Call for better train service in Cooksbridge

The worst service apart from Pevensey Bay? Cooksbridge Station where residents want an hourly service.
The worst service apart from Pevensey Bay? Cooksbridge Station where residents want an hourly service.

Residents and politicians are calling for an hourly train service in Cooksbridge, enabling residents to travel to work by train and use it for leisure activities.

At present the trains in the village are so infrequent residents often have to drive to other train stations.

Southern Railway said a 12 week consultation into the December 2015 timetable had now closed and would be presented to the Department of Transport with its findings.

Cooksbridge Station Partnership chairperson Ian Ginn: “The lack of off-peak services is immensely frustrating for local residents, leading to many unnecessary journeys to other local stations, as well as putting off some potential travellers altogether.

“It is quite wrong that Southern currently sees fit to provide Cooksbridge with the worst service in the region apart from Pevensey Bay, even though the area is expanding and traveller numbers are increasing.

“The overhaul of the timetable is a major opportunity for Southern to now give Cooksbridge the service it needs.”

The Cooksbridge Station Partnership submitted a 125 page dossier to GTR Southern arguing for an hourly service, seven days a week.

Southern has been consulting about major changes to the December 2015 timetable. including plans for fast and stopping services to and from Lewes each hour.

The fast service will save five minutes on the existing journey time from Lewes, while the stopping service will call at Wivelsfield and Plumpton.

The community is calling for the slower train to stop at Cooksbridge.

Lewes MP Norman Baker said: “I am impressed by the strong case that Cooksbridge Station Partnership has put together. I pushed the case for improvements when I recently met key people from Southern, including their timetable planner, along with the Partnership’s representatives.

“I am meeting Southern’s top man David Scorey and his chief timetable planner again next week to discuss a range of issues affecting my constituency, including this one.

“It is in my view both desirable and perfectly possible to instigate an hourly service for Cooksbridge and I shall be reiterating this point next week.”

Almost 50 residents have written letters in support of a better train service in the village. It also has backing from Hamsey Parish Council, Hamsey Community Primary School, the South Downs National Park Authority. Conservative Candidate Maria Caulfield, Cllr Rosalyn St Pierre and Cllr Susan Murray.

See letters page 28