Why is Peter Savoury of Rye complaining (Observer Points of view - 4 April) when the attention of Government, Network Rail and most of East Sussex is is now turned to getting the Ashford to Hastings railway into the national modernisation programme and the Network Rail engineers and trackmen have turned out all hours, in often atrocious weathers, to get the Hastings-Tonbridge route back into operation?
This really does seem to be a complaint for the sake of it. At the end of the day we all have to face the realities of a system not-fit-for-travel purpose across all the infrastructure of East Sussex. And there in your key constituency you have your elected member, Amber Rudd, doing her damnedest to get it sorted.
But what a crazy opposition! Over the Bexhill Link Road, now making good progress (though we have the regular bleat that the eggs are getting broken!) and fresh off the stocks both short and long term plans for rail, the South Coastal issues are getting real Government attention – and (ok!) promise of funding as the national economy revives – so surely this is time to push harder on the opening door?
The big hope now is that all these upgrades and improvements to travel will start to attract the attention of new businesses to come to the Coast, to enjoy the benefits of the South Downs and the elegant seaside towns, to open up new careers for the locals and others who commute to the Capital. Who knows, but we may not even need new roads – such as upgrading the A21 – if the railway can get a real head start! But on the other hand we still have to have the flexibility of the road so key arteries such as the A21 are still the life lines of Hastings and East Sussex and they are chronic as they are.
Cheer up Mr Savoury. A high speed train could be coming your way – but please do not complain about it when it arrives!
Ray Chapman MA
St Leonards and Hastings Rail Improvement Programme