Rail campaigner praised for work to transform long neglected station on Hastings to Rye line

John Spencer presentation SUS-180312-120302001
John Spencer presentation SUS-180312-120302001

Community rail group recognises local man for his outstanding contribution to improving Winchelsea station.

Winchelsea resident and former Mayor John Spencer has worked hard over the years to make travelling to and from the small station better, leading working groups to clean the station and provide flower tubs, and also lobbying to improve the train service there.

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John was instrumental in first restoring a regular weekday service, and then a Sunday service, so the station now enjoys regular trains to Rye, Ashford, Hastings and Eastbourne seven days a week.

He was given a certificate of thanks at the recent Marshlink Community Rail Partnership’s AGM at Rye Town Hall by MP Amber Rudd, Kevin Barry, the community rail development officer for the Marshlink line; and Kevin Boorman, Chair of the Marshlink community rail partnership.

Kevin Boorman said: “Winchelsea station had declined over years, almost reduced to a little-used wayside halt.

“John has campaigned tirelessly to reverse this, working hard both to improve the physical environment of the station itself, and to ensure that more trains stopped there.

“His dogged determination has really paid off, and Winchelsea station is used far more, by both local residents and visitors alike.

Winchelsea station’s position on the 1066 Country Walk makes it ideal for walkers in particular.

“I am delighted that we have been able to recognize his sterling work.”

Kevin Barry added: “John had been active long before I started as the Marshlink’s community development rail officer.

“His gentle yet determined style means he has helped put Winchelsea back on the rail map.

“This is what community rail is all about, and I am very grateful for all that he has done.”

The Marshlink rail group was founded in 2003 to campaign for improvements on the single track Hastings to Ashford line.

They have already secured improvements to the line but are pushing for electrfication, dual tracking and two trains an hour. Visit www.mlag.org.uk.

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