Build Arundel Chord
When I was in the Southern Region Planning Office at Waterloo in 1970, a project being commonly discussed was the construction of the ‘Arundel chord’, linking the Mid-Sussex Line with the West Coastway Line in the Worthing and Brighton direction.
It would be situated on open country (now seemingly occupied with greenhouses), and a relatively low-cost project giving significant benefits and opportunities, including:
Restoring a rail link between Horsham and Brighton that was severed in the 1960s when the direct line was closed.
Allowing the Victoria-SuttonHorsham service to be extended to Worthing and Brighton. This would give new travel opportunities for the people of southwest London, Surrey, Horsham, Arundel and Worthing/Brighton (whose direct bus link to Arundel was cut many years ago).
It could potentially attract some Brighton and Worthing passengers away from the overcrowded Brighton Main Line. Many of those who change to go west at Three Bridges, Gatwick Airport, East Croydon or Clapham Junction could potentially benefit.
Its availability as a low-cost diversionary route when engineering works close portions of the Brighton Main Line. BML2 seems stalled again - this would not be a replacement for that, but could be quick to implement and be available years before BML2 could become fully operational.
After 20 years of railway traffic growth, I wonder why this scheme has never been progressed. Is it because no one is responsible?
Network Rail is paid to manage what it has. Southern (GTR) is paid to run on the lines that exist. Where is the creative, businessoriented mind that would pick up such projects and run with them? Should the next Southern-type franchise be for 15 years and include this component? In any event, it should be in Control Period 6. Martin Kerridge, Brighton