A solution to Camber’s cars?


The recent traffic and related problems caused by tourists flocking to Camber as they escape the strictures of lockdown call for some out-of-box thinking and Hastings and Rye Liberal Democrats think that one such idea might be the recreation of the Rye and Camber Tramway, the 125th anniversary of which fell on July 13.

The government is seeking to take more cars off of the roads post-Covid-19 and investment in public transport is part of the solution to that. So there is a great opportunity to harness the funding announced by Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, to improve rail and bus connections, and upgrade cycle and walking routes, but more ambitiously – to reinstate the Rye and Camber Tramway.

Tramways also meet some of the challenges of climate change, and would provide much needed local jobs in construction and running the line. If we are looking for infrastructure projects to kickstart the economy after Brexit and Covid-19 the Rye and Camber Tramway could play a part.

The original tramway opened on July 13 1895, 125 years ago, and ran until 1939, when it was taken over for war work for the PLUTO (pipeline under the ocean) project, sending vital supplies to Allied armies after D-Day. After the war it was deemed irrecoverable and closed in 1945.

It ran from a station near the Monkbretton Bridge for about two miles, terminating beside the newly opened Rye Golf Club, and was later extended by about half a mile to Camber Sands.

The pandemic is giving us an ideal opportunity to rethink how we manage tourism and our environment and we can focus our economic development so that it supports our environment rather than prioritise economic development at the expense of our environment.

And perhaps the aspirational goals of the Rye Neighbourhood Plan 2019 should become a deliverable target rather than an aspiration?

Image Credits: Kevin McCarthy .

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  1. Interesting plan as long as there are sufficient, high capacity trains to get visitors to Rye, and that people use them instead of travelling into the area by car. Without that, might we risk transferring the traffic and parking problem from Camber to Rye? Or is there a cunning plan?

  2. There’s the small matter of a: a gravel pit now bisecting the original route and b: the Golf Club on whose land most of the track bed from the Harbour station to Golf Links now runs. Another problem is that the ‘town’ end of the line was the wrong side of the river; passengers would have to walk from the nearest car park and we all know how much they hate that. Just look at the under-use of Gibbet’s Marsh.

    You might be able to re-route the track across the existing rail bridge (which has room for a second track) but then where do you site the town terminus? The obvious place would be the Market Car Park but then you’re losing more parking spaces. This would also entail a level crossing across the A259 – another stumbling block!

  3. Really think a train track to Camber is a non starter, the best solution is park and ride,useing the fields the farmer hires out to the circus, the easiest and best solution for the ongoing Camber gridlock that will never go away, and i am sure the farmer would make plenty of money, during the holiday season, and maybe also be a solution for Ryes parking problems,that awaits us in October.

  4. What a Romantic idea. Unless the rail system from London to rye improves, I feel this is not going to work. One problem solved for camber at the expense of Rye.


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