The MarshLink Action Group (“MLAG”) normally holds its Annual General Meeting in March/ April each year – this is because in most years there are timetable updates to report (most particularly last year when there were major changes – see later related matter). On a technicality, this year the only change on the MarshLink has been to standardise the daytime trains to arrive at xx.10 with a 6 min connection to the Javelin. This year we decided to leave the AGM until there was other news to share with members and now we have set the AGM for 7pm on Tuesday 18th June at Rye Town Hall with two guest speakers:
– over several years, we have received updates from Network Rail (“NR”) about the proposed extension of the Javelin service along the MarshLink. But, following sponsorship from (amongst others) East Sussex County Council, NR have been analysing the works required and will be presenting their findings, primarily on a connection between the HS1 line and the MarshLink at Ashford. This information is expected to be made public imminently and so we have invited Andrew Wood, Lead Development Manager of Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd to report that which he is able to at the time of our meeting; and
– we will also be joined by Phil Hutchinson, Head of Strategic Planning at Govia Thameslink Railway (“GTR”) who is very well known to us, having spoken at two MLAG open meetings last year. He will present on forthcoming timetable developments and will, no doubt, be happy to respond to questions from members.
Referring back to the timetable change in May 2018, members will be aware that the changes did not go well for many lines in the country. As a result of the disruption resulting from the implementation of that timetable, a fund of £15m was established by GTR (Southern being a part of GTR) called the Passenger Benefit Fund to be distributed across GTR’s stations including Rye. Rye has been allocated £30,000, specifically to provide tangible improvements for passengers. This is being discussed with Rye Town Council and the Sussex Community Rail Partnership to determine how these monies can be best used. The immediate thoughts of the MLAG Committee (but without analysis so far so they may not be practical) are a lift at the station (almost certainly too expensive); improvements to the toilets nearby (there may be an ownership issue); and cycle safes. We will try to update you with progress on this at the MLAG AGM but there is only a short period of time available to submit proposals.