Newsletter Spring 2021

Strood Station 1914
Photo courtesy of Middleton Press

Sittingbourne Station
Photo courtesy of Middleton Press

Borough Green and Wrotham 1965 
Photo courtesy of the Bangay Family 

Chairman’s Update by Chris Fribbins

Now we have a roadmap for returning to normal over the next few months, let us hope we don’t see the targets slipping again. In the meantime, the CRP Officers have been very busy doing all they can ‘remotely’. At the end of March, we met with Community Rail Network (CRN) Officers for the annual accreditation review. We are confident that our DfT Accreditation will be extended, so watch this space for more details.

As restrictions are lifted, there will be a need to encourage our passengers back to rail and catch up on activities that we have been unable to do. The key date is currently June 21st when the Rail Industry will be launching its welcome back campaign. 

The rail industry is looking to re-organise itself for coming out of the emergency measures introduced when COVID drastically reduced the number of passengers travelling by rail and the income to the train operators.

Southeastern have been covered by an Emergency Measures Agreement (EMA) since April 2020 which will run to October 16 2021 when it will be replaced by a new Direct Award for up to 72 months (a core period of 2 years, with an optional extension of up to 4 years) – a National Rail Contract. This appears to remove the competition element of the franchising element which will save the rail industry a lot of time and money, but it is hoped that rail industry partners like ourselves will be able to contribute our needs and ideas to the new contract (if an agreement is not reached with the current operator, then the DfT can look at alternatives).

New planters planned

At the end of March, the Level 1 construction team students at Sheppey College were able to build two planters at Sittingbourne Station, ready to plant up after the Easter Holidays. 

The Health and Social Care Team also carried out various surveys around travelling by train and have produced a video to help raise awareness of the different ticketing options that are available to passengers. 

Meanwhile, students from Grow 19 have been busily preparing planters at their East Malling Site for construction at Cuxton Station.

Welcome to our new members

Welcome to all our new members who have recently joined us. On the Swale Rail Line Andrew Brittain, Kayleigh Rousell and Tony Winckless have become members. On the Medway Valley Line Mark Hood and Tom Shelley have also joined us. On our new Kent Downs Line, we would like to welcome, James Lehane, Peter Morris, Susan Easun, Michael Bollom, Michelle Tatton, Patrik Garten, Norman Kemp, Sue Murray, Jo Eglin, Clive English and James Willis.

The election of Chair and Deputy Chair for the forthcoming year have also been confirmed. Thank you to all those that have volunteered to take on these roles.

Chair of Kent CRP–Chris Fribbins     
Deputy Chair Kent CRP – Tom Shelley

Chair of Swale Rail –Linda Brinklow  
Deputy Chair of Swale Rail –Jonathan Fryer

Chair of Medway Valley-James Willis
Deputy Chair of Medway Valley–Paul Harper


Chair of Kent Downs-James Lehane 
Deputy Chair Kent Downs – To be appointed

Panatonni Park and Syngenta

Following our submissions to the relevant planning authorities, for both the Panatonni Park (Aylesford and New Hythe) and Syngenta (Yalding) sites, negotiations between Southeastern and the developers around contributions towards station improvements are proceeding positively. 

We will update you as and when more information becomes available.

Car parking at Southeastern stations

The management of Southeastern station car parks has changed from Saba to APCOA Parking UK. 

Cash payment machines are being withdrawn from use and you now purchase your car park ticket digitally using APCOA Connect via your mobile phone so you won’t have to display a paper ticket. You can still pay with cash using the train ticket vending machines (available at selected stations) or from the station ticket office – remember to display it on your car dashboard.

Current season tickets will still be valid until current expiry date. Car parking tariffs have also changed. Please see Southeastern website and car parking for the latest information.

History of the Kent Downs Line web page launched

We are pleased to share with you a new page on our website about the history of the Kent Downs Line.

We would like to thank all our contributors who have given us permission to use their photographs. A special thank you to Steve Beck and the Charing and District Local History Society, the Bangay Family for sharing their archive of Borough Green and Wrotham Station and the East Malling Conservation Group.

If you know of anyone who has any old photographs of any of our stations then please do get in contact so we can share these memories.

Spring at Maidstone West StationThank you to our Station adopter Ian Paterson

Upcoming dates

Kent Community Rail Partnership Stakeholders Meeting – 29th April 2021 (Zoom Meeting 1pm to 3pm)

Keep up to date! Visit our website

Therese Hammond – Project Officer   email:     07917 131248
Andy Place – Engagement Officer        email:                    07920 088441
Gary Outram – Support Officer            email:                 07787 434258

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

Follow us on Twitter @kentcrp1  Facebook Kent Community Rail Partnership 


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