I have just read Laura Button’s online article concerning the landslips and shutdown of the Hastings to London line. I note that the Route managing director, Fiona Taylor, doesn’t mention that Hastings commuters are allowed to use the High speed link from Ashford at no additional cost.
I travel from Rye to St Pancras each weekday to go to work. I usually catch the 6.38 from Rye and return by the 16.40 from St Pancras. I have been commuting for over 3 years and have noticed that the trains have been getting more crowded. This is an additional matter that I will be taking up with Southern. We need more carriages or more frequent trains.
On the 3rd February there were two landslips on the Hastings to London line. At current Network Rail estimates these will not be repaired and the line open until 3rd of March.
On both the National Rail and Southeastern web sites travellers from Hastings are encouraged to use the Hastings to Ashford and Ashford to St Pancras ( High speed line ) at no additional cost. In addition buses have been laid on to get round the landslips. This has lead to an increase of passengers and overcrowding on both services. Quite often, travellers from Rye and later stations do not get a seat to Ashford and the high speed has a number of people standing. People who have an annual season ticket from Rye on the High speed pay £5944. Hastings commuters with a season ticket no valid on the High speed pay £4724. This means that now Rye commuters pay £1200 more and are having to stand for over 1 hour.
In 2012, the Ore tunnel was repaired and travellers on the Hastings to Ashford had to endure 3 months of buses which doubled the 20 minute journal from Rye. I accept that this was necessary and as a result of the additional work that was carried out we have not had significant problems on our line during the winter deluge.
I have contacted Southeastern and have yet to receive a response. I would hope we would get some compensation for the inconvenience we have suffered.
Ray Prewer, Traders Passage, Rye.