HASTINGS is reliant on its train service yet Southeastern’s response to the extreme weather was lamentable.
Not because of the breakdowns which occurred but because of its failure to adequately care for stranded passengers.
As one of the travellers on the service prematurely terminated at Tunbridge Wells, in extreme cold, while the service was returned to Charing Cross to keep the schedule on time, I witnessed that company’s ineptitude to plan and communicate in adverse conditions.
But I also experienced acts of spontaneous kindness too: the train crews who tried so hard to raise their management but there was none available; particularly conductors from Hastings, one who made cups of tea until supplies ran out; another conductor, Clare, whose concern for passengers knew no bounds and tried so hard to find a solution for the stranded freezing souls; the coach driver from Hastings who arrived after a few hours, and braved extreme conditions to drive us back to Hastings, on roads on which I would never have ventured out.
And finally, in my greatest hour of need trying to traverse the length of The Ridge carrying a heavy case, in a blizzard and thick snow, the father and son, out testing their 4x4s, when no one else was out.
They stopped and offered me a lift home.
I salute all the residents of Hastings who did so much to help their fellow man in such trying conditions.