On Tuesday the House of Commons which is currently in recess published a question from Caroline Lucas to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP. Mr McLoughlin did not reply personally (perhaps he was stuck on a train) but Claire Perry who is Parliamentary Under Secretary for Transport wrote: Later this year, the rail industry will present its initial advice on investment needs for the national network, for 2019 onwards. On the basis of this advice, Government intends to articulate its emerging priorities for improvements to the national network (including possible upgrades to the Brighton Main Line) during 2017. The Thameslink Programme is already delivering a significant upgrade to the Brighton Main Line – including the major redevelopment of London Bridge station – which, from 2018 will provide more capacity and more journey options for passengers.
Although I only travel to London 2-3 times a month, whilst the experience of alighting at London Bridge is a huge improvement over the past, it has not in itself improved the travel experience between Brighton and London to any discernible degree. I appreciate that Politicians are inclined to put a bit of a gloss on the things that are going well, but nevertheless, this answer does not really deal with the fundamental part of the problem. In effect what Claire Perry is saying is that apart from the improvements to London Bridge, don’t expect any improvements until the mid 2020’s at the earliest, as the work commenced in mid 2019 will take 5-10 years to be completed if it is to be of any real value to commuters. In any event the prospect of change is no more than a possibility.