St Leonards and Hastings Rail Improvement (SHRIMP) are concerned at a proposed reduction of rail services to Ore Station by 50% under plans within the recently released Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) 2018 Timetable Consultation.
The proposal by operator Southern, as part of GTR, is to terminate Ore < > Victoria services at Hastings thus leaving only the slow Ore < > Brighton services operating from Ore station, with isolated extra services during the early morning & early evening peak hours.
The consultation suggests that other services could be provided by alternative operator South Eastern Railway (SER) through an extension to it’s Hastings < > Charing Cross services, but that cannot be guaranteed because SER are unable to enter into any discussions due to their own contract being in the throes of renegotiation. Further, in 1986 the predecessors of SER determined that their services would be permanently excluded from Ore.
The deliberate inclusion of this misleading suggestion by GTR means that responders to the consultation are not being given the correct information they should be considering.
The official ORR passenger usage figures for Ore have increased from 22.3k (2004/2005) to 151k (2013/4), with 2016 usage expected to exceed 175k. Whilst this does not make Ore the biggest station on the network, it is nevertheless a steady increase that general rail industry predictions indicate could rise towards 200k within 5 years. It is also very comparable to other stations in the area which are not planned to have a reduction in service provision.
Surely the rail operator should be looking to increase service provision, maybe by adding Ore as a stop on the strategic Brighton < > Ashford service, rather than decreasing it my covert means.
With Ore station serving both an increasing population catchment and the Sussex College site, SHRIMP consider this proposal to be a flawed decision by the operator. Users of Ore station can respond to the consultation at http://www.southernrailway.com/your-journey/timetable-consultation/.
Martin Woodfine ob.o. SHRIMP: We consider this to be a backward step, further reducing the status of Ore despite it being an increasingly used station and a growing community. Services along the East Coastway are being steadily eroded at a time when Hastings transport links are vital to the town’s regeneration. We will resist this proposal.