Tangible Public Transport Benefits
The Rother Valley Railway will create a heritage railway transport link between the main line railway system at Robertsbridge Junction operating as a public leisure transport corridor serving popular attractions such as the National Trust’s Bodiam Castle, The Toy Museum at Northiam and Tenterden, the jewel of the weald.
Completion of the railway line between Bodiam and Robertsbridge Junction Station adjacent to the mainline railway will enable visitors to use the country’s public transport system to access the Kent & East Sussex Railway and the attractions it serves. At present access is largely by private car or coach, and so the railway would help reduce traffic movements on local rural roads.
By connecting the completed railway to the main Network Rail line at Robertsbridge where trains arrive from London Charing Cross and Hastings, great economic benefits will be gained in the surrounding area as follows:
- There is an hourly main line service in both directions seven days a week.
- The journey from London is 1.3 hours and from Hastings 23 minutes.
- Bodiam Castle attracts 185,000 visitors a year and most arrive by car. Discounts to this National Trust property are offered to those who use public transport.
- The Robertsbridge “gateway” would offer a new and larger tourist catchment area
- Increased passenger numbers lead to jobs in local employment and in addition, approximately 6 new employees for each 20,000 railway passengers gained.
- The restored railway would expect to generate a final micro-multiplier. In other words, for each £1.00 spent, additional money will be spent locally.
- Visitors by main line rail tours from all over the United Kingdom could make easy access to the Kent & East Sussex Railway.
- Tenterden is currently the largest town in Kent without a railway connected to the main line.
What Rother Valley Railway has achieved;
Following the reconstruction of the railway westwards as far as Bodiam by the Kent and East Sussex Railway in 2000, RVR has:
- Secured the funding for the reconnection project
- Half of all the land requirements have been successfully negotiated
- The route of the railway has been safeguarded in the Rother District Council Local Plan
- Planning permission for the reconstructed track and new junction station has been granted
- Rebuilt a mile of track west from Bodiam Station up to Junction Road with K & ESR running the first train in 2011, 50 years after closure.
- Restored or reconstructed 5 bridges, protected the embankment from river flow erosion by piling and re-laid the track between Robertsbridge Junction Station and Northbridge Street.
- Started work on the remodelling of Robertsbridge Junction Station as the western terminus for Kent & East Sussex Railway and connections to the main line railway network.
What comes next;
Construction of the new station at Robertsbridge, known as Robertsbridge Junction Station, which will consist of a station building historically styled with modern facilities, platform of sufficient length to handle the longest trains from the Tenterden end of the line, carriage shed, locomotive shed, signal box, water tower and water crane.
- Detailed planning permission for the Northbridge Street to Junction Road section.
- Transport and Works Act Order for the statutory powers to cross the roads and operate the railway.
- Purchase the remaining land, build three modern automated locally monitored level crossings, reinstate the embankment in parts, restore or rebuild bridges and re-lay the track.