MP concerned rail closure will affect school children

AMBER Rudd has joined forces with two other MP’s to raise concerns on how the planned closure of the Rye line in January will affect school children.

She was seeking answers to questions raised at a public meeting in Rye three weeks ago and still unanswered.

And she has been backed up by Battle and Bexhill MP Gregory Barker and Ashford MP Damian Green.

The three MP’s sent a joint letter to Southern Railway’s Head of Train Planning Dave Walker.

Amber said: “I have had several constituents contact me, who are concerned about the amount of school children that will be travelling on the replacement buses.

“They need to consider dedicated children/young people’s buses at key times and they must ensure that there is sufficient capacity at the start and end of the school day.”

Mr Barker said: “This is will be very disrupting to my constituents who commute via Ashford, it is essential that everything is done to ensure that the line is closed for as short a period as possible.”

“It is unclear why the line needs to be closed from Ashford to Rye, as the work is being carried out in the Ore Tunnel. We need reassurance that they have looked at the possibility of keeping the line open between Ashford and Rye.” Said Mr Green.

The MPs also asked Southern to consider compensation for season ticket holders, to acknowledge the enormous disruption that travellers will endure.

Amber says in the letter: “When asked about the number of people working on the Ore tunnel nobody seemed to know how many shifts were to be in use.

“The disruption of nine weeks is extremely long. Could more shifts not be used to reduce the duration of the closure?

“There is much concern regarding the number of children travelling on buses. Has a dedicated children’s or young people’s bus been considered at key times?

“We are unclear as to why the section between Rye and Ashford needs to be closed as we are aware that the Ashford Chart Leacon depot could be used for refuelling, which would allow a shuttle to continue operating between Rye and Ashford. If this is not feasible, why?”

Rother Council has also contacted rail operators saying that it fears Rye could be effectively cut-off in the event of bad weather in January.