High speed rail on the agenda at Rye meeting

trains at Rye ENGSNL00120110726162215
trains at Rye ENGSNL00120110726162215

There will be an update on the proposed high speed rail service when rye rail group Marshlink holds its AGM at Rye Town Hall on Friday March 20.

Rail users and members of the public are being encouraged to attend the meeting, which starts at 7pm.

Apart from a short section at the beginning, for Marshlink business, the meeting will be open to the public and they will be able to take part in a question and answer session with Rye MP Amber Rudd, Lisa Goodman, a senior manager from Network Rail; David Walker, from Southern Railway and Ray Chapman from the East Sussex Rail Alliance.

While Javelin trains will be on the agenda, Marshlink chairman Stuart Harland says there are current running problems which need to be addressed.

He said: “Our current rail service has been deplorable in the last few months.

“We have always had gripes with the existing service – customers of all service companies can easily argue that services could be better.

“But recently the MarshLink service has been beset by frequent cancellations and, perhaps even more irritatingly, poor communications which prevent passengers from taking any avoiding action.

The Rye Shuttle has been a particular favourite for cancellation. To a certain extent (particularly for the passengers who have used this service since it was introduced) it has always been known to be a service which is only available when all units are functioning.

“In the early years with the new Class 171 rolling stock, the service was reasonably reliable. But we came to understand that unit failures on the only other diesel line in the area (The Uckfield line) resulted in the loss of some of our units and the cancellation of this service.

“Ten years on, the rolling stock is not so new and not so reliable.

“When passengers do eventually get to Ashford, the ongoing service has been good on the Javelin Service to London St. Pancras.

“However, the Ashford to London Charing Cross service has had problems, largely because of the extensive works going on at London Bridge, which are still scheduled to continue for a few more years yet.

“Here we should give SouthEastern some slack in the hope of wonderful facilities there when, eventually, all the works are completed.

“There are other infrastructure changes that need to be considered, especially if the Javelin service is going to operate along the line.”

The Marshlink Action Group is hoping to recruit some new members on the night. It costs just £2 pa to join.