Pevensey MP, Huw Merriman, is backing proposals for more rail services in their response to the GTR timetable consultation for 2018.
As part of the 2018 timetable consultation for Southern Rail services, GTR submitted proposals to increase capacity and alleviate over-crowding between Brighton and Hastings. However, their proposals meant that passengers travelling on Southern’s services through Hastings towards Ashford or Eastbourne would have to change trains at Hastings. Both Mr Merriman along with the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, who represents Hastings, and rail user groups were concerned about losing the direct link to Ashford which connects to the HS1 services to London St Pancras used by many commuters.
Following detailed discussions and meetings with rail user groups and GTR representatives, the MPs have put their full support behind an alternative proposal submitted by the rail user groups which would increase capacity and retain a direct service. The proposal would result in four trains per hour between Eastbourne and Hastings, compared to the current three, which would include a two-car diesel shuttle between Eastbourne and Ashford for passengers wanting a direct service.
In a joint statement Huw and Amber said, “We are encouraged that GTR's timetabling team, in discussions with us, have indicated their support for the option which truncates at Eastbourne and delivers a fourth hourly service for our constituents without the need to change trains at Hastings. We are also encouraged that GTR have produced a revised timetable which would allow a faster journey to London St Pancras as a result of these changes. This proposal has clear benefits which we will work with GTR to help deliver for our communities and we congratulate the hard work and dedication of our local rail user groups who produced it.”