26 February 2010

If it weren't so serious, it would sound comical.

So have you heard the one about the rail passengers who were unable to spend a penny because there were no toilets on their trains in the year 2010? Nor air conditioning on those baking hot days of summer?

Or the one about disabled passengers having to negotiate the level crossing at Hampden Park to swap trains and continue their journey, instead of being able to change at platform level? And this at the busiest level crossing in Europe.

The joke, sadly, is well and truly on Eastbourne and its surrounding communities which face the humiliation of having 30-year-old railway stock literally dumped on them.

Southern Rail says it needs to bring the class 313 suburban units - without toilets or air conditioning - into use to ease overcrowding on peak services.

The old trains are currently in use on overground routes in London. Forgive our cynicism but doesn't it seem that the timetable changes are giving Southern the perfect excuse?

Generously, it talks of "refreshing" the interiors but confesses that this may not happen until late summer.

Pull the other one, Southern. This whole sorry saga smacks of East Sussex again being shunted into the sidelines. An area that was one of the last to be blessed with modern trains, now again being condemned to the dark ages.

What message does that send out to local commuters, businesses and holdaymakers?

What Southern is doing is disgraceful and deserves to be derailed.