Rye passengers feel the squeeze

RYE commuters who use the high speed link from Ashford to London are being forced to stand for the 38 minute journey due to overcrowding.

The situation has been caused by the closure of part of the Charing Cross line due to a series of landslips.

Commuters from places such as Hastings, who would normally use that line, have been told they can use their tickets to travel on the high speed line to Kings Cross, St Pancras.

The rush hour crush looks set to continue with the re-opening of the Charing Cross line delayed due to an embankment at Whatlington slipping again after work was carried out.

Ray Prewer, from Rye, said: “I have been commuting for over three years and have noticed that the trains have been getting more crowded. We need more carriages or more frequent trains.

“Rye commuters pay £1,200 more and are having to stand.”

Rye commuter Peter Savory said: “For some weeks now passengers regularly commuting from Rye to Ashford International, and mostly beyond via HS1 to London, have had to endure cattle conditions on most trains. The 06.37 departure from Rye had no available seats. This is now ‘normal’. Why was no thought given to existing passengers when Southern decided to allow displaced passengers from Hastings to use this service?”

Stuart Harland, chairman of Rye rail action group Marshlink, called for tolerance and understanding and said: “We are all rail users. I have sympathy with those being crowded but more sympathy with people who have to go the long way round to get to work in the morning.”