OUT IN THE FIELD: Time to get trains back on track

Bob Hammond was the first runner back for St Wilfrid's in the Half Marathon
Bob Hammond was the first runner back for St Wilfrid's in the Half Marathon

Many moons ago I travelled on a train in deepest Malaysia, crammed in with goats, cattle, and people moving half of their possessions. In later years I have come to realise that catching the commuter train from Victoria to Eastbourne of an evening is a similar experience: standing room only, annoying delays and disruptions, overcrowding, nobody telling you what’s going on and a tired and frustrating journey. There’s little doubt that passengers deserve faster, cleaner and less crowded services but faster trains is nothing more of a pipe dream and even if it did happen between Eastbourne and London, only a few minutes would be shaved off the journey time and passengers further up the line would suffer. What would be a good starting point is increased capacity and more carriages. The Victoria to Eastbourne and Littlehampton train is often just eight carriages with four heavily laden ones going to Eastbourne and the rest, hardly occupied so it would seem, along the coast. And this is before the season really gets underway with the foreign language students heading backwards and forwards to London and holidaymakers.

Having run a half-marathon only once in my life, and being firmly of the opinion you should only run to make last orders at the bar, I have the greatest admiration for those who do so on a regular basis especially in aid of charity. So well done to all those who took part in last week’s Eastbourne Half Marathon, especially Eastbourne estate agent Bob Hammond, who raised almost £3,000 in sponsorship for St Wilfrid’s in memory of the lovely William Hanmer who passed away earlier this year.

It’s almost time to bid farewell to Eastbourne council’s head of regeneration Jeff Collard who retires soon after 25 years, having overseen major projects such as the town centre redevelopment and plans for Devonshire Park transformation.

Good luck Jeff.