Bid for passengers to use Ashford line to London declined

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The borough council has called on the rail industry to help London-bound commuters who are facing three years of disruption.

Councillor Jeremy Birch, leader of Hastings Borough Council, spoke after a briefing on the implications of the London Bridge closure, which will lead to major changes to the timetable as the London terminal is rebuilt to accommodate the new Thameslink services. He said: “What concerns us is what happens during the three years that the southeastern side of the station is being rebuilt. We were told that trains from Hastings to Waterloo East and Charing Cross cannot call at the station for some 18 months, starting in January. We asked Southeastern if Hastings passengers could travel via the high speed line via Ashford and St Pancras International at no additional cost, which will make it much easier for those travelling to/from the Kings Cross area, who currently change at London Bridge, and for those with onwards Thameslink journeys. But that hasn’t been agreed, which means even more passengers having to travel via Waterloo East.”

Michell Ulyatt, spokeswoman for Southeastern, said: “We’ve worked with the rest of the industry to negotiate an agreement for tickets to be accepted on the Underground, buses and Docklands Light Railway services to ensure passengers can travel at no extra cost during the work. This agreement does not include free travel on our high speed service as passengers on this route pay a premium for their faster journey. We need to balance protecting their interests with helping passengers affected by the London Bridge work. We don’t feel offering use of the high speed service at no extra cost would be appropriate.”