A Javelin joyride at slow speed

Taking travellers by surprise: a Javelin sits in Hastings station

A sight to remember: a Javelin train arrived at Hastings station for the very first time. After the rail summit last week [Jan 30] attendees were invited to climb on board. Ironically, the train could not be demonstrated on the proposed route between Hastings and Ashford via Rye because the track hasn’t been electrified yet, so it headed out to Eastbourne and back instead. Prior to departure, the bigwigs posed for official photographs and took television interviews alongside the train, while those who wished were able to visit the driver’s cab and see the view of the train’s controls and track ahead.

Inside, the Javelin carriages were spacious and comfortable but otherwise unremarkable. The train pulled out effortlessly from Hastings station, but no demonstration of its rapid acceleration or anything approaching its top speed was going to be possible. In fact, it was probably not allowed to travel at more than 60mph on this line and, almost inevitably, it had to stop for some time as it caught up with a local train ahead of it, near Bexhill station. But the demonstration was enough to show how smoothly and quietly the Javelin could progress.

Resuming its journey out from Bexhill, the Javelin headed towards Pevensey, passing over various level crossings. The waiting road users must have reacted with some amazement as this sleek, deep blue and yellow train crossed in front of them in the bright winter sunshine, instead of a more typical green and yellow local unit.

The Javelin soon arrived in Eastbourne, where it remained for just a few minutes. Then it returned to Hastings, stopping in Bexhill station where passengers were able to disembark for a time. During the journey the MP and various delegates from the summit walked up and down the carriages answering questions. The journey was offered for free, but passengers were invited to donate to the Royal British Legion fund – the lead carriage was decorated with red poppy logos and a Victoria Cross. More than £200 was raised for the charity.

Photo: Nick Taylor