relief line to Victoria or London Bridge, an aspect which the DfT continually ignores in dismissing the idea.

Increased capacity would also allow for a more competitive fares structure, rather than just the stratospheric prices charged to a captive audience at present.

At the prices demanded to travel by train in the UK, the least we deserve is a decent, reliable service.

The present situation is simply unacceptable, especially considering there is an effective solution on offer.

If you’ve not already done so, please search for the BML2 website, check for yourself and, if it makes sense to you and you feel so inclined, get behind the scheme.

The more of us that do, the likelier it is to happen.

Howard Risby, Stapley Road, Hove

LORD BASSAM puts forward a strong case for re-establishing a link between Uckfield and Lewes, which closed in 1969. It could provide a secondary route between London and Brighton – very useful when the main Brighton line is blocked, for whatever reason.

There can be no doubt that the decision to close this rail route was a short-sighted one.

However, there are significant and insuperable reasons why restoration of this route is simply impossible and can never happen.

As Lord Bassam says, one of the reasons why the line was closedwas to allowconstruction of a new road by East Sussex County Council, so it must be thatpart of this formerrailroute is nowobstructed by this road.

Another factor is that in Lewes itself shops have been built where the railway from Uckfield once ran.

An alternative scheme has been proposed to establish a rail link between Uckfield and Lewes,whichwouldmake use of the so-called “Hamsey Loop”.

This would provide a link between Uckfield and Lewes by making a junction with the mainLondontoLewesandEastbourne line at a point between Cooksbridge and Lewes.

Earthworks for this were built in the late 19th century, but were abandoned unfinished and no track was ever laid. These can be seen today.

However, trains running by this route would arrive at Lewes Station from the London direction and would be headed for Eastbourne. The scheme would therefore be “EML2”, not “BML2”.

I am sorry to seem to pour cold water on Lord Bassam’s proposals and some no doubt will see me as “anti-rail”.

I was a railway employee for nearly 44 years until my retirement and I would be pleased to see trains running south from Uckfield again.

However, what we would like to see has to be tempered with realism; there can be no future in advocating impossible schemes.

John Hyde-Smith, Belton Road, Brighton