Bexhill rail action group welcomes station changes

Bexhill Rail Action Group has welcomed planned improvements to rail services and Bexhill station as part of changes to the running of local rail services that recently came into effect.

The new Thameslink Southern Great Northern (TSGN) franchise, which began on September 14, unifies services north and south of the Thames operated by Southern and First Capital Connect. The Southern brand will continue to operate as before at stations and on local trains.

Bexhill Rail Action Group (BRAG) committee members attended a meeting with the new management team, and were told about planned innovations. These include: The installation of ticket gates at Bexhill station by April 2016; First to Last Train staffing at Bexhill by July 2016; Modest improvements in journey times on some services to Victoria.

BRAG Treasurer Yolanda Laybourne said: “We are delighted by this commitment to Bexhill station, which has recorded increasing volumes of passengers and is one of the main gateways to the town. Passengers always feel re-assured by the presence of staff, while the installation of ticket gates will send an unambiguous message to fare evaders and other anti-social elements that they are not welcome here.”

BRAG has campaigned tirelessly for shorter journey times to London and Chairman Hugh Sharp said they are pleased that improvements are planned: “It simply is not good enough for Bexhill passengers to put up with 2 hour journeys - often made longer by delays on the over-crowded Brighton Main Line. It is good to hear that Southern propose to make improvements on some off peak services from December 2015, but as yet we do not know what they have in mind. BRAG will be closely involved with the consultation process this autumn - and ready to make counter proposals if Southern’s plans fall short of our reasonable expectations.”

He added: “We have been re-assured that there are no plans to introduce further time restrictions on the use of off-peak tickets on homebound train services in the evening rush-hour, which has happened elsewhere. Together with the announcement earlier this month that fare rises next year are to be capped in line with inflation, this provides some comfort to local rail users.”

For information on BRAG visit the website at: www.bexhillrailaction.org.uk