The Group was formed in 2002 as a result of an initiative by Dr Keith Taylor and is made up of groups and individuals who  seek to maximise the use of the train service across Romney Marsh between Ashford and Hastings, serving the local communities around the stations at Ham Street, Appledore, Rye, Winchelsea, Three Oaks and Doleham.  At the time, the line was operated by tired and unreliable diesel trains, then over 40 years old, and faced an uncertain future.

Happily, the introduction of new trains, an enhanced timetable to most stations and a change in the line’s operator has boosted patronage.  Yet challenges remain and there is a continuing need for an active user’s group.

We speak for the passenger and believe that a collective voice helps ensure that the needs of our communities are listened to.  We accept that we are a rural service without the passenger volumes and glamour of the main lines.  However, we do not accept that this should result in a lack of management focus and a second-rate service.

The line faced closure in the 1970s and, while reprieved, has long suffered from a lack of investment and a reduction in capacity through simplification of the signalling and the singling of the track between Appledore and Ore. Our campaigns target the train operator (Southern), Network Rail, the Department for Transport, public transport pressure groups, passenger representation bodies and local authorities to seek recognition for the strategic importance of the route and for investment in its development.

The Franchise is due for renewal in 2014.

We draw attention to deficiencies when we find them.  Equally importantly, we offer praise where it’s due.  But above all, we’re unashamedly pro-rail and proud that our communities continue to enjoy the benefits of a train service.

Thank you for your interest in the Marsh Link Action Group.  You can help us to further our campaigns by joining us.  But above all, please use the train service itself!


Monika Betson
Kenneth Bird
David Bookless ( Treasurer)
David Carver
Stuart Harland    (Chairman)
Richard Holmes
Paul Gammon
Rhoderick Powrie
Cllr Mary Smith ( Rye Town Council)
John Spencer ( Thwart)
John Stedman
Christopher Strangeways ( REG)
Keith Taylor (Honorary President) Deceased 2012
Mike Turner

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