Southern Rail has its say


Following an article last week from the Chairman of MLAG on overcrowding on the trains between Ashford and Rye, Southern Rail has given us the following statement:

We are aware of repeated overcrowding issues on the Marshlink between Hastings and Ashford, which has been an issue in previous years but made worse this year with the prolonged warmer weather. A number of user groups along the route have alerted us to the recent problem.

Trains between Eastbourne and Ashford are normally operated by two-car trains at weekends. We occasionally increase to four-car trains at times of special events such as the Eastbourne Airshow this weekend.

Some station platforms between Hastings and Ashford can only accommodate one- or two-coach trains. We therefore can’t operate trains in two+two formation for safety reasons as there is no gangway between the trains for passengers to walk through. We therefore can only operate any longer trains with fixed four-car units which are based on the Uckfield line.

After the overcrowding experienced this year on weekend services we are exploring options of what would be required to provide longer four-car trains on some weekend services in 2019, but this can only be done by transferring fleet from London after finishing previous workings on Friday night and returning in time for readiness in service on Monday morning. The feasibility of this is being assessed, and it would need to be funded by the Department for Transport so we cannot make any guarantees at this time.

Photo: Rye News library

Image Credits: J. Minter .

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  1. What is the problem with using 4 car units on the Hastings to Ashford line? Surely passengers for the shorter platforms could travel in the front two cars or get into them at Hastings. That system works in other areas so it is another of Southern Rail’s limp wristed excuses or is it pandering to the Unions again?

  2. Another appalling journey recently to get my wife up to London for a hospital appointment at Guy’s Hospital. It’s a good job that we left plenty of time to get there. The Hastings train was cancelled and the previous Ashford train had been cancelled so there were twice as many people (at least 100) trying to get onto an already overfull train. Some passengers were coming from Pontins on the now reduced bus service with large suitcases. There was a young woman with a baby in a pram trying to board the train. It was chaos. Both carriages were dangerously crammed with all gangways blocked and everyone complaining. Why oh why can we not get any investment in upgrading the transport infrastructure in and around Rye?!


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