The “temporarily amended” MarshLink timetable (originally in place from July 11 for four weeks) seems likely to continue for a while yet. Except for one unfortunate development.
The RMT has decided to strike from next Monday for five days to emphasise their issues with Southern Railway. It seems appropriate that, if the RMT has issues with Southern, they should emphasise them, but they do not seem to be very concerned that their actions (or inactions) will have a considerable effect on passengers and also the economy of the areas the train service will not now reach for a week.
The RMT and Southern are holding talks at ACAS as I write this piece and it is hoped sanity is brought to the table. But, if not and the strike goes ahead, the MarshLink will have no train service at all next week. Furthermore, there will be no replacement buses. So the stretch of line from Ashford to Eastbourne will have no service (although SouthEastern trains will run their normal services from Ashford and Hastings, if passengers can get to them).
Although MLAG would not wish any community to be inflicted with this dispute, it is particularly unfortunate for the MarshLink because neither of the two main disputes listed below apply to our line:
1. Who operates the doors – the doors of the MarshLink’s 171 units cannot be operated by the driver so whatever the eventual resolution, the guard will operate the doors; and
2. Re-assignment of booking office staff – there is no plan to change the role of booking office staff along the MarshLink.
So this is a dispute which, when a resolution is achieved and all the dust dies down, there will be no change to our service anyway. But there should be appropriate compensation for erstwhile passengers – for the compensation offered by Southern, visit http://www.southernrailway.com/your-journey/strike/compensation/. But is that adequate compensation ? If you’re a season ticket holder the compensation offered is modest in relation to the disturbance created: if you rely on day tickets, there is no compensation.