Kent Community Rail Partnership
Newsletter  April 2020

Message from the Chair
At the time of writing we are two weeks into a very challenging time for everybody. Let's hope things start to recover sooner rather than later. On the Community Rail front there continues to be work to do, with ongoing activities and notice of activities that were cancelled or postponed as restrictions were tightened. CRP activities continued from the team’s homes with regular contact by phone and online meetings. With restrictions on non-essential travel it is not practical to promote activities on the lines, but we will be ready when restrictions are eased. The Sustrans management team have been great and a detailed contingency plan has been drawn up with some investigation into what activities can be carried out online with our stakeholders in the meantime. You may have heard that the Accreditation for KCRP has now been approved for both our lines. A lot of work was put into preparing a detailed portfolio of documentation demonstrating the fitness of our CRP and a detailed meeting was held with ACORP who then reported on their findings to the DfT. Approval was granted in late March 2020 - special thanks to Therese, and the Sustrans team.

There still remains some uncertainty about the future of the train operation on our network. The Southeastern franchise was extended to 31st March 2020 when the previous franchise competition was cancelled. We expected announcements from the DfT to allow new arrangements to start from 1st April 2020 and without any official announcements we negotiated a deal with the DfT to cover our basic expenditure for 2020/21 and allow us to agree future cover from Sustrans (the previous agreement also was due to finish on the 31st March 2020, after a year's extension). With emergency arrangements in place, it is assumed that Southeastern Railways would continue to be our operator for the time being through Management Contract (the DfT taking in the fare income and paying the operator a fee for running the service). We have had an excellent relationship with Southeastern, so are likely to be dealing with the same people as before and it is hoped that their funding support for the CRP will continue and we can even look at possible expansion in the future.

For now, please keep well, keep in contact with the CRP and be ready to work with our stakeholders and promote our lines when the restrictions ease

Chris Fribbins   Chairman – KCRP

Santa Visits SwaleRail  14th December 2019
We were delighted to have a very special guest join us on Saturday 14th December. Santa boarded the train at Sheerness on Sea Station at 13:48 and gave out presents to local children before returning to Lapland two hours later.
The children were entertained throughout the afternoon by a face painter and children’s entertainer, as well as a team of hard working elves. Santa was also joined by Batman, Spiderman and Captain America.

We would like to thank staff from Southeastern for making this event possible and for supplying mince pies and party bags for the children.
Thank you also to Mike Young, Juggleitall, Cherrydrop Face painting and Alvin Simonds for providing the entertainment and Team Elf who volunteered to help out at the event. We are extremely grateful to Councillor Richard Darby, from Swale Borough Council who helped fund the event and Linda Brinklow, who helped to organise the event.

Wateringbury Planters - 17th March 2020
Following the fantastic work that Five Acre Wood (Snodland) did at Snodland station, we enlisted the help of Grow 19 to replace existing planters and build 5 additional new planters at Wateringbury Station.

Grow 19 was recently launched to teach students land based skills and are located at East Malling. Grow 19 affiliated to Five Acre Wood and provide post 19 education for students.

Crocus Bulbs at Queenborough Station  - February 2020
Back in October Kent CRP, Sheppey College Landscapers and Minister on Sea Rotary Club planted 2000 Crocuses at Queenborough Station. This was to raise awareness of the work the Rotary Club are doing around the world to help eradicate Polio.

We are pleased to see that they have now bloomed and really stand out as you arrive at the entrance to Queenborough Station. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped from the community and ACoRP for their support in funding the project.

Upcoming Events
Unfortunately, due to  Covid- 19 our planned up and coming events have all been postponed for the foreseeable near future.

Accreditation March 2020

We are delighted to announce that Kent CRP have been accredited by the Department for Transport.

Accreditation is the formal recognition by the Department for Transport that we operate to a high standard and that our objectives and activities are supported by Government.

Action Plan Update 2020-21
We  are currently discussing with  line members the priorities for our  20-21 action plan.. We look forward to sharing these with you in the near future.

Sheppey College Projects
We are delighted to announced that recently Sheppey College were the  proud winner of Under 18s Volunteer Team of the Year at the Kent Volunteering Awards, based on the students hard work during community week and the established partnership with Kent Community Rail Partnership.

Sheppey College has been working closely with the Kent Community Rail Partnership over the past year to improve the look of the five train stations within Swale.

Business students created surveys to gather feedback from commuters about the stations, service and overall public feeling about the lines. Once commuters had been interviewed, business students collated the feedback and presented  this to  the  Manager of the stations to detail their findings and recommendations.

ICT students created posters communicating messages and information on how to stay safe at the stations and whilst travelling. Videos of each station and the surroundings were made which included a history of the area and the line. These videos linked across all five stations and also presented to the managers of the stations. A number of posters promoting diversity have been displayed at stations along the SwaleRail Line.

Construction students have been involved in a number of station improvement projects which will benefit the local community. They worked closely with the station staff and some gave up their own time to finish the work. The projects included designing and installing birdboxes, benches with planters, and planting flowers at Queenborough
station.

Train Times:
Train services will be restricted during Covid19 so keep an eye on the Southeastern website for the latest changes.

 

Keep up to date! Visit our website www.kentcrp.org.uk
Follow us on Twitter @kentcrp1   or  our Facebook page  - Facebook Kent Community Rail Partnership

Contact:
Therese Hammond - Project Officer    email:  therese.hammond@sustrans.org.uk         07917 131248
Andy Place -  Engagement Officer        email  andy.place@sustrans.org.uk                       07920 088441

The Kent Community Rail Partnership is hosted by the registered Charity Sustrans. The Kent Community Rail Partnership encourages greater use of the Medway Valley and SwaleRail lines by local people and visitors and aims to improve station environments and facilities on offer.

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