Air your views at MarshLink AGM

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

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

But more on that, and other matters, at the MLAG AGM.


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  1. Perhaps one day the MLAG might have its meeting at 7.15 to suitably accommodate real commuters arriving at Rye from London/Ashford just before 7pm. Or even later. The leaders of MLAG appear not to want people to attend their meeting.

  2. Peter’s comments are very disappointing to read and appear to be crafted to create division. MLAG welcomes commuter members and each year makes provision for the timing of inbound trains: we have also advertised for a commuter member of the Committee for several years, without success – perhaps Peter would like to contribute to the work of the Committee during the year by joining.

    I’m not sure which of the two parts of the meeting (the AGM or the presentations) Peter thinks the Committee doesn’t want members to attend.

    Experience tells us that the formal AGM is not considered very important compared with the presentations and Q&A session. For this reason we habitually start the AGM at 7.00pm (usually only taking a few minutes) and then start the presentation section but not before 7.15pm: on at least one occasion we delayed the start of presentations because an inbound train was running a few minutes late. Every year, this timing arrangement is put into the AGM Notice sent to members and included in fliers distributed at the station and onboard in the days before the meeting.

    If, however, Peter’s concern is not being able to be present during the formal part of the AGM I am happy to suspend the AGM at 7.15pm and re-start it at the end of presentations and Q&A. I doubt that is the concern being expressed though.

    As to a later start time, our presenters usually travel a significant distance to attend our meeting and have to be allowed to leave at a reasonable time, some by train with the restricted timings we are all very familiar with. Although not to the same extent, some of our members (including members of other affiliated rail action groups) also take the train home. So a later start would be difficult to achieve.

    Stuart Harland
    Chairman, MLAG


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