I refer to Laura Button’s article in this week’s Battle Observer, and I just wanted to give my thoughts on what should be done to improve the Hastings line.
I am not a commuter myself but do use the service to London from time to time. I think improvements can be made by trains stopping far less at stations such as Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, and Orpington as so many trains stop at those stations anyway,and this would also decrease the journey time from Hastings to London. Obviously stations up to Tunbridge Wells need plenty of trains stopping at them, and I think the current timetable covers that well. Also there needs to be an express service that will leave Hastings and only call at St.Leonards Warrior Square, Battle, Tunbridge Wells,and then London stations. This would be good two or three times a day.
I always use Battle as my local station, and the other thing that could be improved and I have had two examples of this very recently,is that I was returning from London having been to concerts and missed the 22.45 train to Hastings. The next one is 23.45,so had to wait an hour. There were 2 trains in between which terminate at Tunbridge Wells stopping at a lot of stations down the line. That is crazy for anyone who like myself lives south of Tunbridge Wells. Make one of those trains faster and all the way through to Hastings cutting out places like Orpington and Chelsfield, which would give people like myself more flexibility getting home late at night from London. I seem to remember many years ago that all trains went straight through to Hastings, and did not terminate at Tunbridge Wells all the time. The stations closer to London are all catered for very well.
Finally there needs to be some better form of catering on our trains which would be a nice improvement.
I think all the companies involved with landslips etc.this year did a great job in getting the services back up and running again-It cannot have been easy!