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Kent

Our Kent Division is an integral part of Railfuture's London and South East regional branch. We aim to be the leading independent advocate for the rail industry and rail users in the area.

Area

Our area covers Kent and south east London.

Within Kent Division's area there are six Rail User Groups affiliated to Railfuture:
The local Community Rail Partnerships in our area are the Kent CRP (see also SE-KCRP, Southeastern have invested £120k in Kent CRP), the new Darent Valley CRP, and parts of the Sussex CRP

Meetings

The Division usually meets quarterly on the third Saturday afternoon, in a different venue around Kent.

The next Kent division meeting is planned to be on Saturday 21 November 2020, ONLINE. 14.00. Contact Convener (below) for joining instructions.
STOP PRESS: Kent County Council's consultation on Kent Rail Strategy 2021 ends Tuesday 17 November. Contact Convener to make your contribution.

Our previous meeting, held online on 15 August, considered the North & East Kent Connectivity Study for which Network Rail held the first in a series of stakeholder workshops on 21 July.

The most recent physical meeting was on 15 February 2020, in Tonbridge, and included discussion about this announcement from Medway Council: £170million grant from Housing Infrastructure Fund for Hoo Peninsula. See more in 'Activities' below.

The meeting on 23 November 2019, held in Rochester, was soon after the Housing Infrastructure Fund announcement for the Hoo Peninsula.

The 17 August meeting was held at Staplehurst Community Centre and included a general update on Kent Rail News and the impact of continuing to extend the current franchise rather than award a replacement. Although many positive improvements continue to be implemented by Southeastern despite the uncertainty, some significant issues were included in the Information to Tender (ITT) including additional and new replacement rolling stock and timetable enhancements in 2023.

Our meeting on 25 May 2019 was at the Bat and Ball station (Luggage Hall). The station has recently undergone a refurbishment led by the station adopters Sevenoaks Town Council and Friends of Bat and Ball station and we were treated to an inspiring presentation by Town Clerk and Chief Executive Linda Larter MBE.
 
All are welcome - members, non-members, Rail User Groups and other Rail Industry partners (it would be useful if you notified joint conveners Chris 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.
Much is going on in the Kent Route Area, especially with the imminent Integrated Kent/South Eastern franchise renewal from DfT, and Network Rail have published the Kent Area Route Study. We want Railfuture involved and influencing OUR railway!

Division Convener is Chris Fribbins - see 'Contact' below.

Activities

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, Network Rail Route Utilisation Strategies and Route Studies, DfT franchise proposals, and proposed timetable changes.
Railfuture members participated in Kent County Council's latest Rail Summit on 15 October 2019; see the presentations from Southeastern, Network Rail, Eurotunnel, Eurostar, and KCC here.

Railfuture are promoting the re-opening of the Hundred of Hoo Branch line for passenger services on the existing but non-electrified freight line to support the historic, present and future housing and industrial growth in the Medway Local Plan (to 2035), and reduce reliance on the one road in and out. Working with the Kent Community Rail Partnership, some local parish councils and the Dickens Country Protection Society (an amenity group covering the area), the response from Medway Council and Network Rail has been encouraging and mention is now made in the developing Local Plan and Kent Route Study. On 1st November 2019 the Council received this decision on a Housing Infrastructure Fund Bid of £170 (£86m Road, £67m Rail): MHCLG grant; see too 23 November 2019 and 15 February 2020 meetings above. One station/transport hub is being suggested on the outskirts of Hoo St. Werburgh which is carrying the majority of the housing growth and is being 'upgraded' from a large village to a small town. In March-April 2020 Medway Council consult with this brochure on Plannning for growth in the Hoo Peninsula.
See Hoo-rail victory.
Enjoy watching Ride the Hoo, Kent line in 1958 and four decades later The Hundred of Hoo Railway Story.
Watch Hoo Junction to the Isle of Grain from the cab - part 1 and part 2 (look out for the site of Sharnal Street station at c.09.55 minutes, between first the new and then the old road bridge).

View two presentations to Tunbridge Wells Public Transport Forum on Thursday 7 February 2019:
Branch Vice-Chair's on A rail future for Tunbridge Wells.
Network Rail's on Continuous Modular Strategic Planning.

View Convener's presentation to Division meeting in Maidstone on Saturday 17 February 2018.

Stay up-to-date with all Railfuture and other events and other key rail dates here.

Catch up with other London & South East rail development campaigning news in the regional branch newsletter railse here. Also subscribe there to the branch's new monthly e-newsletter inter-railse.

Take Part

We campaign for sustainable growth in market share for rail transport. We therefore 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.

Contact

Email: chris.fribbins at railfuture.org.uk

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