The Marshlink Community Rail Partnership, part of the Sussex Community Rail Partnership, held its annual general meeting in Rye on Friday 24 November.
A packed town hall heard presentations from Kevin Barry, the Marshlink community rail development officer, Amber Rudd MP, Nick Brown, the chief operating officer of Govia Thameslink Railway (which operates the Southern franchise), Andrew Wood, senior commercial sponsor from Network Rail, and Cliff Parsons from the Ashford International Model Railway Education Centre (‘AIMREC’).
Kevin Boorman, the chair of the Marshlink CRP said: “We were delighted that so many senior figures supported our AGM.
“Amber Rudd spoke with passion about her commitment to keep plans for a high speed service between London, Rye, Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne at the top of the agenda.
“Nick Brown updated the meeting on Southern developments, and was extremely supportive of community rail and particularly the Sussex Community Rail Partnership, which was very heartening.
“And Andrew Wood explained the process and timetable for improving the Marshlink service, including the opportunity to physically link the Marshlink with HS1 at Ashford by 2020. This is essential to get high speed trains across the Marsh, and it will be fantastic if this can be achieved so quickly.
“It was fascinating, too, to hear about AIMREC. This has the potential to be a major visitor attraction at Ashford, and as a model railway enthusiast myself I can’t wait to see it open.”
“It was a really interesting meeting, and I had some very positive feedback on it. I’m really grateful to Kevin Barry for all that he does, and for putting together such a great agenda.
Kevin Barry said: “It was very good to see so many people at Rye town hall interested in our work. I am very grateful to all of our speakers for making the meeting so informative, everyone really appreciated them giving up their time to support us.
“We are especially grateful to the ongoing support of Southern, from their local station and maintenance staff through their enthusiastic local station manager Simon Greenfield to the very top of the organisation, as we saw with Nick Brown attending our meeting.”