Mr David Jamieson (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport; Plymouth, Devonport, Labour)
My right hon. Friend has accepted advice from the Strategic Rail Authority that there is currently no case for electrifying the Wealden Line, as the costs far outweigh the benefits. Equivalent passenger and operational benefits will be secured, significantly earlier, by introducing modern diesel trains to replace the 40-year-old trains currently operating services on the line. However, it is recognised that circumstances may change over time and the SRA therefore intends to secure a full electrification study after the new South Central franchise has run for five years.