Monday, 12 December 2011

A request to the new Secretary of State for Transport for a full highspeed service to Deal and Sandwich before 2014.

The 06.24 highspeed service arrives at Deal station

Southeastern claimed there was no business case for it, yet the new highspeed train service for Deal and Sandwich has been keenly subscribed. Journey times have been slashed to 80 minutes with improved reliability and punctuation compared to the notoriously slow and intermittent classic service.

The population of Deal & Sandwich with its surrounding villages is on a par with Folkestone and higher than Dover, more significantly it has one of the lowest jobs to population ratios in Kent even before considering the Pfizer closure implications.

The area has huge tourism potential and many people have already used the Friday night highspeed service to Deal from St Pancras to take a weekend break on the Kent coast. Equally important is the support highspeed services can bring to the new Enterprise Zone on the post Pfizer site at Sandwich - The Discovery Park.

The Kent Rail Action Plan presented to Theresa Villiers calls for all day highspeed services to Deal and Sandwich when the new rail franchise is awarded in 2014.

However it is clear from passenger demand that the current service needs increasing before 2014. There are only 3 trains serving Deal and Sandwich in the morning and 2 in the evening. By the time the peak morning trains reach Ashford International they are almost full which means many passengers boarding at Ashford now have to stand for the remainder of the journey.

The new Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening MP has already shown with the recent rail cap reduction success that she is willing to listen to reason and common sense. Roger Gale MP for Thanet North has recently stated the highspeed service on the North Kent line is of no use to East Kent.

Therefore I have written to the Secretary of State for Transport asking her to consider reviewing the current Southeastern highspeed specification with the objective of bringing a full highspeed service to Deal and Sandwich before 2014.

1 comment:

  1. I assume the HS services on the North Kent line mean those between Faversham and Broadstairs. Maybe there's no use for them there but the HS trains from Faversham through the Medway towns are becoming more and more popular.

    Maybe there's a case for actually procuring more units rather than spreading the current fleet more thinly, but that's not terribly likely!