Seaford’s petition plea for end to rail misery

Protesters outside Seaford Railway Station last month. Picture by Adam Powney
Protesters outside Seaford Railway Station last month. Picture by Adam Powney

Local residents are calling on Chris Grayling MP to take action as there are still only a handful of Seaford-Brighton train services running despite the fact that Southern Rail’s ‘emergency timetable’ was supposed to end on August 7.

Protest organisers are due to deliver the nearly 2,000-strong petition to the Department for Transport tomorrow (Tuesday, August 23) in the hope that the Government will start standing up for their interests.

The Government allowed Southern to bring in the ‘emergency timetable’ cutting 81 per cent of services for a planned four-six weeks from July 11 as a result of industrial action. Around 2,000 people lined the streets of Seaford to protest against this timetable, but there has been no announcement about the reinstatement of the usual half-hourly train service.

Residents of Seaford, Newhaven, Bishopstone and Denton say the service cuts are having a devastating impact on the local economy, tourism and road traffic. Football fans can’t get to Brighton and Hove Albion and walkers can’t get to the iconic Seven Sisters. They said things are set to get worse with people returning from summer holidays in the next few weeks. Those commuting to work and college in Lewes/Brighton/London will all be affected, as will many staff at the Brighton universities.

Protest organiser, commuter and mum Fiona Lewis, 37, said, “We want to send a clear message that Chris Grayling and the Department for Transport can’t keep passing the buck to Southern Rail or blaming the RMT. This situation is affecting the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people and suffocating our local economies.

“People move here because of the great rail links to Brighton/Lewes/London. We can’t choose to use a different train service: we are stuck with the expensive, inadequate and sometimes non-existent services that Southern Rail deigns to provide. The Department for Transport either needs to make things work with Govia or bring in a new train operating company and ensure that this can never happen again.”

Protest organiser and student George Taylor, 16, said, “This can’t go on. My education is on the line. Neither I nor my fellow students can pass any subject if we can’t get to college. As a young person not being able to get the train limits my independence and makes every day of my life difficult.”

To sign the petition visit www.change.org (search for ‘Seaford and Newhaven trains’).

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