As all the regular commuters from Rye know, the great news is that the peak journey time from Rye to London St Pancras has been reduced since the timetable changes last week. This is due to the additional High Speed services South Eastern is running from Ashford to London St Pancras leading to reduced transfer times at Ashford.
Unfortunately, this was over-shadowed by the terrible performance of the Rye shuttle peak services at the same time. The Rye shuttle is the train which travels back and forth between Rye and Ashford providing the 06:08, 07:06 and 08:14 in the morning and the 18:00, 19:02 and 20:00 services from Ashford in the evening. A number of Rye shuttle trains were cancelled due to the ongoing problem of there not being enough diesel trains for the Marshlink and Uckfield lines. This came to a head when one of the diesel trains hit a tree on the Uckfield line.
To try and raise awareness of the problems the commuters on the Marshlink line were experiencing, I have created a twitter account called @marshlinetrains. To give a voice to any issues and problems the commuters were having on the line – like, for example, the 06:08 not arriving at Ashford on time, meaning that the shuttle passengers on that train missed the new 06:36 connecting high-speed service.
It was through this that Amber Rudd’s team picked up on the problems we were having. Rye’s MP and her team raised this with Southern and were able to get it to work two weekends ago to get as many diesel trains fixed as possible. This led to a normal service last week.
Rudd is also raising the lack of diesel trains on the Marshlink and Uckfield lines with the Department of Transport. I am hoping that there will be some form of announcement about a permanent fix to this problem at her so-called rail summit on January 30, details of which can be found here.
If you have time I would suggest you attend. I have also asked Rother Council to move the coach parking from the station car park to another location. This would give residents, visitors and commuters many more car parking spaces near the town centre. This is urgently needed as we all know the lack of parking that occurs in Rye on Thursdays when the market is running. As per my previous articles.
I believe this is the only viable solution as I cannot see anyone paying the cool £5 million price tag for the old Sainsbury’s site for additional town parking. Please follow @marshlinktrains and Rye News for any further developments. All comments and suggestions are welcome.
Photos: Tony Nunn