An integral part of Railfuture's London and South East regional branch, our Kent Division holds four meetings a year.
Our area covers Kent and south east London.
Within Kent Division's area there are six Rail User Groups affiliated to Railfuture:
- Dartford Rail Travellers' Association
- Edenbridge & District Rail Travellers' Association
- MarshLink Action Group
- Sevenoaks Rail Travellers Association
- Tonbridge Line Commuters
- Trains4Deal / Trains for Kent Coast.
The Division usually meets quarterly on the third Saturday afternoon, in a different venue around Kent.
The next Kent division meeting will be at 14.00 on Saturday 19 August 2017.
All are welcome - members, non-members, Rail User Groups and other Rail Industry partners (it would be useful if you notified joint conveners Chris or Ian if you are planning to attend, but it is not mandatory). If you have any specific Kent issues you would like to discuss now or at future meetings, let us know via 'Contact' below.
There is a lot going on in the Kent Route Area - forthcoming Kent Area Route Study from Network Rail, Integrated Kent/South Eastern franchise renewal from DfT - and we want Railfuture involved and influencing OUR railway.
Divisional Conveners are Kent Division member Chris Fribbins and Ian Killbery of Trains4Deal - see 'Contact' below.
As part of the London & South East Branch of Railfuture, the Kent Division has contributed to numerous consultations including Local Transport Plans, Local Development Frameworks, Multi-modal studies, Route Utilisation Strategies, DfT franchise proposals, and proposed timetable changes.
Stay up-to-date with all Railfuture and other events and key dateshere.
Catch up with other London & South East rail development campaigning news in the regional branch newsletter railsehere.
Our first meeting of 2014 was held in Rye on 15 February, jointly with our Sussex & Coastway division. We welcomed members of Railfuture-affiliated MLAG, plus THWART (Three Oaks & Winchelsea Action for Rail Transport), ESRA and SHRIMP to shared discussions about prospects for MarshLink now that it is East Sussex County Council's no.1 priority route for upgrade in their new Rail Strategy's Action Plan (open Agenda item 5 here). Our second quarterly meeting was held on 17 May in Faversham, coinciding with a local transport festival. Our 16 August meeting was held in Tunbridge Wells, with some members also enjoying the Spa Valley Railway. Our most recent meeting was held on 15 November in Canterbury.
We participate in the Kent Community Rail Partnership KCRP. Their work, and prospects for a new line CRP for the Dover-Canterbury East-Faversham route, were the focus of our meeting in Canterbury on 16 November 2013.
Our meeting in Maidstone on 17 August was an opportunity to take stock of recent and current developments and look forward to forthcoming opportunities for influence, such as the 'direct award' for the next phase of the Southeastern franchise, and through our own work on identifying scope to improve connectivity across the Kent network.
A major topic of the 8 May meeting in Sevenoaks was Network Rail's draft Passenger Market Study for London and the South East out to public consultation until July and published in October. See LTPP PMS for L&SE.
Our first meeting of 2013 was held in Faversham on 16 February. We explored issues of connectivity between different rail services, taking the county town of Maidstone as a case study, and considered it highly desirable for the two central stations (East and Barracks) each to have the other station's services on CIS display, with station names and on-train announcements stating "Change here for services from Maidstone East/Barracks" as appropriate.
Our last meeting of 2012 was held in The Victory, next to East Farleigh Station (near Maidstone) on the Medway Valley line, on 17 November.
The previous meeting was on 18 August in Robertsbridge (actually in East Sussex and home of the Rother Valley Railway), jointly with our neighbouring Sussex and Coastway Division and with a regional branch members' forum.
Specifically Kent local issues of interest for the August forum included the benefits of the Uckfield Lewes extension, the recent extension to the Uckfield branch line at Eridge of the Kent-based Spa Valley Railway, and the westwards extension to Robertsbridge on the London-Hastings line of the Kent & East Sussex Railway (see 'Returning to Robertsbridge' in 'Visitor Information').
The afternoon's Division meeting was the opportunity for Kent members to consider the DfT consultation on the new South Eastern franchise as the closing date was 13 September. See DfT SE consultation. The new franchise will start in April 2014 and run to September 2020, with an optional extension of up to two years. This aligns with the new combined Thameslink/Southern/Great Northern franchise, for which the DfT consultation closed on 14 September.
At our May 2012 meeting topics for discussion included our response to the consultation on Southeastern December 2012 timetable changes with 31 May as the closing date. Southeastern had launched their consultation at the annual Kent Rail Summit, attended for us by Chris Fribbins and Ian Kilberry.
The Division also discussed its contribution to the Railfuture campaign on Uckfield Lewes reopening, given that four stations on the Uckfield line, including Edenbridge Town, are in Kent. Other topics were input to Railfuture's responses to two DfT consultations - the initial consultation on the Rail fares and ticketing review and Rail decentralisation: devolving decision-making on passenger rail services in England. The latter is especially relevant to Kent in light of "The Mayor's Rail Vision - Investing in Rail Services in London".
Just two days before, on Thursday 17 May 2012, the Railfuture-affiliated Edenbridge & District Rail Travellers Association (which represents users of those four Kent stations) held their AGM in Edenbridge. Representatives of Network Rail and Southern addressed the well-attended meeting.
We campaign for sustainable growth in market share for rail transport. Therefore we support initiatives which will improve the attraction of rail and create a successful, financially secure rail industry: sufficient capacity, efficient customer service, simpler fares, improved connectivity, faster schedules, network enhancements and improved competitiveness with other modes of transport. If you share these ideals please contact us. We welcome new members, and people to share practical ideas and to help put plans into action.
Email: chris.fribbins at railfuture.org.uk and ian.killbery at railfuture.org.uk
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