We were delighted to accept an invitation from Tracey Crouch MP to attend the over 55s Advice and Information Fair at Snodland on Monday 23rd October.
We were one of eighty organisations exhibiting at the event, working with Southeastern to share information and ideas to inspire people to Give The Train A Try, promote the British Transport Police 61016 service and listen to the concerns of rail users.
We engaged with over 120 people. Many of those attending use rail for visiting friends and relations, London hospital appointments and other leisure trips. Information on cost saving Railcards and assisted travel services was particularly well received. For short local journeys, rail was perceived as expensive, with many understandably favouring their free bus travel pass. Many expressed that their own villages were served by neither bus nor rail, forcing them into car ownership.
The December timetable changes which will introduce more frequent High Speed services between Medway and St Pancras were well received. Considerable interest was shown in finding walking and cycling routes that allow people to explore somewhere new from a nearby station.
It was good to hear from current and aspiring rail users, and it is clear that the local community values its rail services.
Our thanks go to Matt Fraser of Southeastern for securing our place at the Fair and helping on the stall, also to our volunteer Dominic Noades for sharing his unrivaled rail knowledge to help us answer some of the trickier questions that came our way on the day.
The most delightful response of the day has to be “I’ll give it a whirl”, from somebody who hasn’t been on a train for over three years.
Why not follow their example and Give The Train A Try.