Calls for improvements to Rye rail line

Rye line 2
Rye line 2

PASSENGERS are fed up with crowded trains and poor connections.

Now Rye rail action group Marshlink has outlined a host of improvements it says are needed on the line.

Cllr Granville Bantick, Rye Town Council’s representative on the group, explained: Better connectivity is needed between Marshlink trains and the high speed Javelin service at Ashford.

“Improvements are needed to the state of Ashford Station It needs to spruce up its appearance, The staircases and lifts remain very dirty and need spray washing. However, news that new lifts will be installed shortly will be an improvement.

“Their used to be a connection policy which would apply when a train was late arriving at Ashford from London enabling Marshlink trains to be held for a few minutes. This policy appears to no longer exist to the irritation of many passengers who miss their connection. Of course, more frequent trains would lessen this problem.

“Increased capacity is sought, whether by more frequent trains or longer trains.

“An extension in operating times of at least an hour is sought to accommodate the needs of passengers travelling from London in the evening.

“Whilst the Marshlink services to Winchelsea and Three Oaks have improved there is still much irritation that there is no effective service on Sundays, a service which would be well used by walkers and cyclists.

“Marshlink Action Group’s ultimate objective is that the Hastings to Ashford line be fully integrated into the UK’s south east electrical system and capable of operating a minimum of two trains an hour in each direction.

“It is recognised that the electrification and dualling needed to allow these service levels to be met depends on the outcome of the franchise negotiations, which are expected to be concluded in the autumn.

Whilst it is recognised that our initial objectives may not be deliverable in the short term, it is hoped that the franchise will be formulated with a view to ensuring its achievement within a reasonable time scale.

“I attended the Marshlink Line Annual Stakeholder meeting at Hastings Town Hall.

Richard Howkins, of Network Rail spoke on the future potential of the line.

“He said work is being carried out to explore decreasing journey times to London but this is restricted by signals and level crossings. It is important the local community continue to use the line.”