Well as we predicted last week there was serious overcrowding at Rye Station over the weekend and instances of people being unable to board trains. However by Monday the train operator managed to supply one four coach train which alleviated the crowding. There were also up to three rail supplementary buses on hand at various times of the weekend. We would have much preferred supplementary trains as mentioned at our AGM which would have provided a half hourly service to/from Ashford, but unfortunately Southern were unable to roster them with crew.
Two of our members commented as follows:
On Bank Holiday Monday-
“Looks like we’re having a little impact now. I must admit that after recent debacles, I emailed Govia’s press office and asked them if they were actually trying to destroy the Marshlink! They didn’t reply, however……..
I observed the 1947 departure for Ashford this evening.
The platform was very crowded – easily 100+. There were three Travelmaster double-deckers on hand.
When the train arrived it was formed of 171 801 – a FOUR car set. This easily absorbed the passengers – the train working the 1947 to Hastings (which would have been the 1848 to Ashford) was 2 cars however.”
“However on Sunday, with only 2 car trains in action, it was a very different story, and as many as 220 people were waiting for the one of evening trains.
6 cyclists were left behind at Rye on Sunday, and another one on Monday. And of course there were passengers left behind at Ashford on the 11.25 on I believe Sunday, who may have been conveyed by bus.
The question for Southern to answer is why they were able to provide 2 x 4 car units for the airshow weekend, but only one 4 car unit for one of the three days of this weekend.
It could be said that 2 x 4 car would not solve the problem, as they would only cover 2 out of 3 services. But it would be twice as good as one in 3, and infinitely better than none.
The bus provision is welcome, but the flaw is that the people most likely to be left behind – cyclists – are not able to be conveyed on them.
The issue again arose of cyclists having to carry their bikes over the footbridge, for lack of signage that would have pointed them over the crossing.” (At Rope Walk)
The Bank Holiday marked the end of the Summer season, but MLAG will take up with Southern the problems of overcrowding which we predicted back in the Spring and which seriously deter visitors and especially families from using the train to get to Rye. Even if a half hourly service to Ashford is impractical, we need and deserve more four car units on the hourly service.