Pas­sen­gers fight to save Lon­don to Brighton trains

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sam Len­non slen­non@thek­m­group.co.uk

A FIGHT is on to save Ash­ford to Brighton trains from cut­backs.

South­ern Rail­way is plan­ning to end the di­rect route be­tween the two towns to pro­vide ex­tra car­riages for over­crowded parts of their rail net­work else­where.

Pas­sen­gers go­ing be­tween the two sta­tions would have to change at East­bourne.

Mem­bers of Ash­ford’s Joint Trans­porta­tion Board (JTB) be­lieve the ser­vice should be kept be­cause Ash­ford is now a hub for both high speed and Eurostar ser­vices.

They also ar­gued that jour­ney times would take longer with chang­ing trains.

Cllr El­iz­a­beth Tweed (Con) told the JTB meet­ing: “I see this as the thin end of a rather big wedge. “

Cllr Bernard Heyes (Con) said: “You would have a big gap be­tween chang­ing trains.”

Cllr Heyes had al­ready met South­ern Rail­way bosses and pointed out that Ash­ford to East- bourne would be­come a slower ser­vice be­cause of the ex­tra stops. He be­lieves that Ash­ford pas­sen­gers would lose out.

South­ern Rail­way says that the Hast­ings to Brighton part of the route is se­verely over­crowded and very few pas­sen­gers travel the en­tire dis­tance from Ash­ford to Brighton.

The change would ex­tend twocar trains to four cars and the fre­quency of the ser­vice would be the same but run in dif­fer­ent sec­tions.

The Sec­re­tary of State is ex­pected to make a fi­nal de­ci­sion next spring.

The scheme is un­der con­sul­ta­tion and the JTB agreed to call for the di­rect Ash­ford to Brighton line to be kept.

The Marsh­link train pass­ing through Ap­ple­dore

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