The MarshLink Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday May 3 at Rye Town Hall. The formal (normally very short) AGM will start at 7pm with presentations following immediately afterwards including a question and answer session (usually a very lively and informative part of the meeting).
The current Southern rail services continue to be enveloped in conflict with the RMT and the membership of ASLEF (as opposed to the management of ASLEF who appear to be in frequent agreement with Southern). We trust we will have a representative of Southern Railways attending the meeting to discuss the issues from their perspective.
Looking further into the future we will be looking at the issues surrounding the possibility of the HS1 service between St Pancras and Ashford being extended to Rye, Hastings and Bexhill (maybe also to Eastbourne) – it has been given a name, so that’s a good start, the MarshLink High Speed (though, perversely, there is no prospect the service would operate at high speed along the MarshLink line). We have been waiting for quite a while for Network Rail’s Kent Route Study (perhaps strangely, the MarshLink comes within the scope of the Kent Study) which will formulate Government policy on the future of this service, more particularly the infrastructure required to enable the service to operate. One of Network Rail’s strategic planners who wrote the consultation document will be at the AGM to summarise the issues raised in the Study and endeavour to answer questions. For those who would like to get straight to the detail, see https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/long-term-planning/
We will also refer to the other very important consultation documents to which members may wish to respond themselves. One is the South Eastern re-franchising which includes some controversial proposals, including that the Ashford to Brighton service should be cut at Hastings, the MarshLink therefore becoming part of the South Eastern franchise – see https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/future-of-south-eastern-rail-services
But more on that, and other matters, at the MLAG AGM.