Train service too popular to last

The formerly elusive 4-carriage train has become this year's norm

Dear Sir,

Rail staff advise me that the direct train to Brighton which has been such a boon cannot be maintained because of overcrowding due to the fact that it only has two carriages.

Why on earth can we not have two extra carriages put in between our two engined carriages?

I am not very technical and know the excuse is that the platforms are too short for a four carriage train, but surely in the great scheme of things extending two or three platforms would not cost the earth and retain the enormous convenience to passengers.

[Editor-in-chief’s note: We have had four carriage trains at peak summer times (as the photo above shows). But not last summer I recall, and only this year once I am told to coincide with the Eastbourne Air Show.

At the heart of the problem is the fact that the line is not electrified between Ashford and Hastings. It could be electrified, or bi-mode (electric and diesel) trains could run over the track which work whether it is electrified or not.

But there are no government funds for either of those plans now, or in the near future. At one time it was suggested that more diesel carriages could come from the Uckfield line if that was electrified. But there are no funds for that either.

However if four coaches could be found for the Eastbourne Air Show why could they not be provided at weekends all this summer, even if they are needed weekdays for Uckfield commuters.

One day recently the Rye platform was so crowded a pram got stuck in a door as the guard could not see what was happening because so many families were getting on and off.

He certainly could not walk through the train as so much luggage was blocking the way, and I nearly got carried on from Hastings because I was unable to get off – and there were no visible platform staff helping mothers with push-chairs and large luggage.

And, as the guard announced, “the next station has a short platform and if you are not in the front carriage, or can not get there, you will have to stay on until Hastings – and get the next one back”.

What a way to run a railway !]


Photo : Rye News Library

Image Credits: J. Minter .


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