SHRIMP – St Leonards & Hastings Rail Improvement – was established with one overall aim; to improve the rail connectivity of Hastings and benefit from the regeneration that such connectivity brings.

To find the history see the article ‘A Potted History’ – which even now is out of date.

There are several facets to these envisaged improvements. Long term = bring HS1 services through Hastings direct from St Pancras; Medium term = engage with the next South Eastern franchise operator to get improved j/times and connectivity;  Short term = major changes to the service pattern and timetables for the East Coastway (Ashford, Hastings, Eastbourne, Brighton) line.

HS1 – The HS1 project has received a major boost through the funding of the research into necessitated track (etc) work at Ashford Int’l and the work should already be underway. This project has cross-party support and is endorsed by all councils across the region.

SE FRANCHISE – We have had two meetings with each of the three approved SE bidders, ie prior and after the DfT published the invitation to tender (ITT). The date for the bidders to submit their tenders has now closed. We wish all potential TOCs well with their respective bids. The decision is now within the DfT and is expected late 2018. We look forward to continuing discussions with the successful operator. The timetable specifications that accompanied the ITT were for 2022+; the incoming TOC will be expected to operate the existing SE timetable for all of 2019 and almost certainly up to 2022.

GTR/SOUTHERN – SHRIMP, as part of a consortium of local Rail User Groups,  had a series of very constructive discussions with GTR’s Strategy/Timetabling team to get a much better service provision on East Coastway. The joint intention was to get a better balanced and more robust service pattern including more services, more capacity, better standard-hour connectivity. We are extremely grateful to GTR for listening, understanding, and setting a new timetable which become effective 20th May when, to use GTR’s phrase – EVERYTHING CHANGES. Discussions will continue, with an initial review meeting already scheduled for June. Full details are now on the national rail journey planning sites; it is hoped that full pocket timetables will be available at stations from early April. This will be accompanied by a major advertising campaign.

One thing that is a hindrance to improvements on Marshlink is the continuing lack of line-speed upgrades between Ore & Rye, which place limitations on stopping patterns. This project has been sitting in the DfT ‘to-do’ tray for too long and we look forward to our political representatives re-doubling their efforts to get this resolved.

If you want to get involved in any way, contact us via info@1066shrimprail.org.uk.

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