Station deserves better from us

Ore station is the terminating / starting station for many Southern services, including all the stopping Brighton services and the majority of the London Victoria services.

It is also a partly-served station on the strategic Brighton to Ashford service.

There can be no denying that the station fell into considerable disrepair during the 1970s to 1990s and whilst a number of improvements have been made in recent years, notably to the standard and number of security cameras, Ore station is still very much a work-in-progress.

However, in the last decade there has been considerable development around the station, including a residential estate, a fully operational college facility and renewed employment areas.

Perhaps this gives the opportunity for the closed access path to the westbound platform to be reopened, thus negating a long diversionary walking route for residents on the Halton side of the station.

The official ORR passenger usage figures have increased from 22,300(2004/2005) to 151,000 (2013/4).

Whilst this does not make Ore the biggest station on the network, indeed it is classified as F2 (small unstaffed), it is a very notable increase that general rail industry predictions indicate could rise towards 200,000 within five years.

These figures are not guaranteed to be accurate because there is no ticket-sales data-source to determine them.

Indeed, Campaign for Better Transport estimates, albeit only by extrapolating a passenger count, that the true figure is already approaching that 200,000 milestone.

The station itself has no disabled access to the westbound platform ie towards, Hastings, Eastbourne, Brighton, Gatwick, London Victoria.

Per National Rail Enquiries information, the station has neither a ticket office or ticket vending machine, although Southern have given an indication that the latter is due to be addressed during 2016.

The general appearance of the station infrastructure is weather-beaten.

Whilst there is a purpose-built bus-stop and turning circle, only official Rail Replacement buses use it; local routes pass by but do not call. That is a waste of that facility.

Our understanding, from Hastings Borough Council, is that further development of the site was intended as part of the national Millennium Development schemes, but that fell away mid-project and no developer has shown an interest since.

There was a parallel plan for Southern to upgrade the station into a local transport hub, but that also failed to progress.

Southern is now operating a management contract, wherein they receive no direct fare-revenue (it all goes to DfT), so there appears to be little incentive for them to undertake any level of upgrade.

Maybe this is a circle; Southern feel there is no business case for upgrading the station, whilst potential developers and other transport providers see the existing station as a negative feature.

It is a complex situation, but that does not mean that nothing can or should be done.

Another important factor is the proposal to extend (SouthEastern) HS1 services from St Pancras via Ashford to Hastings and Bexhill, via Ore, in the early 2020s.

Whilst the detail of the associated infrastructure upgrades is yet to be finalised, there is a possibility that these services will need to call at Ore Station.

Ore Station has become and is continuing to develop into a key station within the local transport network.

It deserves better infrastructure.

There is the potential for this station to become a thriving, central, attractive transport hub.

Martin Woodfine


St Leonards and Hastings Rail Improvement

p/o East Sussex Rail Alliance

Affiliated to RailFuture


Hastings Access, Transport Regeneration, Intermodal Connectivity

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