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McLoughlin to join Rail Summit on Marshlink Line electrification

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has agreed to attend a Rail Summit in Hastings on Monday at which campaigners including Hastings MP Amber Rudd will press their case for the electrification of the Marshlink Line.

The line between Hastings and Ashford is electrified (third rail 750V DC) only as far as Ore, but campaigners, including Rudd, Railfuture and the St Leonards and Hastings Rail Improvement Programme, want to see this extended to Ashford International.

The campaign has received much support and East Sussex County Council made electrifying and redoubling Marshlink and the Uckfield line its top priorities in the final version of its Rail Strategy and Action Plan, as building blocks for extending Javelin services to Hastings and reinstating Uckfield-Lewes.

As part of the Rail Strategy and Action Plan, the campaigners have stated that the electrification between Ore and Ashford would enable a faster more reliable service with longer trains.

They have also stated that it should be scheduled and funded as an infill, to help maintain a rolling electrification programme between Control Periods 5 and 6. “This will provide the potential for through trains between Hastings and London, which will promote economic growth in Hastings,” the campaigners explained.

Additionally, there have been calls to remodel junctions at Ashford to allow Marshlink Line services to access HS1, to enable Javelin services between Hastings and London St Pancras. Railfuture added: “This will enable services between London (Stratford) and Hastings in 66 minutes, and Hastings – London St Pancras in under 75 minutes, which will attract more passengers and so provide the business case for electrification.”

(Image showing a Class 171 at Rye on the Marshlink Line courtesy Railfuture)


Brian   28/03/2014 at 17:33

An obvious candidate for electrification but why continue to mess with ground rail. Time to migrate to 25kV OHLE?

Gabriel Oaks   28/03/2014 at 17:59

Electrification across the Marsh would need to be AC as the Electricity at Works Regs would probably mean a DC scheme would not be viable or even permitted. Furthermore single track DC would be extremely costly let alone the potential difficulties in providing a 33kV supply. Electrifying the Marsh would open up the potential for Brighton to Ramsgate (etc) services. However, it could also open up questions about the economics of upgrading the route (including the track layout at Ashford) to enable a fast Javelin service to Hastings; even Bexhill. The economics here would require careful study but it might also reduce future pressure on the Hastings - Tonbridge line.

Findon   30/03/2014 at 19:33

The Network Rail presentation to the AGM of the MarshLink Action Group suggested that only the step-change of an integrated package of upgrades to the line, extending Javelins to Bexhill, has a business case. Only that offers the required catalyst for change to the economic fortunes of Hastings-Bexhill conurbation businesses and residents.

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