I notice from Today’s Saturday Observer that Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells has met with Chris Burchell, Managing Director of Southern Trains, over plans to scrap the service from both Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells to Gatwick.
In an age where rail fares to some destinations are almost as expensive as taking a taxi; where the cleaniness of carriages is little better at the beginning of the day than on the last train; and where decent fare-paying passengers are herded like cattle into overcrowded outdated rolling stock, to begin pulling airport services from commuter areas like this is beyond the pale.
It’s bad enough that facilities at many of our rural stations are non existent – visit many smaller branch stations and you’ll find the ticket office shut, the public conveniences locked and the only appearance of human contact is a system of computer-operated voice loops which from time to time tell you that if you leave your bag unattended, it may be removed for security purposes.
Who would do that then? A virtual Station Manager?
This Government has presided over a slow, painful and embarrassing decomposition of our once-great national rail system. I applaud Greg Clark for fighting to save the important routes, but this issue is only the tip of the iceberg.