ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – 27 February 2018 & Chairman’s Report

The Committee gives Notice that the fifteenth Annual General Meeting of the MarshLink Action Group is called for:

Tuesday 27th February 2018

at 7.00pm

in Rye Town Hall, Market Street, Rye, East Sussex


The Agenda of the formal Annual General Meeting will be as follows:


  1. Welcome and introductions
  2. Apologies for absence
  3. Approval of Minutes of the last AGM held on 3 May 2017
  4. Chairman’s report
  5. Treasurer’s report
  6. Nominations received for the Committee
  7. Election of the Committee
  8. Any other business and conclusion of formal AGM


Guest presentation:

Following the formal Annual General Meeting (at approximately 7.15pm) there will be presentations and a Q&A session with Phil Hutchinson, Head of Strategic Planning, GTR.

Only members of the Group are entitled to attend and vote at the formal Annual General Meeting.

Item 3 – Copies of the Minutes of the formal part of the AGM held on 3 May 2017 are available on MLAG’s website (

Item 5 – The Income and Expenditure Account for the calendar year 2017 and the Balance Sheet as at 31 December 2017 will be available at the meeting

Item 6 – Please advise the Chairman in advance of the meeting if you wish to stand for election to the Committee

Item 7 – Subject to the re-election of the existing Officers, there are vacancies for:

– Secretary

– Commuter Representative (to try to tap into the knowledge of daily users of the line)

– Chairman Designate (to have a successor in place at the end of the current Chairman’s period of office).

In addition, we would like to have a representative from each station (Appledore and Ham Street are currently not specifically represented). Nominations are invited for these roles.

Committee meetings are held on the first Tuesday of every other month apart from July (i.e. January, March, May, September, November) and on other occasions, as required.




Stuart Harland (Chairman)

Martyn Brown (representing Three Oaks and THWART (Three Oaks and Winchelsea Action for Rail Transport)

David Bookless (Treasurer/ Membership Secretary)

David Carver

Richard Holmes (immediate past-Chairman)

Rhoderick Powrie (consultant)

Ray Prewer (Rye Town Council representative)

Lorraine Sawyers

John Spencer (representing Winchelsea and THWART)

John Stedman

Richard Williams



May 2018 timetable – presentation by Southern at AGM

This year, MarshLink Action Group’s Annual General Meeting will be held somewhat earlier in the year than usual to enable members to receive a presentation of Southern’s May 2018 timetable directly from Govia’s Head of Strategic Planning (for our purposes, the head of timetabling) at about the same time as it is being publicly released.

Over the last six months or so, many hours of discussion have taken place between Southern’s timetablers and representatives of MLAG and three other MarshLink rail action groups together with Railfuture. Southern has also initiated three extensive public consultation phases to which, I trust, MLAG members have contributed. During these discussions, the rail action groups have each raised their many issues with the current timetable (including, by MLAG, pursuing our long-stated Objectives for the service) and we wait to find out, at this meeting, the end result of these representations.

Service experience over the last year

But, as we all know, a timetabled train is one thing, the arrival and timely operation of a train is another. My last two Annual Reports have emphasised problems passengers have had resulting from industrial action. The issues with drivers union ASLEF appear to have been resolved around the end of 2017 but issues with the RMT continue with another strike day at the start of this year. Following that strike, Southern announced almost all train services operated on that day and, indeed, the Rye Shuttle operated (unusually on a strike day): but, perversely, one of our hourly services was terminated early. Elsewhere on the rail network, the RMT has organised strikes in other franchise regions so the problem is spreading.

MLAG is a group set up to represent the interests of MarshLink customers and therefore we have difficulty supporting actions to disrupt services. But, on the other hand, our primary concern is passenger safety: so MLAG remains firmly of the view that all train services should have a fully effective guard – on every train. Perhaps 2018 will see the matter finally resolved – we wait to see.

Take the next Javelin to Rye, Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne

Well, not quite yet, but the day seems to be getting closer.

Amber Rudd held her annual Rail Summit in October this year at which influential speakers showed their continuing support and all seemed to be still on-track. The first part of the infrastructure requirements to get this project operational is to get Javelins from the high-speed line to Ashford’s Platform 2. Although not specifically related, we now know that work has started to upgrade the spur from the high-speed line to the International Platforms 3 and 4 – at the very least, this will permit Eurostar’s e320 trains to access Ashford station and not require Ashford to rely on old rolling stock to service the trains that stop there. Whilst doing that work an opportunity will be taken to evaluate bringing the spur to Platform 2 and Government and local authorities have agreed to pay for that evaluation work. If/ when that work is done, the existing Javelin service would be improved because the rail connection to the Kent lines are better operating through Platform 2: from the MarshLink viewpoint, it means that MarshLink passengers would be able to have a cross-platform link (from Platform 1 to Platform 2) to board the Javelin services.

This year we do not have time at the AGM to receive a presentation from Network Rail but, if things change during the year, MLAG may arrange another meeting.


Stuart Harland

Chairman, MLAG

18 January 2018