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Rother Valley Railway - important update

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Old 13th May 2018, 22:16
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Rother Valley Railway - important update

This is a little late in posting here, but the Rother Valley Railway have taken the next step in restoring the "missing link" of the Kent & East Sussex Railway.
On 19th April, the application for the Transport Works Act Order was submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport - the granting of this order would pave the way for the restoration of track between Northbridge Street, Robertsbridge and the current K&ESR railhead at Junction Road. The order would allow the RVR to do anything necessary to restore the track - in this case this includes all necessary works to install 3 level crossings and also compulsory purchase order powers in relation to 2 sections of former trackbed which the land owners (farmers) do not want to sell.
The Rother Valley Railway has been supported by Network Rail, the National Trust, local tourism agencies, Rother District Council and local MPs.
However, there is some vociferous opposition from the farmers & there supporters, as they say having the railway crossing there land would leave them with unworkable strips of land - this is despite the fact that the railway has been there before (with which the previous farmers managed to find workable solutions) and that there are a number of other farms along the current K&ESR between Tenterden & Bodiam which have user worked crossings to access all parts of their farmland. This aspect of the story has attracted considerable coverage in local and national media, much of this focusing on the farmers who say they will have their land "stolen" from them.


Another aspect of the plan which has been met with opposition is the planned level crossing of the A21 Robertsbridge bypass. The crossing of the original A21 (before the bypass was built) was the reason why the K&ESR was refused permission to run to Robertsbridge when the society was formed in the 1960s. A number of groups and individuals have complained that putting a level crossing on the Robertsbridge bypass would cause unnecessary and unacceptable delays, but many of them have exaggerated the claims, whilst ignoring the fact that there is a pedestrian crossing about 100 yards up the road which already regularly stops the traffic - and that is available to use 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


The supporters of the RVR project point to the boost to tourism with a direc rail link to the national network at Robertsbridge, particularly for visitors to Bodiam Castle. This in turn could relieve the local roads of vehicles as more people use the train instead. It could also provide a public transport link for residents of Tenterden, Northiam etc. via Robertsbridge.
And purely for the K&ESR, the addition of the link to Network Rail should increase visitor numbers, as happened with the Bluebell Railway when the extension to East Grinstead opened in 2013.


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