Boom in Mid Sussex rail travel sees big rise in passenger numbers

DM15224269a.jpg Haywards Heath railway station. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150811-220827008

DM15224269a.jpg Haywards Heath railway station. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150811-220827008

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A boom in rail travel has taken place in Mid Sussex with massive increases in the number of people using local trains.

Growing populations and changing work and travel patterns have led to year-on-year increases at Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Hassocks, Wivelsfield , Balcombe and Plumpton over the past two decades.

Last week Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames and other Sussex MPs met with rail officials seeking substantial improvements in train services throughout the region.

But figures released this week by the Campaign for Better Transport might go some way to explaining some of the problems.

Haywards Heath Station has undergone a huge 44 per cent increase in the number of passengers over the past 20 years.

In 1998, the station handled 3,108,928 passenger ‘entries and exits’ which rose to a massive 4,470,598 in 2015.

Meanwhile, Burgess Hill Station was not far behind with a 43 per cent increase in passengers over the past two decades. In 1998 the station handled 1,248,748 passengers which increased to 1,783,438 last year.

Plumpton Station saw the biggest growth with a staggering 148 per cent increase over the past 20 years. In 1998 the station dealt with 55,447 passengers, rising to 137,566 last year.

Hassocks Station has also grown. In 1998 it dealt with 774,366 passengers which rose to 1,344,382 in 2015 - a massive 74 per cent increase.

Wivelsfield Station, while seeing growth, has grown much less than other stations in Mid Sussex. In 1998 it dealt with 466,782 passengers which rose to 478,828 in 2015 - an increase of just three per cent.

Andrew Allen, from the Campaign for Better Transport, which has drawn up a map of rail passenger growth through the country, said: “The result says a lot about rail’s strengths as well as showing where investment and support are now long overdue.”

You can check out amap of passenger figures for yourself at: http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/maps/rail-usage.html

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