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South central radial area study

The South Central area encompasses the corridors that share the London-Gatwick corridor in the north and fan out in the south to connect much of the Sussex coastline to the capital.

This area stretches from Eastbourne in the east to Chichester and Bognor Regis in the west. It includes the Brighton and Hove built-up area, which is home to nearly half a million people. It also includes Britain’s second busiest airport at Gatwick along with the ports of Newhaven and Shoreham.

A map showing the South Central area


  • Development and economic growth constrained by:
    • Limited capacity at Gatwick Airport;
    • Relatively poor resilience, especially on the Brighton Mainline corridor, which should partially be address by the Brighton Mainline Improvement Programme; and
    • Relatively low frequency and capacity and the Adur Valley Line.
  • Poor integration of radial and orbital rail, resulting in sub-optimal end-to-end journeys, particularly to and from Gatwick.
  • Relatively long rail journey times to between London and Eastbourne, Newhaven, Littlehampton, and Bognor Regis.


Rail enhancements could provide:

  • Improved capacity, reliability and punctuality on the Brighton Main Line (particularly at East Croydon);
  • Faster journeys along the Arun Valley Line and to coastal communities such as Eastbourne, Newhaven, Littlehampton and Bognor Regis; and
  • Cross country direct services from Brighton to the Midlands and North of England (avoiding London).

Working in partnership

Partnership working is at the heart of our approach, making sure we capture invaluable insight and experience from stakeholders across the South East as we develop our investment priorities.

This area study is being led by a working group comprising senior officers from local transport authorities , local enterprise partnerships and other key partners including Network Rail and National Highways and protected landscapes.

The working group is supported by a stakeholder forum. This brings together a wide range of groups and organisations including transport operators, active travel campaigners, universities, environmental groups, local planning authorities, business groups and many more.

South central radial working group

Brighton & Hove City Council
Department for Transport
East Sussex County Council
Gatwick Airport
Kent County Council
National Highways
Network Rail
South Downs National Park Authority
Surrey County Council
West Sussex County Council

South central radial stakeholder forum

Adur District Council
Arriva Buses
Arun District Council
Brighton & Hove City Council
Buses in Fleet (Bus user groups representative)
Campaign to Protect Rural England
Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport
Chichester District Council
Coastal West Sussex Economic Partnership
Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
Confederation of Passenger Transport
Crawley Borough Council
East Sussex County Council / Team East Sussex
Eastbourne Borough Council
England’s Economic Heartland
Epsom & Ewell Council
Eversholt Rail Ltd
Federation of Small Businesses
Friends of the Earth
Gatwick Diamond Business Initiative
Govia Thameslink Railway
Homes England
Horsham District Council

Kent & Medway Economic Partnership (KMEP)
Lewes District Council
Logistics UK
Mid Sussex District Council
Mole Valley Council
Motorcycle Action Group
Newhaven Port Authority
Rail Delivery Group
Rail Freight Group
Reigate and Banstead Borough Council
Road Haulage Association
Shoreham Port Authority
South East England Councils
South Western Railway
Sussex Community Rail Partnership
Tandridge District Council
Thames Gateway Tramlink Ltd
Transport Action Network
Transport Focus
Transport for London
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
University of Kent
Wealden District Council