RYE rail users will be on the buses again this weekend when the line closes for work on the Ferry Road level crossing.
Network Rail says the work on the crossing, this Sunday, is unavoidable and that they will also be taking the opportunity to do more works on the line including further track fettling and drainage work.
They say these works are all contributing to the journey time improvement works, something local rail action group Marshlink has been pushing for.
Motorists will also face long detours with the Udimore Road side of Rye being cut off from the town centre during the crossing closure,
The rail line will be closed all day on Sunday but the road will only be closed from 7am until midday if work goes to schedule.
Marshlink chairman Stuart Harland said: “Unlike the Easter bus replacement service when, arguably, Southern could have operated the Rye Shuttle, on this occasion, Southern are unable to operate a shuttle service. “This is because, as is well known and much argued about, the regular Rye Shuttle has to change platforms at Rye and, to do this, it has to cross the level crossing. Since the level crossing will be closed on Sunday, Southern are unable to “turn back” the train at Rye.
“The requirement to change platforms at Rye to operate the Shuttle is a rail safety requirement resulting from the current signalling configuration.
“Towards the end of last year, at the request of Network Rail, MLAG undertook a traffic survey at the crossing. The objective of this study was to help develop a business case for signalling changes to avoid the need to close the crossing for the Rye Shuttle. We await to hear whether money will be made available for this work but, for now, the result of the work on the crossing this weekend is that the Rye Shuttle cannot operate.
“Whether Southern would have operated the Rye Shuttle if they had been permitted to do so, this is one matter MLAG wants to put to the Department for Transport when the local rail franchise is next awarded. “MLAG believes that bidders for the franchise should be required to say what contingency arrangements they would put in place to enable them to operate a rail service on part of the line if other parts are closed by Network Rail.”