Bexhill rail campaigners hail ‘extraordinary year’ in 2015 review

Bexhill Rail Action Group chairman Hugh Sharp
Bexhill Rail Action Group chairman Hugh Sharp
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Rail campaigners are celebrating a successful year full of highlights in improving the train links to Bexhill.

The Bexhill Rail Action Group’s (BRAG) latest newsletter reflects on 2015 and points out a number of victories such as developments over HS1 coming to Bexhill.

Other achievements include pressuring Stagecoach to allow train tickets during unexpected delays and getting the ticket machines to accept the new five and ten pence pieces.

Chairman Hugh Sharp said 2015 had been an ‘extraordinary year for BRAG and all fellow rail user groups’.

“When I joined BRAG in 2008 we were energetically defending Bexhill’s existing rail services and seeking modest improvements,” he wrote.

“I would never have guessed that in 2015 we would - to the west - be in close discussions with Gatwick Airport to explore how their expansion plans could improve rail links to the south coast.

And - to the east - be part of the driving force to connect Bexhill to St Pancras by high speed trains in something like 78 minutes.

“ So let’s see what we can achieve in the next seven years.”

BRAG has drawn up a lobbying letter in favour of bringing high-speed trains to Bexhill which people can send to Parliament and Network Rail to keep the pressure up.

To get one, email bexrag@yahoo.co.uk.

BRAG member Yolanda Laybourne reflected on the apparently improved situation at Bexhill station with steadier staff levels and fewer ticket office closures.

She said this may be partly down to the outcry after Southern unexpectedly closed the office in June, leaving the cafe in charge.

BRAG have been in talks with the Airports Commission and Network Rail over potential improvements to the Brighton mainline if the Gatwick Airport is granted.

Another highlight was Metrobus early bird 380 bus service launch in April, provided two overnight connections between 1066 country and Gatwick.

The group look forward to the upcoming rail summit organised by Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd and their next meeting at Hastings Direct at 7pm on January 11.

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