Better train deal on the horizon

The East Sussex Railway Alliance (ESRA) attended the launch of the Govia Thameslink GTR Rail Franchise on Monday September 15.

The new franchise could see trains from the Docklands to Hastings take just 60 minutes with another service from London Kings Cross and St Pancras to Hastings via Ashford taking just 68 minutes.

It covers the Thameslink and Southern services into Sussex and co-founder of ESRA, Ray Chapman hailed the event as the start of “one of the most exciting eras for rail ever.”

The event was attended by Rail Minister Claire Perry and senior management across the rail sector.

The Thameslink service covers the Ashford to Brighton route stopping at Hastings and St Leonards and part of the new plans are to introduce electrification, widening of the lines at key London stations and resignalling which will enable trains from Hastings to get to London quicker.

Mr Chapman said: “We want longer trains to operate while the new electrification of the line takes place.

“There is now every prospect of faster, more capacious trains providing more comfort and frequency between the South Coast and London.”

The launch follows on from the rail summit in Hastings in March attended by the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin and organised by Hastings & Rye MP Amber Rudd.

Ms Rudd wants to bring forward the timetable on improvements to the Hastings service and it is hoped that Rail Minister, Claire Perry, will support this and it will be discussed when Perry comes for a meeting planned for January.