Support rallied against plan to scrap morning London train

Published on by Brendan Husebo (author)

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Topic(s): Local News, Local Economy

southeastern train (photo: Brendan Husebo)
southeastern train

Southeastern intend to divert the heavily used 06:39 train from Ore to Cannon Street station towards Charing Cross from January next year to make way for the advancing Thameslink programme.

The train link has long benefited Hastings by linking it to the capital; in 2009, Labour Cllr Jeremy Birch called a potential scrapping of the service ‘detrimental’ to the town and its people.

Conservative MP Amber Rudd is leading the campaign this time by asking locals to sign the Save the 06:39 petition.

Ms Rudd said: “I’m disappointed Southeastern is looking to divert the Cannon Street service to Charing Cross, and I’m campaigning to push the Department for Transport and Southeastern to work together and find a solution.”

Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said: “ It’s true that the planned Thameslink programme does require the withdrawal of a limited number of services that currently go into Cannon Street. However, there is a range of credible ways to do this, a number of which are consistent with Hastings retaining its current services to Cannon Street.”

This is not the first time the service has been threatened to be cut in favour of more Thameslink services. The idea was first raised by Network Rail in 2009, when the council’s outrage put a temporary halt to the idea.

Cllr Matthew Beaver said: "I can imagine the benefits to the residents of Hastings of a journey time to London of under an hour and the ability of people to have a daily journey to and from London would increase the number of people relocating to the area.”

Southeastern’s idea has lasted, as did the idea to reduce the Hastings to Charing Cross service from eight to four carriages.

Ms Rudd said: “I’ve asked the Minister to consider asking Southeastern to introduce a fast train for the benefit of Hastings residents. The stations from Tunbridge to London already have 11 alternative services an hour to get to London; I don’t believe they’d miss this one.”

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