Rail meeting in Rye – Amber Rudd’s comments

Here is a copy of our MP’s latest missive. She seems quite optimistic about the future of local rail. We shall see. By the way you can spot John, Stuart and myself in this picture which was taken by Ray Prewer so we were well represented!

Extending High Speed Rail to Rye, Hastings & Bexhill

Over the last few weeks there has been some real progress on my three main rail campaigns – working towards bringing High Speed Rail to our area, boosting capacity on the Marsh Link line, and improving connections between the Hastings campus and the rest of the University of Brighton.

Last week the Chancellor of the Exchequer reiterated his support for the extension of High Speed Rail to Rye, Hastings and Bexhill. This scheme will be assessed next year in Network Rail’s Kent Route Study. This will help inform the decision on funding from 2019.

To secure the necessary investment for an extension, it is vital for us all to make the case to government on the immense benefits this upgraded rail service will bring to our area. To this end, I am in the early stages of setting up a working group on High Speed Rail. This will be composed of local MPs, councillors, council officers, campaigners, and other rail and business leaders. The purpose of this group will be to speak on your behalf with a loud and clear voice to those who will make the decision on the project.

On Friday I attended the AGM of the Marsh Link Community Rail Partnership which is doing great work towards service improvements on the Ashford to Brighton line.

Services are often overcrowded and I am in contact with the Department for Transport and GTR – which operates Southern services – on what can be done to increase capacity on the line.

Similarly, I am pushing the Department for Transport and GTR to extend the scope of their Unizone product to Hastings. This ticket enables University of Brighton students who need to commute between its campuses to receive discounted train travel – but, currently, it does not include the Hastings campus.

I have met with representatives of the University, its Students’ Union and its student body, and I fully recognise their concerns that this inflicts an unfair cost on Hastings students which is not born by the rest of the University, and that it inhibits the growth of the University in Hastings.

Rail is vital in linking our area together and providing the connections wider afield to enable growth. These three projects are key examples of this, and I will keep you updated on their progress.

Best wishes,

Amber

Amber Rudd
MP for Hastings & Rye

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