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Commuters celebrate after Network Rail U-turn

Yolanda Laybourne of the Hawkhurst Community Partnership
Yolanda Laybourne of the Hawkhurst Community Partnership

Kent commuters to the City can breathe a little easier after Network Rail reversed a decision to scrap their morning train.

Rail chiefs originally announced proposals to terminate the Hastings to Cannon Street service through Tunbridge Wells at London Bridge back in 2009.

But Yolanda Laybourne of the Hawkhurst Community Partnership which spearheaded the campaign said: “There was uproar. That service really is a lifeline for many people to reach their jobs in the city.”

Commuters in the Weald often travel to stations at Echingham, Frant, Stangate and Wadhurst to catch the service.

The partnership petitioned businesses in the area and urged them to contact Network Rail, MPs and local authorities to protest against the change.

Mrs Laybourne said: “Private-sector businesses along the line were swift to point out that it could spell economic disaster for the area.”

The partnership worked with Southeastern, who were also keen to keep the service.

Mrs Laybourne added: “It was quite a campaign, over four years, but it was worth it.”

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