Group’s concern at rail proposals

Southern train
Southern train

Rail campaigners have expressed concern over proposed changes to the Southern timetable.

The plans, unveiled this week, would see the through coastal service between Brighton and Ashford International axed, meaning passengers would have to change trains at Hastings.

Martin Woodfine, of the St Leonards and Hastings Rail Improvement (SHRIMP), and Trevor Davies, of Ore Transport Group (OTG), said in a joint statement: “Our concerns are the loss of the through strategic inter-county service from Ashford International and Rye to Eastbourne and Brighton, the through-journey reliance between services of connections and platform arrangements that cannot be guaranteed, longer standard journey times to Gatwick Airport and London Victoria and the effective reduction from two trains per hour westwards from Ore to one.”

The campaign groups did welcome some aspects of the proposal, including earlier and more frequent direct services to Brighton, more frequent services after 9pm each evening, improved connections at Ashford International into HS1 services and later evening journeys to and from Ashford.

Southern’s head of strategic planning, Phil Hutchinson, said: “We welcome the comments and good collaboration we enjoy with SHRIMP and have incorporated valuable feedback from passengers and interested parties.

“Our proposals give passengers desperately-needed longer trains on the most popular parts of the Hastings to Brighton route and were supported by 71 per cent of people responding to the first phase of our consultation. Our consultation programme enters its second phase and we are now inviting comments on our proposed weekday timetables.”

See www.transformingrail.com for more details.

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