Short trains, standing room only to London, services finishing at Crowborough - furious commuters have dubbed Uckfield’s railway link the ‘misery line’.
Some passengers are even driving to Buxted or Crowborough and getting on the southbound service before it heads back to London to ensure they can sit down - meaning no seats for anyone from Uckfield.
Problems with the line have been put down to extensive works at London Bridge station but now campaigners say: “Enough is enough. Why is it always the Uckfield line that suffers?”
Conservative Parliamentary candidates Nus Ghani, (Wealden) and Tom Tugendhat, (Tonbridge and Malling) are putting pressure on Southern Rail and Network Rail. They held a rail rally, travelling from Uckfield to Crowborough on Tuesday this week. They have also held meetings with RailFuture, BML2 and commuters to represent their concerns to both companies.
Nus said: “2015 started with commuters facing chaotic, delayed and cancelled services. Network Rail needs to invest in our local transport needs on the Uckfield Line. We need longer trains for more capacity, improved journey times and increased frequency. Journey times and reliability require electrification, new signalling and investment in double tracks. New carriages have been announced, but we are concerned about the timetable of their delivery onto the tracks.”
Tom said: “The economic future of our country depends on transport networks to get people to work and home again quickly and reliably.”
Travellers say they often find early commuter trains ‘short formed’ due to faulty trains and after earlier services were cancelled, resulting in overcrowding.
East Sussex county cllr Claire Dowling said: “We are of course aiming to get the Uckfield line reinstated southbound but that is way into the future.
“Time and time again when there is a problem it’s the Uckfield line that is hit. To catch up on timetables, trains often stop at Crowborough and bus links are not adequate. It’s just too easy to stop the Uckfield trains when there is a problem. If it doesn’t get better local people will start to make alternative travel arrangements. We want a healthy service and increased numbers using the line. We need guaranteed trains. This must be put right now. Even infrequent users find the service totally inadequate.”