HS1 edges closer in budget

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Hidden in the depths of the Government’s budget documents is a reference to High Speed One (HS1) coming to Rye, which says “The Department of Transport has asked the rail industry to include extending HS1 services to Hastings and Rye in the forthcoming Kent Route Study”.

The “outputs from this study will be presented to the government for consideration in 2016, with a view to this work being an option for funding after 2019”. However, the government is also extending “the scope of the Lewes-Uckfield study to look at improving rail links between London and the south coast, including upgrades to existing routes”. Uckfield has benefitted from additional diesel rolling stock recently, though Rye did not.

As these are paragraphs 1.327 and 1.328 in the “Summer Budget 2015” document, they may not seem to have a high priority  and “an option for funding after 2019” seems a long way off. But this section on the South East does start by saying “The Government is backing the South East and the South Coast with its strengths including tourism and enterprise” and “critical to supporting the South East and South Coast is investment in infrastructure”.

As that includes commuters coming into London, improvements in rail links elsewhere, including “upgrades to existing routes”, may therefore help Rye in the shorter term if the result is more diesel units for the coastal route – even if HS1 and electrification of the route seems distant, and possibly not until after the next general election.