The introduction of fast trains to Hastings would be a ‘priority’ for the Conservatives if the General Election returns a majority government next month, the secretary of state for transport has said.
Grant Shapps made the announcement on Sunday (November 24) following lobbying from the Conservative candidates Sally-Ann Hart in Hastings and Rye, Huw Merriman in Bexhill and Battle and Caroline Ansell in Eastbourne.
Speaking over the weekend Mr Shapps said: “Sally-Ann has been a champion of the introduction of Javelin-type high speed rains on the line to Hastings from London to speed up travel for tourists and commuters to the area.
“I will be looking at this as a priority issue if a majority Conservative Government is returned in December.”
The aim of the Javelin trains is also to reduce reliance by road vehicles on the cross Coastal roads, linking Eastbourne, through and around Hastings and Rye to Ashford, Kent.
The case for the Javelin-type (140-miles/hour) trains has been made stronger as plans have been brought forward for new rail investment at Croydon and other key junctions on the South London commuter rail network – and Brighton Main Line – all of which could bypass these long-term works and ensure that daily Coastal and Capital-bound trains do not face delays and cancellations.
This would also assist the role of the intended statutory body, Transport for the South East, to plan for the Net Carbon Free requirements by 2050, ensuring that the travelling public maximise their use of improving low-emission public transport services.
The introduction of Javelin trains, by way of improved tracks, could lower the travel time between Hastings and London to 66 minutes.
The Conservatives say this could help boost the economy of Hastings and the surrounding area by an estimated £1 billion ‘in the short-term’.