For the last fifteen years THWART (Three Oaks and Winchelsea Action for Rail Transport) has campaigned for a usable train service at these two small stations following near closure in 2005. With the help of our local MPs one retired and one very much in evidence, the Sussex Community Rail Partnership, Southern Railways and other train user groups, there has been a gradual improvement in train services. This has required that we as volunteers continue to attend multiple meetings.
THWART and other rail groups continue to gently push for a better balance of times of trains calling at either or both stations to help schoolchildren and commuters.
In addition, to make the stations more attractive to passengers, station lighting has been massively improved and Southern is helping to keep the structures such as fencing, clock, noticeboards and the platforms information devices in good working order.
Southern has a marvellous gentleman who helps look after all of these things and more, for example when he helped us replace old planters recently on Winchelsea station.
New ticketing machines have also been installed.
Working with Southern, volunteers have at Three Oaks put up some eye-catching artwork from Guestling Bradshaw school in the shelter on the station platform. Similarly St. Thomas’ school, Winchelsea have done its bit following a competition across all age groups. Do come and look!
But perhaps the most obvious, recent development has been the new tarmac surface of the small car park at Winchelsea station. We are indebted to Andrew Woods of Network Rail who found a way to fund the improvement to the rough cratered surface of that area (see before and after photos). Due to his efforts and those who did the hard ground work we now have a first class facility with marked parking bays including one for the disabled who can now access the only platform at Winchelsea directly from the road.
In Three Oaks there is no other form of public transport, and in Winchelsea tourism is a feature with the station on the “Sustrans” national cycle route and both stations connect directly to the 1066 footpath.
The object of this hard work at both stations, has been to keep them open for passengers and to try to secure their future. We now hope residents and visitors alike will enjoy the results of our efforts as volunteers and the companies and organisations supporting us.
Let’s hope this translates into increased numbers of passengers using the trains to and from our smaller stations.
Image Credits: John Spencer .