Rail upgrade needed for our future

Last Friday’s Marshlink Action Group AGM meeting provided those that attended with important news on the development of our local rail transport system.

The representative from Network Rail gave a fascinating and detailed presentation on the current state of the proposed High Speed link as well as some more immediate line speed improvements in the Ore area. Unfortunately there were some negatives too. The booked representative from Southern failed to show up (perhaps as a result of more cancelled trains on the night in question?) and a stand in got lumbered with having to answer audience questions on their continuing poor reliability and overcrowding issues.

Despite him telling us over and over that he had only been in his current job for 90 days and that he’d been a railwayman for 35 years, his responses were surprisingly weak. I suspect that there were people in the audience that could have answered the questions he was asked and with better accuracy. In fairness he has promised to get back to the group with some answers. No doubt time will tell.

However, the most astonishing responses to the incredibly positive things we were told by the NR rep’ came from a small minority of Rye area residents. To hear obviously retired people whingeing and moaning about potential losses of footpath crossings across an prospectively upgraded line was both depressing and disappointing; this despite the encouraging assurances from the speakers that safety risk was the prime concern for all users and that there are viable solutions that would enable people and vehicles to cross upgraded lines safely. To then hear that “more tourists are not wanted here” and “we don’t want this to become a commuter town” makes me despair for our area’s survival as a thriving local economy.

I would also point out to these same people that Rye and other Marshlink towns and villages are already extensively used by working people like myself to commute to towns & cities all over the south east. Indeed it is our earnings that keep many local businesses going year round.

These self-centred, short-termist NIMBY’s must not be allowed to delay these important regeneration projects. It is quite one thing to hold valid and important environmental opinions on anything involving change, but equally our descendants will not thank us if we allow ridiculous, selfish negativity to make sure that our area of the south coast is the only one not to have a viable economic future.

Gary James

Address supplied