What about the here and now?

Rye and Battle Observer letters
Rye and Battle Observer letters

From: Roger Blake, Director for infrastructure, National Board, and vice-chairman, London & South East regional branch, Railfuture

Game-changer as High Speed services from London and Kent into East Sussex will undoubtedly be, they’re for the next decade.

What’s for next year, and also mentioned by several speakers at the recent Hastings Rail Summit, is a new Southern timetable which will dramatically shorten connection times between existing High Speed services and the local MarshLink services at Ashford International – to single-figure minutes.

In addition, instead of the MarshLink service being truncated at Hastings as proposed in Govia Thameslink Railway’s most recent consultation, there is a very strong possibility that it will continue to Eastbourne so that St Leonards and Bexhill retain their direct links with Ashford International.

First advocated by Railfuture and since championed by six local rail user groups across Hastings and Rother acting as one, this alternative was endorsed in July by both local MPs who we trust will now have the decisive influence with Department for Transport civil servants and Ministers, including Rail Minister Paul Maynard who paid his first visit to Hastings to hear about it first hand.

Concerted campaigning will see a step-change as early as next May – even if the step is smaller and less dramatic than a new High Speed service.