LETTER: There are more options than the Willingdon Chord

I have received good information that despite opposition, the government has made its mind up and adamantly intends to plough ahead with the white elephant known as the Willingdon Chord to knock about 12 minutes off of rail journeys to Ashford International by bypassing Eastbourne.

Of course, with masterful forward planning, over the last few years, track going directly from Polegate to Stone Cross has been taken-up, the land has been sold and built on in places so they’ll have to construct a new one.

This will, of course, cost millions of pounds. These millions will not be recouped by any imagined extra customers (on already packed, two-unit trains) and will cause major inconvenience on anybody wanting to travel to and from Eastbourne.

Plus its construction will cause significant disruption to trains during its building.

This seems to smack of pandering to one impatient person of high influence.

There is one silver lining to this cloud though.

It will make a minuscule difference to the amount of time the gates are down at Hampden Park.

But what about more important things which have needed to happen for quite some time?

Firstly, Eastbourne’s expanded enough to require two new railway stations. Further afield, a new station for Glyne Gap in Bexhill would also be a sensible idea.

An actual rail chord which would prove to be effective would be a Bulverhythe Chord from the east of Bexhill to before Crowhurst on the Hastings-London line.

This would enable trains from Eastbourne and Bexhill to link up to this line to create a valuable direct link to eastern London for the two towns.

Cutting out, for some people, quite some time travelling across central London or changing at Hastings or St Leonards.

Of course, an extra train brings us back to problems at Hampden Park crossing.

Development in inconvenient areas constantly puts a fly in the ointment in plans for any flyover which will be of real use to people who regularly use the crossing.

I can imagine that this could take some time to create anyway so during the meantime, what about a Hampden Park rail tunnel which express trains could use to bypass Hampden Park without using the crossing?

This could considerably reduce waiting times between Mountfield Road and Brassey Avenue.

Other people have came up with the idea of moving platform one at Hampden Park station to the north of the level crossing meaning that cars won’t have to wait until stopping trains for London, Hastings and Brighton have dropped off passengers.

Unlike the Willingdon Chord, I feel that these are sensible possible solutions to local rail problems and therefore I doubt if any of them would be considered.

Maybe though, if I put these ideas across in the most stupid, wasteful, expensive ways I can think of, the government may actually consider it!

Dave Poole

Penhurst Close