Rye MP Amber Rudd is pushing for high speed trains to stop at Rye if the proposed link goes ahead.
The MP hit back at suggestions in last week’s Rye Observer that the new HS1 rail link discussions has overlooked Rye.
She said: Throughout I have been banging the drum for Rye and ensuring it is a stop on the HS1 line, along with local rail groups including East Sussex Rail Alliance (ESRA).
I want to put the record straight and make it absolutely clear that I have been, and will continue to campaign for the HS1 line to Hastings which will stop at Rye.”
Amber held a Rail Summit in March this year where the Secretary of State for Transport and representatives from Southeastern, Southern and Network Rail were present. At the meeting Amber secured “an absolute commitment” from David Ward of Network Rail that the HS1 line would be part of the 2019 plan. Amber is now campaigning for this date to be brought forward and to have the HS1 line as part of the 2017 plan.
The MP went on to say: “High-Speed rail is going to bring huge benefits to this constituency.
“We will be able to get to the Capital from Hastings in 68 minutes and from Rye in under an hour. This new rail line has the potential to be transformative for the towns of Rye and Hastings.
“Now we have the commitment from Network Rail, I’m going to fight all I can to make sure it is brought to our part of the South East as soon as possible,”
Stuart Harland, the chairman of Rye rail action group Marshlink has said he would welcome a wider public debate about the future of the line and the proposed high speed link.
He was keen to point out though that there was a long way to go before it became a reality.
Mr Harland said: “Firstly, and significantly, there is no funding in place yet for the proposed HS1 extension.
There is no campaign to get HS1 services to stop at Rye. MLAG is just working with the East Sussex Rail Alliance (“ESRA”, of which MLAG is a part) in its campaign to ensure that the MarshLink route can accommodate HS1 services.
“This requires electrification of the line, some dualling and other upgrades such as signalling, all at a significant cost, but some of the required line works were completed during the line closure in 2012 with more scheduled this year.
“It is too early to say where the proposed HS1 service would stop - that will be a franchise matter nearer the time. But, nonetheless, the hope, expectation and working assumption of ESRA is that the anticipated hourly HS1 service will stop at Rye, Hastings and Bexhill and an intermediate electric-train service would stop at other smaller stations.”
Mr Harland also praised Amber Rudd’s support for HS1 and said: “I have no doubt whatsoever that Amber Rudd is fully behind Rye being one of the stops. She has been wholly instrumental in getting the project to this stage and should be congratulated.”