Pressure is increasing for a better rail service on the Uckfield line.
Prospective Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Wealden, Nus Ghani, led a rally yesterday (January 13) of campaigners.
The party left Uckfield station on the delayed 09:34 service to meet the Tory prospective candidate for Tonbridge, Edenbridge and Malling, Tom Tugendhat, who arrived on a late-running southbound service.
Commuters and travellers lives have been thrown into disarray since London Bridge station re-opened after its Christmas closure for building works on January 5.
Services have been disrupted throughout the day because of “congestion” and signal failures. Many trains have been cancelled and some Uckfield services have been terminated at Crowborough.
Southern, which operates the line, has also seen rolling stock failures, leading to services being “short-formed”, which leads to chronic overcrowding.
Passengers have taken to social media to condemn Southern and Network Rail, which controls the infrastructure.
Last Saturday, the UckfieldNews.com blogger, Observer, who writes a weekly comment column, condemned the service as a “total and utter shambles”. See here
Speaking on the platform at Uckfield yesterday Nus Ghani said Southern could not go on apologising day after day.
“The service has been abominable, absolutely terrible.
“We have had delayed trains, trains with short carriages, people unable to get on to the platforms at London Bridge. It has been absolutely chaotic.
“It has just been misery for our commuters,” she said.
There had been a lack of investment on the Uckfield line and the rail companies were failing to communicate with passengers.
“There needs to be a long-term strategy in this area to make sure that trains run smoothly and run on time,” she said.
She and Mr Tugendhat called on Network Rail to invest in the line.
Among those joining Ms Ghani at the meeting at Crowborough were Brian Hart, from Uckfield, the Wealden line campaigner and promoter of the BML2 project; Chris Page from Railfuture; Barry Marlowe, from Buxted, of the Wealden Bus Alliance; and Cllr Michael Lunn, who represents Uckfield North on Wealden District Council and who plans to stand in the Buxted ward at the next election.
They were “waved on their way” from Uckfield by Cllr Claire Dowling, Uckfield county councillor and Wealden councillor for central ward, and town deputy mayor, Cllr Jeremy Hallett.
*The train which the campaigners caught was 16 minutes late arriving in Uckfield.