HS1 rail lobbying

An HS1 service leaves St Pancras for Ashford and beyond

A message to businesses in Hastings and Rye.

Many of you will know we work closely with a range of rail lobbying groups (notably in association with the Bexhill Rail Action Group and Kent and Sussex Connect) focussing on connecting the area to HS1 via Ashford and delivering high speed travel direct into the capital.

With the chancellor of the exchequer having written to secretaries of state earlier this month to launch this year’s spending review, please find below a link to the template lobbying letter to government making the case for support of this proposal. The template has been finalised by the offices of Sally-Ann Hart MP and Huw Merriman MP, for you to send to the email addresses below, as soon as you can.

These names / addresses have been provided by Sally-Ann Hart’s office, who have taken the lead on this letter. For this reason, the letter should not be changed and your covering email should be headed “Delivering High Speed Rail”. You will see that there is space on page 2 for you to include anything about your business relevant to the project.

We encourage as many of you as possible to join us in lobbying the government for this game changing project, so as to create as much awareness and ‘noise’ as possible with these key decision makers. Every letter genuinely counts, so the more we send the more it will register with them, and constituency letters from local businesses and organisations really do get noticed.

Thank you in advance of your support.

Click here for Template Lobbying Letter

Email subject to use: Delivering High Speed Rail

Email addresses to send to:


CCs should be sent to:

Image Credits: Rye News library .


  1. Bringing high speed rail services to Rye is a mixed bag of cost and opportunities. For one, “high speed” is a bit of a misnomer as anyone who has taken a high speed train from/to Dover or Canterbury from London knows (high speed only begins at Ashford). There has been no serious public consultation about the financial and environmental costs of this project nor serious public discussion about other alternatives. For example, why not add a second track from Ashford to St Leonard’s (I believe there are two tracks in place from St Leonard’s) allowing additional services instead of a very expensive high speed service? Running trains later at night would allow people to attend events and venues in Hastings and perhaps Brighton, in addition to London; this seems more advantageous than a high speed link and at less cost.

    And a thorny social and economic issue that stirs up but begs discussion: making it easier to get to London will have what impact on this area? Higher housing prices, more likelihood of second home ownership and holiday rentals, all seem likely.

    I propose further public discussion and debate and a referendum on this issue across all communities affected by this significant change to rail services. We had one on the EU so certainly we can have a consultative referendum on this proposal.

    • Agree with you Paul.
      Public consultation needed to hear all communities affected.
      Environmental concerns and financial implications are worthy of debate.

  2. How one must agree with Puul, just dual the Hastings to Ashford line,put trains on later so people can visit venues out of town,without worrying about missing the late train home.As for house prices in Rye out of control, Quadruple the council tax for second home owners.

  3. I would like to hear why someone needs to get from Rye to London and back again quicker than the current travel time ? I do the trip often. Only once in 2 years have I missed the connection at Ashford due to the Eastbourne to Ashford train running a few minutes late. It meant I got to London 20 minutes later than expected. No big deal. No crisis. The current travel time from Rye to London is 66 minutes. How many minutes am I going to knock off the journey by supporting a high speed train ? I suspect it will be minimal. I also find it hard to believe a high speed train will truly pick up speed if it has to stop at Ham St and Appledore and then Rye to Winchelsea. I can see a future where a high speed train will change it’s timetable and not stop at the smaller places. Until someone gives me a valid reason why it’s necessary to knock a few minutes off my/their journey I will not be supporting the upheaval this will cause and the ridiculous costs involved. We are living in the country, appreciate it. Slow down.

  4. What a good idea, let’s duel the track between Hastings and Ashford, why didn’t someone think about that when it was first laid?
    Of course I’m being sarcastic because it was duelled and some bright spark ripped up the second line, anyone who’s in that much of a rush can always drive to Ashford park up and get the train from there.
    So how much Is it going to cost to update what is after all only a branch line which to be honest we’re lucky to still have, how many almost empty trains run up and down in the course of a day.

  5. The benefit wouldn’t be for Rye, it would be for Hastings. It won’t get built though – the numbers don’t stack up and there are better ways to improve local rail services. A second line from Ashford to Hastings would also cost a fortune – probably better to join up some of the existing lines that mean you have to go up to London to go down to Croydon, for example.

  6. “I would like to hear why someone needs to get from Rye to London and back again quicker than the current travel time?”

    Agreed: although a direct train to London would make a huge difference to visitor numbers to the town. Those who do the journey regularly know how easy and well timed the change at Ashford is, but just seeing that two trains are required puts a lot of visitors off.

  7. You are having a laugh, thinking of running HS1 trains late at night through Rye, we have existing trains that sounds there warning hooters at 5-44am 6-39am 6-49am 7-48am and also late at night 10-48pm and 11-48 and having a high speed train adding to it I don’t think so


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