RAIL commuters could enjoy speed boosts of up to 20mph if plans to refurbish local signalling are confirmed.
Network Rail has confirmed it is developing proposals to upgrade signalling between Bo-Peep junction, west of St Leonards, and a point just east of Lewes station.
This would renovate the coastal line connecting St Leonards to Eastbourne and Brighton. The work would reduce the chance of signal failure disrupting journeys, and allow train speeds to increase from 70 to 90mph on some sections of the track.
The current signalling system uses an array of traditional levers and bells dating back to the mid 1800s.
A Network Rail spokesman said: “These improvements could help speed up people’s journeys and provide better reliability of the equipment, leading to an improved travelling experience for everyone.”
Martin Woodfine, spokesman for St Leonards and Hastings Rail Improvement Programme (SHRIMP), called the development ‘tremendous news’.
“We hope that our ongoing discussions with the industry will bring further positive results in the relatively near future,” he added.
A final decision will be taken in summer 2012, and, if confirmed, the work would be completed by 2013.
Hastings MP Amber Rudd said: “The efforts over recent years to keep Hastings’s rail problems on the agenda are bearing good fruit.
“Our local rail campaign groups and myself will be continuing to work with the industry to build on this development with a view to even more improvements.”