MP backs study into "Arundel chord" rail scheme
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert is calling on Network Rail and Southern to give “proper consideration” to a new scheme that would benefit rail passengers in West Sussex.
A new 250-metre stretch of track at the Arundel junction near Lyminster, known as the "Arundel chord", would enable trains travelling south on the Arun Valley line to "turn left" after Arundel, providing direct services to Angmering, Shoreham, Worthing and Brighton.
At last night's meeting of the Joint Downland Area Committee, held in Arundel, local councillors and members of the public quizzed Paul Best of Network Rail on the merits of the scheme.
During the discussion, Mr Best said Network Rail did not support the scheme but admitted that they had not worked up a full business case and were only able to guess at the cost, saying that a similar scheme in East Sussex would have cost £24.9 million.
Mr Herbert was unable to join the meeting as he was required to vote in the House of Commons at 10pm, but his researcher Matthew Jones attended and read a message of support from the MP.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Herbert said: "We all know that money is going to be very tight over the next few years, but I think that Network Rail and Southern should give the chord proper consideration so that the community knows if there is an economic case for it. If this helps to increase use of trains in the area and enable more services it could be a good thing. The idea has a lot of local support and we shouldn't dismiss the potential benefits out of hand."
Notes for Editors
1. A copy of Nick Herbert's message of support is attached [to follow].
2. The Joint Downland Area Committee meeting was held at The Norfolk Centre, Mill Road, Arundel, West Sussex BN18 9PA on Monday 18 January 2010 at 7pm. For the agenda and papers, visit http://talkwithus.westsussex.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/downland-arun/meetings---agendas/;jsessionid=aztNS3pHP7s4.