YOUR correspondent Simon Stoddart is correct in highlighting the ongoing difficulties surrounding rail services to/from Hastings.
Most of his comments are in harmony with the objectives of SHRIMP (St Leonards and Hastings Rail Improvement Programme) but we do not share his pessimism for the future. The problems can be traced through a lack of investment over a protracted period of time, certainly from before his snipe at John Major.
While any progress within the rail industry is slow, there are signals of improvement, despite a succession of Route Utilisation Strategies (RUSs) containing no useful contributions to services in our area. Representatives of SHRIMP, together with Hastings and regional representatives, are in continuing dialogue and meetings with service operators, Network Rail, DfT and others to ensure that progress continues.
We are very fortunate in that our MP is very active in pressing for action. The potential for improvements are there, but we must be honest and accept that these may include some sort of compromises in the longer term.
In the meantime remember that Hastings still has two direct routes to London – three if you include HS1 via Ashford – and two to Brighton. In comparison with other south coast towns, this is good. Use them or lose them.
SHRIMP’s April newsletter has just been released and can be found on our website www.1066shrimprail.org.uk.
St Leonards and Hastings Rail Improvement Programme (SHRIMP)