By Geoff Courtney
A triple whammy of benefits to the local community has been released by the Rother Valley Railway (RVR) as talks continue with landowners on bridging a two-mile gap between the eastern end of the line and the western extremity of the nearby Kent & East Sussex Railway.
The RVR commissioned an independent report from international economic consultancy Steer Davies Gleave concerning the economic impact to the local community were the gap to be bridged and thus a 14 mile heritage line created between the towns of Robertsbridge and Tenterden.
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Full details of the report have yet to be published, but its headline conclusions are:
➜ The total economic benefit would be £4.1 million per year
➜ Up to 75 jobs would be created
➜ Train operator Southeastern, which provides services to Robertsbridge main line station, where a link with the RVR has been built, would accrue additional revenues of £600,000 per year.
The Kent & East Sussex Railway currently runs trains 10½ miles between Tenterden and Bodiam, although the track extends beyond there for a mile to Junction Road in the hamlet of Udiam, while the trackbed for a further short stretch to Austen’s Bridge has recently been purchased. The RVR runs for half a mile from Robertsbridge to Northbridge Street.
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