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Rail Services: West Sussex

Volume 676: debated on Monday 18 May 2020

I am sorry, Mr Speaker—I was worried about my husband for a moment there. Problem or opportunity, whichever way you take it.

The Government are investing around £48 billion in maintaining and upgrading the rail network between 2019 to 2024, focused on increasing reliability and punctuality for passengers, including in West Sussex.

I thank my hon. Friend for his reply and for the significant extra investment that the Government are making in rail transport. As we seek to regrow the economy, may I ask him to consider the investment project known as the Arundel chord, which would enable trains to turn east near Arundel and travel directly to Horsham, significantly improving the resilience of rail services for my constituents in Arundel and South Downs?

Network Rail has recently concluded a study of services in the West Sussex area, produced in consultation with local authorities and stakeholders. While the Arundel chord might have value as a diversionary route, its capacity would be limited and it would cause a negative impact on existing Arun Valley and West Coastway services. However, the study has suggested numerous beneficial changes involving train services and infrastructure, which my Department will take forward with Network Rail and which will benefit all my hon. Friend’s constituents.