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Marshlink Line: Map


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The Marshlink Line, shown with other railway lines in Kent

The Marshlink Line is the name given to services on the railway line linking Ashfordmarker with Hastingsmarker in the South East of England. The line was part of an original proposal by a company named the Brighton, Lewes and Hastings Company to extend its coast route to Hastings. The South Eastern Railway eventually built the line, thereby renewing a local rivalry between itself and the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway; the line was opened on 13 February 1851. Recommended for closure by Dr. Beeching in 1963, the route has survived various attempts to axe services completely, and stations remained unmodernised and gas-lit well into the 1970s. Services for certain stations on the line have now been reduced to an absolute minimum.

The line was single tracked between Appledoremarker and Oremarker 1 October 1979, leaving a passing loop at Ryemarker . Several stations have staggered platforms: passengers cross the line from the end of one platform to the end of the other, thus avoiding a footbridge.

The line is not electrified, with the exception of Hastings to Ore. This small section was electrified to provide for carriage sidings (there was no space at Hastings) as part of the "East Coastway" electrification of July 1935.

The line has an active rail users group called "The Marsh Link Action Group".

Proposals have been made to upgrade and electrify the line to extend Southeastern high speed train services (which will operate from London via High Speed 1 to Ashford) onwards via the Marshlink to Hastingsmarker, Bexhillmarker and Eastbournemarker, which if realised, could transform the line into an important through route.

Description of route

The towns on the route are listed below:

Passenger services

Passenger services are operated by Southern, as part of its East Coastway services. The line is no longer a separate part of the network. Trains run hourly between Ashford and Brightonmarker, stopping only at Ham Street, Appledore and Rye on the Marshlink Line. Ore has separate hourly trains to Brighton. All other stations are served by occasional local services.

Before December 2005 there was one train per hour in each direction between Hastings and Ashford, stopping at every station.

Rolling stock

This line is one of the few in South-East England not to be electrified. Consequently, services are operated using British Rail Class 171 "Turbostar" diesel multiple units. These replaced the elderly Class 205 and Class 207 units in mid-2004. When Class 171 units are not available a class 201 diesel-electric unit (1001) owned by Hastings Diesels Ltd stands in. This unit will be fitted with Central Door Locking so it can continue running services.


  1. Marsh Link Action Group

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