Call on Government 
for Rye rail reforms

Rye Rail
Rye Rail

RAIL action group Marshlink are calling for a radical overhaul of the Rye line.

And with the franchise for the line in the melting pot, rail users could see major improvements if the Government follow recommended proposals.

Marshlink, which has 100 members in the Rye area, has been taking part in a Department of Transport consultation and has outlined to the Government problems facing passengers on the line.

Marshlink says its overriding objective is for the line to be electrified with two trains an hour, running in each direction throughout the day. But it accepts that full electrification lies outside the scope of the current franchise negotiations.

Instead it has called for a number of improvements which include:

n Better connection timing between trains at Rye and Ashford International.

n Secure cycle parking spaces at Rye and cycle and car hire facilities at Rye Station.

n Improvements to the “woefully inadequate” Ashford International Station with better passenger information.

n Later trains to make the service more useable for commuters and theatre-goers travelling back from London and Brighton.

n A Sunday stopping service at Winchelsea and Three Oaks and more trains stopping at Doleham.

n A facility to buy Eurostar tickets direct at Rye Station.

Marshlink chairman Stuart Harland said: “We are concerned that trains operating on the line are serviced from Selhurst, in London, via Hastings.

“The problems created by this only emerged when the Ore Tunnel was closed for nine weeks at the beginning of this year and as a consequence, the current franchise was unable to operate any train service at all during that whole period.

“Our primary objective is to see a service with two trains running an hour.

“The Marshlink line is the preferred method of transport for many holidaymakers. This means that in the summer, and at weekends, overcrowding, on the two carriage trains, is exacerbated by suitcases and cycles.

“Rye Station does not have any toilet facilities other than at a building close to the station, which may well be demolished before very long. Consequently, new toilet facilities are required at Rye Station.”

“He added: “The Marshlink service is vital to the economic stability and growth of the region, for business growth and for economic regeneration.”