Where has cash from fares gone?

Bexhill Observer letters
Bexhill Observer letters

From: M Chawner, Reginald Road, Bexhill

If Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, really thinks that “money from fares pays to run and improve the railway, making journeys better, boosting the economy...”, why is it that:

• More than 20 years on from the opening of the Channel Tunnel, and subsequent more recent opening of the high speed rail link between Ashford and London, do we still have a single, unelectrified track from Hastings (Ore) to Ashford.

• Southern are proposing to split the Brighton-Ashford journey at Hastings in their 2018 timetable.

• Journeys between Bexhill and London Victoria are, according to your report on p7 of last week’s Observer, “at least 2 hours 20 minutes” – and will be increased by a further 10 minutes in the 2018 timetable.

• Journey times between Bexhill and Victoria have increased rather than got ‘quicker’ over the past 14 years?

I believe that France built its high speed track from the Channel Tunnel when the tunnel was being built; I still remember the days of seeing Eurostar trains waiting to enter the approaches to Waterloo station, having had to travel at normal speeds up from Kent – and only now some 10 years after being vacated by Eurostar is anything being done with those platforms it used at Waterloo.

Given that a number of proposed rail projects were recently shelved or “put on hold” I doubt whether our corner of the world will be seeing any marked improvements soon.

I did recently write to Huw Merriman MP to urge that Southern does not implement any fare increases at all, given that the problems attributed to recent industrial actions were rife quite some time beforehand.