Overcrowding and electric tracks on Marshlink meeting agenda

Kevin Boorman, David Scorey, Amber Rudd and Kevin Barry chairing the AGM
Kevin Boorman, David Scorey, Amber Rudd and Kevin Barry chairing the AGM

A ‘lively’ Marshlink annual general meeting heard discussions on electrification and overcrowding on the Hastings to Ashford line on Friday (November 27).

A representative from Southern, the Hastings and Rye MP, and the line’s community rail development officer Kevin Barry all spoke at the meeting at Rye Town Hall.

The train operator’s deputy managing director David Scorey said solutions to overcrowded trains included adding diesel engines to non-diesel carriages as these are in short supply.

Amber Rudd gave an update on the campaign to bring high-speed trains to the line, which she described as an ‘important development’.

“I was pleased to be given this opportunity to discuss the overcrowding on certain trains and this innovative remedy of a hybrid train, and to explain recent developments with my plan to bring the HS1 Javelin service to Rye, Hastings and Bexhill, expected to be included in Network Rail’s Kent Route Study, and supported by a recent economic study produced by Mott MacDonald,” she said.

“This will certainly be an important development for Rye.

Mr Scorey explained the Marshlink line needs to be electrified because there are no diesel carriages available to reduce overcrowding. So diesel engines will be fitted to allow Southern to fit new carriages within 14 months.

Chair of the Marshlink Community Rail Partnership Kevin Boorman said it was an excellent meeting with a ‘lively, but good-natured’, question and answer session.

“This was an excellent meeting, well supported and extremely constructive. We have a very active community rail development officer, and a very strong steering group, supported by some excellent volunteers.”

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