MP concerned about shutting train line

AMBER Rudd has joined forces with two other MP’s to raise concerns on how the planned closure of Ore Tunnel in January will affect school children’s train journeys.

Engineering works there are set to effectively shut the rail line between Hastings and Ashford for more than two months from the start of January.

She was seeking answers to questions raised at a public meeting three weeks ago that are still unanswered.

And she has been backed up by Battle and Bexhill MP Gregory Barker and Ashford MP Damian Green.

The three MPs sent a joint letter to Southern Railway’s head of train planning Dave Walker.

Amber said: “I have had several constituents contact me, who are concerned about the amount of school children that will be travelling on the replacement buses.

“They need to consider dedicated children and young people’s buses at key times and they must ensure that there is sufficient capacity at the start and end of the school day.”

Mr Barker said: “This will be very disruptive to my constituents who commute via Ashford, it is essential that everything is done to ensure that the line is closed for as short a period as possible.”

The MPs also asked Southern to consider compensation for season ticket holders, to acknowledge the enormous disruption that travellers will endure.

Amber says in the letter: “When asked about the number of people working on the Ore Tunnel nobody seemed to know how many shifts were to be in use.

“The disruption of nine weeks is extremely long. Could more shifts not be used to reduce the duration of the closure?

“There is much concern regarding the number of children travelling on buses. Has a dedicated children’s or young people’s bus been considered at key times?”