Newsletter Winter 2022
Photo courtesy of Matthew Fraser
Photo courtesy of Ian Paterson
Photo courtesy of Colin Whitbread Sheerness Station 2000
Chairman’s Update by Chris Fribbins
I hope everybody was able to enjoy the Christmas and New Year break and like the Kent Community Rail Partnership are raring to go in 2022.
We had hoped that the worst of the pandemic was over in the Autumn and we were starting to see the reduction in restrictions on meeting face to face and passengers starting to return to our railways. Unfortunately, with the number of infections rising, ‘Plan B’ restrictions have been introduced that are enforcing, by law, the wearing of face coverings on public transport and people being encouraged to work from home once again.
COVID is having a major impact on passengers and the railway staff. About now we were expecting to see more services returning to our Community Rail lines, but instead further reductions across Southeastern services across their whole area due to the COVID impacts. Let us hope it is relatively short lived and we can return to normal once again soon.
Despite this, the Community Rail Network continues to be recognised as a key partner in linking local communities to their rail services, so there is still a lot that we can provide at our local level.
Now is the time for the CRP to look forward to the next financial year and plan those activities that we must, should or could do over the next year. As part of our planning process in the coming weeks, we need the input of our local partners. If you have any suggestions please do get in touch. All ideas are welcome.
Kent Downs Line – Official Opening
Sixteen months on from being awarded a new Community Rail line from Ashford to Otford, we were finally able to officially open our Kent Downs Line at Maidstone East Station on November 18th 2021.
Our Chair Chris Fribbins cut the ribbon before we embarked on a train journey along part of the new line to discuss some of the exciting projects that are underway. Kent CRP are looking forward to working with communities along the line.
Sheppey College Community Week
It was a busy week for Sheppey College students during their Community Week. The landscaping team cleared 11 bags of leaves and 3 bags of rubbish at Kemsley Station and then strimmed the area in preparation for planting up the area in March. Meanwhile, posters were being created at the College to share at our stations in the coming months.
Volunteers Day 2021
In November we organised a Volunteer Day to say thank you to recognise all our volunteers this year, who have given up their time to make a difference and support us with our events and activities.
Paul from Community Rail Network welcomed everyone to the buffet lunch and then volunteers from our lines contributed shared some of the activities that have taken place over the last 12 months.
The afternoon also featured a quiz based upon our 3 lines.
Community Rail Awards
In December, Kent CRP attended the Community Rail Awards held in Southampton, where we were shortlisted in 3 categories. We would like to congratulate all the winners on their success.
It has been a busy time over the last few months with local communities all wanting to get involved in becoming Station Adopters.
Matthew Fraser from Southeastern has been visiting various groups to carry out their safety briefing.
We would like to congratulate the Sunrise Day Nursery who have adopted Harrietsham Station. The Friends of Cuxton Station have adopted Cuxton and a consortium led by Aylesford Parish Council, which includes Aylesford School and Aylesford Football Club, have adopted Aylesford. We look forward to working with all of you to further improve your stations.
Travel Training with St.Edward’s
On Friday 8th October Kent Community Rail Partnership travelled with 30 students and 5 staff from St Edward’s school Sheerness to the Network Rail Travel Safe Travel Smart Centre in Margate.
It was an exciting day and the students enjoyed the interactive learning environment at this new state of the art facility. The purpose of the trip was to:
- raise awareness of how to stay safe near to a railway line or when visiting a station.
- encourage pupils to be independent travellers and be able to plan their journeys.
- know who to ask or where to go if they need help at a station.
Our thanks go to our hosts Network Rail and Southeastern for their support to make the day possible.
In October, Kent CRP were delighted to partner up with Southeast CRP at Tonbridge Station. Together we spoke to passengers about tourism along our lines and how they travel for work and leisure. Did you know that a 30-mile journey travelling by train uses 86% less CO2 than a large car?
Therese Hammond – Project Officer
Andy Place – Project Officer
Gary Outram – Project Officer
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.
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