IT’S not often that delays to journeys and buses replacing trains for nine weeks is a ‘good news’ story, but the recently completed work on the Marshlink railway line between Hastings and Ashford can be described as just that. We have endured the closure and the bus rides, so let us now celebrate the results.
Network Rail has made a significant investment upgrading sections of the line, replacing worn-out track and bridges, repairing Ore Tunnel and strengthening an embankment. As well as a more comfortable ride, this should lead to higher speeds and shorter journey times in the near future.
Over the next two decades, London’s economy is likely to move eastwards to the Thames Gateway and - if my colleague Boris Johnson’s ambitions materialise - a new international airport could be built in the Thames estuary to replace Heathrow and Gatwick. Thus the Marshlink, which was once slated for closure, is likely to become a very important artery for our town due to its connectivity at Ashford.
Readers will know that ultimately I wish to see a full upgrade, and High Speed trains extended from Ashford to Hastings, cutting journey times to London to around an hour. In the meantime, “Thank you” Network Rail, for this vote of confidence in the future of the line.
Meanwhile we press on with the campaign to enlighten Norman Baker, MP, and Minister for Roads about the economic needs in Hastings for the Link Road. The money has finally been provided for the road by the Chancellor in last October’s Autumn Statement. Now we need Norman Baker to recognise the critical role that this Link Road can play in the economic growth of the area. If you haven’t yet signed my petition please do so http://amberrudd.co.uk/news/hastings-to-bexhill-link-road . It’s not too late. Decision time is end of March and my petition will close on March 20.
I know that many constituents suffer from ‘Link Road Fatigue’. Please join me in this final push for Hastings. I am fighting for delivery. No more talk – action.
So please add your voice so that we get the right outcome.