Call for direct South Coast train line route

Nick Perry with Norman Baker at Rye Station SUS-150119-132535001
Nick Perry with Norman Baker at Rye Station SUS-150119-132535001

A Hastings politician has launched a campaign calling for a direct rail link between Ashford and Southampton.

Nick Perry, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Hastings and Rye, believes such a route will boost the economy of 1066 Country and towns across the south coast.

He has submitted a motion to the party’s pre-General Election Conference, to be held in Liverpool in March.

Lewes Lib Dem MP and former Transport Minister Norman Baker has backed the motion.

Mr Perry said: “This railway would have a direct positive impact on the economies of at least 30 constituencies along the south coast. We already have support from Dover to Gosport, and Fareham via Brighton and Lewes. We need to think East-West as well as North-South, and we consider that this bold proposal would send a strong message about our commitment to the less advantaged people and areas along the south coast, and to the objectives of sustainable economic development. We must build on the work of the Parliament just gone.”

Ray Chapman, co-chairman of East Sussex Rail Alliance, said: “The fundamental elements of the south coastal communities regeneration are the bringing together of new enterprise and investments with a more mobile workforce, which both can be delivered by the South Coast Main Line development. The more the support, the greater the dividends that this crucial rail scheme can deliver.”

The priority for most Rye based commuters remains better connections at Ashford.

Often passengers arriving at Ashford and wanting to travel on to Rye face a long wait for the next train. Overcrowding is still a big issue.