Commuter’s online petition to improve our train journeys

A COMMUTER is urging people to sign a petition calling for better rail services between Hastings and London.

Lauren Borg Olivier said 1,000 signatures are needed on the online document so the long-running issue can be debated in the House of Commons.

She used to live in Hastings but told the Observer she had to leave because the daily two-hour commute up to the capital was too long.

Miss Borg Olivier, who now lives in Ealing in west London, said: “Hastings is home to the largest beach-launched fishing fleet in Europe, a preserved Old Town and a strong local arts community.

“However, deprivation in Hastings continues and this is without doubt perpetuated by the slow and expensive commute to London.

“I felt I had to move from Hastings because of this, which was sad, as I liked living in the town. I was working for Transport for London but the daily commute took way too long.

“You can get from Brighton to London in an hour but from Hastings it is nearly two hours.

“A better rail network between Hastings and London would resolve things like poverty issues and attract more jobs.

“London commuters provide an important source of income for the Hastings community. Improved transport links are essential to the future prosperity of Hastings.”

The fight for faster trains between Hastings and the capital was raised by the town’s MP Amber Rudd in June in the House of Commons.

Ms Rudd held a debate in Parliament calling for a complete overhaul of the way the Government dishes out rail franchises.

And she told Commons colleagues that unless improvements were made to the current journey times, the continued regeneration of Hastings would be destined for the scrap heap.

Martin Woodfine, from St Leonards and Hastings Rail Improvement Programme, a group campaigning for better rail services between 1066 Country and the capital, said: “We have been at the forefront of campaigning for several years and it looks like the situation could be changing within the next two years.

“We are aware that Network Rail is in heavy discussions with Southeastern to improve the power supply between Hastings and Tunbridge Wells. Hopefully this will mean 12-car trains can go on the route when at the moment the maximum number is only eight carriages.”

To sign Miss Borg Olivier’s e-petition, log onto http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/15479.