Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Successful first year of all day highspeed rail services for DEAL

For the last year (January 2015 to 2016) highspeed rail services have been arriving and departing every day and twice an hour at DEAL, WALMER and Sandwich stations (albeit a few cancellations and delays). The sight of those once elusive BR class 395 (Javelin) trains frequenting DEAL so often is a wonderful sight and asset to our town. The current economic resurgence in DEAL is entwined with the reduction of journey times to the capital to just 80 minutes.

Recently Southeastern have installed real time display panels at DEAL station and this is a very welcome investment. A shelter on platform 1 is something I am still pushing for.

The current franchise runs until 2018 and I suspect any changes to the timetable will be very minor if any at all. Peak services continue to be very popular and latest government data has revealed 10% of the workforce in DEAL now commutes to London, the highest in the district and I suspect many of those use HS. The indications from Southeastern management are that they are very happy with the number of peak passengers, quite amazing considering one of the original excuses for not including DEAL in the HS network was because "no one would use it".

Implementation of all day services was achieved by running a coastal loop service via Ashford and Faversham but poor promotion and greed of getting passengers onto the more expensive route by Southeastern has limited its success and particularly off-peak services. The political decision of removing Ebbsfleet stopping patterns from Thanet services and including them on Sandwich services has also caused unnecessary overcrowding and is also impacting Dover and Folkestone commuters.

With the current fleet of HS units already at operational capacity and political desire to include Hastings within the HS network we will need to keep an eye on post 2018 off peak proposals nearer the time. Sadly unsprisingly the continual lack of DEAL being acknowkledged equally by proposals from Dover District Councils' Joint Transportation Board is also a threat.

Do please remember that any delay over 30 minutes can now be claimed for a refund. You can do this online very easily and you will be sent a voucher which can be used to buy subsequent tickets or exchanged for cash within 28 days at any Southeastern ticket office.

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