Rye Observer Comment: Winter chaos lies ahead on the trains

RYE rail users face wintery chaos at the start of next year with no trains running between Hastings and Ashford for nine weeks.

The short term misery will be off-set by a better, faster service in the future and we accept the work has to be done at some time.

Our concern is the fact it is scheduled for January and February. We do not need long memories to recall the heavy snow and ice that brought Rye to its knees this winter.

Network rail wants to avoid affecting tourism on the line, but it is optimism in the extreme to suppose that we will escape harsh and icy conditions at the height of winter.

This will leave people shivering in the cold awaiting a replacement bus service that may never arrive.

Not only will this affect the many Rye residents who work in Hastings, Ashford and Bexhill but students who need to travel to Hastings to the College and Parkwood.

If the weather does hit work could be severely affected an delayed and we could be looking at having no trains almost up to Easter.

There is no question that the work is needed but the whole plan needs to be looked at more carefully and perhaps a way found to at least run trains at peak times.

The Marshlink Group is right to call for a public meeting. Winter is fast approaching and we need to be sure that all available options have been properly explored.

.................................................

The Rye area is a hot-spot for arts and culture and now is a good time to take advantage of it.

Rye Festival enters its second week and a four week arts trail around the medieval churches of Romney Marsh opens on Saturday.

Sunday saw dozens of artists displaying their work at Strand Quay and Rye Art Gallery launched a prestigious new exhibition. Summer may be over but it certainly need not be colourless and dull.