Out in the Field with chief reporter Annemarie Field: Words guaranteed to strike horror into the hearts of rail travellers

THERE are a few words guaranteed to strike horror into the hearts of rail travellers (well, apart from finding there are no toilets on the train when your four-year-old needs the loo!) – bus replacement service.

You’ve just had a lovely day out in London or Brighton, you get to the station to make your way home and, horror of horrors, there’s engineering work on the line and stations and lines between Three Bridges and Lewes, or Berwick and Eastbourne, are closed.

It happened to me last weekend on the return journey from London. We arrived in Three Bridges late at night, were herded on to buses like sheep and waited. And waited.

I asked a man in a bright orange jacket what was going on. “Haven’t a clue, love,” he said. “They could be working on the line somewhere or painting a station.”

We then had a lengthy debate (well, we had plenty of time) as to why it happens virtually every other weekend and why it can’t be done during the week.

I came up with what I thought was a good compromise for all those rail users who are totally hacked off with hopping from train to bus to train.

Why not, when there are engineering works and bus replacement service, only charge half price for the tickets?

After all we’re getting half a service aren’t we? No doubt, there’ll be white blackbirds before that ever happens.

And on the subject of trains and the possibility of there being no toilets, what do rail bosses expect us to do if we need the lavatory?


I DO feel sorry for the residents of Polegate, Wannock and Filching whose roads are likely to be turned into highways for huge rubble filled lorries if plans to fill in the disused Filching Quarry, near Filching Manor, are given the go-ahead.

It’s a horrible, narrow, bendy road up to Filching, and residents are rightly worried about their quality of life if heavy goods vehicles are rumbling past their homes six days a week for the next five years.

However, it does seem to be a case of being caught between a rock and a hard place, as the quarry has been closed for the last 21 years because it’s too dangerous.

All it needs is for someone to have an accident there, and then there will be anger and questions asked as to why it was never filled-in years before.


SAD news this week that homeless man – and one of Eastbourne’s characters – Alan Walker died alone in a shop doorway in Portsmouth.

The poor guy, who never used to cause anyone any trouble as he sat outside the Arndale Centre, took it quite literally when police officers told him to move on, packed up his bags and got the coastal train to Portsmouth.

He wasn’t a beggar, a drunk or a nuisance. And had he stayed in Eastbourne, perhaps the agencies which had worked so hard with him would have noticed he was unwell and he wouldn’t have needlessly died alone in a shop doorway miles away from what was the only home he had.