Since becoming your MP in 2010, improving our transport links has always been a top priority of mine. As I often have to commute for my work in Parliament, I am aware that it takes far too long to travel along the coast and to make journeys to London. Delivering high speed rail will ease commuters’ travels as well as attracting jobs and investment to our area. High speed journeys will boost our local economy and draw more people to our fantastic town.
I recently wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, to gain his support for delivering a high speed rail link to Hastings. I received an encouraging response from the Secretary of State where he outlined the three phase process which will need to happen across Network Rail to allow this to happen. Phase 1 is the proposed enhancement to the track layout to the west of Ashford which is an ongoing project. Network Rail have completed their topographical survey of the area and are about to commence detailed design of the required solution. Phase 2 is the potential for line speed increases which will improve journey time reductions between Eastbourne and Ashford. Phase 3 is electrification. I have been lobbying the Department and working closely with local rail user groups and rail bodies to try to identify the best route going forward to ensuring the completion of all three phases and the delivery of high speed journeys to our constituency.
During the summer, I met with local rail user groups to discuss their thoughts and experiences of our train services. Although they voiced a number of positive comments about the new services being delivered to our towns, we also discussed a number of improvements which they believe can be made to improve services for our residents. I will pass on this feedback to the relevant agencies and will ask them to address the concerns raised at my upcoming Rail Summit.
Representatives from East Sussex County Council, South East Local Enterprise Partnership, Network Rail, Govia Thameslink Railway, Southeastern Railway and Stagecoach South East will join the Minister for Transport, Jo Johnson, to speak at my Rail Summit on 14 September. This will provide our residents with a perfect opportunity to receive an update from experts in the field and also to ask any questions they have about changes to services or improvements to be made.
I hope that you will consider joining me at my Rail Summit on 14 September. If you would like any more information, please do email me at email@example.com or call 01424 716 756.