Train service halted by Easter rail works

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RYE’S hopes for an Easter tourism boost have been dented by news of more rail disruption.

A replacement bus service will be in place for passengers between Easter Saturday and the end of Easter Monday.

The rail disruptions follow hot on the heels of the Rye line being closed for three months, from January to March while work was carried out on the Ore Tunnel and other sections of line.

Network Rail has scheduled works between Bexhill and Ore, predominantly at Hastings Station, over the Easter weekend.

The timing of the rail works was slammed by Stuart Harland, chairman of Rye area rail action group Marshlink.

He said: “I understand the works are largely related to maintenance requirements on the railway track to London but, nonetheless, this will have a significant impact on our rail service.

“As we found when contemplating the Ore Tunnel blockade at the beginning of the year, it is very hard to argue against maintenance works but, to say the least, the timing of these works is unfortunate for an area with strong tourism demands.

Derrick Holman, from Rye Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is not ideal. Bad news like that tends to stick and people avoid Rye.

“You sometimes wonder if the powers that be have got in in for the town of Rye.”

It is not all bad news though as Rye does seem to be faring better than some other towns in the current financial climate.

Mr Holman said: “We keep going but that is down to the hard work that is done locally in promoting the town. We have pulled ourselves up with hard work and effort.”

To compound matters for Rye rail users there is more disruption on the Charing Cross line with replacement buses between Hastings and Battle over Easter.

The situation was branded “disgraceful” by Kevin Boorman of 1066 Tourism.

He said: “I just cannot believe that Network Rail has chosen the Easter weekend to do its engineering work “This is quite simply disgraceful. The Easter weekend is traditionally the start of the visitor season.” A spokesman for Network Rail said the works had been ‘carefully planned’ with the train companies to try and minimise disruption for train passengers. He said: “A huge amount of work is being carried out. “In some instances, work has been brought forward to Easter as Network Rail has pledged that there will be no planned closures on the railway for three months this summer, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games periods. “Bank Holidays are traditionally one of the quietest times on the railway, however we apologise for any additional journey times people may experience. Timetables are published three months in advance and passengers should always check with National Rail Enquiries before travelling for the latest information.”