A faster train service to London’s Charing Cross launches on Monday (January 12).
After campaigning by MP Amber Rudd and local residents, the first ever ‘Hastings Express’ will run at 08.04, covering the journey in just 90 minutes.
This service will be stopping at less stations on the way to London Charing Cross and only be calling at St Leonards Warrior Square, Battle, Tunbridge Wells, High Brooms and Waterloo East.
There will be an additional return journey at 16.20 from Charing Cross to Hastings, calling at Waterloo East, High Brooms, Tunbridge Wells, Battle and St Leonards Warrior Square.
Ms Rudd said: “I am delighted that the new Hastings Express is being launched this week. This will not only ensure a quicker and much more reliable journey between Hastings and London, but it will also have a fundamental effect on the economic growth of the local area.
“I am grateful that the Department for Transport has listened to the pleas of so many Hastings residents and campaigners and accepted the need for a Hastings Express service in the new franchise this year. I’d like to thank all those who have helped me to achieve this, including the rail groups SHRIMP and ESRA. They have shown years of dedication to this cause and without them this wouldn’t have been possible. Hastings to London commuters who currently travel on the 07.44 or 08.14 services to London can now cut their journey time by 23 minutes. Likewise, homebound commuters who usually catch the 16.15 train from London to Hastings can now leave five minutes later and be back home 17 minutes earlier. Additionally, Hastings to Tunbridge Wells commuters can now leave the house 20 minutes later to catch the Hastings Express and still be in the office before 9am.”
Ray Chapman, from East Sussex Rail Alliance, said: “This is an historic announcement as we believe it to be the first time that there has been a scheduled daily express to London. Along with planned infrastructure upgrades on other routes, this signifies a determination for Hastings to receive the rail services it requires to compete with other regional transport hubs.”
Ms Rudd added: “This news is not the end and I continue to be ambitious for our success. I am inviting all residents who are interested to attend my second Rail Summit on January 30.” People can register their interest and confirm attendance at http://amberrudd.co.uk/railsummit/.