Another week on the MarshLink

In last week’s Rye News, MLAG drew attention to the difficulty, during a sunny weekend, to fit all of Rye’s train visitors onto 2-car units leaving many behind waiting for the next service an hour later. With two busy weekends coming up, we would like to advise you of some upcoming changes to the service.

 

Firstly, though, what about the rail service this week ? Well, the service has been very poor with cancellations because of shortage of train crew and broken down trains – in fact this morning (Thursday) all three Rye Shuttles, coincidentally, were cancelled because of broken down trains. So, again, the issue of the unreliability of the rolling stock raises more concerns – an issue MLAG has been pursuing for a very long time because without a reliable service, passengers won’t use the service. This matter will be taken up with Southern yet again at a forthcoming meeting. But the breakdowns may not all be the responsibility of Southern – it seems that yesterday morning (Wednesday) a freight train found itself stuck near Ashford blocking and delaying the MarshLink services. We wait to hear more on this.

There have been two unsavoury matters reported in the last few days. Southern had one very good reason for declaring a service out of action caused by a shortage of crew when, on Monday, it was reported that an On Board Supervisor had been attacked and taken to hospital. We wish the OBS a speedy recovery and return to work on the MarshLink. In another incident a passenger’s suitcase was stolen from a train and the thief ran off leaving the victim with little option but to continue her journey, somewhat lighter. More words on these incidents are futile.

But let’s revert to the forthcoming weekends:

  1. This coming weekend – reasonable weather forecast and the Eastbourne Airshow

With reasonably sunny weather in prospect we can probably expect a large number of tourists visiting Rye this weekend and so busy trains. But there is also the Eastbourne Airshow starting today (Thursday) through to Sunday. In discussion with Southern, they will be changing the services as follows over the weekend:

  • 4-car diesel units will operate between Ashford and Hastings (not Eastbourne); and
  • the electric Brighton to Eastbourne service will be extended to Hastings.

There are two issues to consider with return journeys. The concern for Rye visitors has to be they may find themselves joining a train with a large number returning from the Airshow, so already fullish trains. Additionally, the train times on the MarshLink have been put back by 4 minutes meaning that the current 6 minute connection time at Ashford is reduced to 2 minutes. National Rail is showing the connection is with the following train so there is a wait at Ashford of about half an hour. We can only imagine the reason for this is to improve the connection at Hastings.

 

  1. Bank Holiday weekend and Rye Jazz & Blues Festival

With an event such as the Rye Jazz Festival being scheduled on a bank holiday, this is sure to create transport problems. MLAG has asked Southern for 4-car diesel trains to operate throughout the bank holiday and we wait to hear from them.

Stuart Harland

Chairman

MarshLink Action Group