Southeastern today confirmed that a limited high speed ‘preview’ service will begin on the 29 June. The preview service will run on High Speed 1 between Ashford International, Ebbsfleet International and St Pancras International from Monday to Friday.The preview service will offer passengers the chance to experience what the UK’s first high speed service will be like when it is fully introduced on 13 December.
The preview services will also allow Southeastern to continue testing, training, adjust to passenger feedback and ensure that the full introduction of the service runs smoothly.
The high speed service will radically improve travel times for many passengers, using the High Speed 1. Journey times from Ashford International to London will be just 37 minutes and from Ebbsfleet International the journey will take just 17 minutes. The preview service will run three morning peak services from Ashford International to St Pancras International and three peak services in the evening peak. Trains from Ebbsfleet International will see four morning peak services to St Pancras International and six peak services back in the evening peak. Throughout the day services will run twice hourly between Ebbsfleet International and St Pancras International. The full timetable can be seen below.
Charles Horton, Southeastern managing director said, “These preview services offer many passengers the opportunity to reduce their journey times and experience what it is like to travel at up to 140 miles an hour on the UK’s first ever high speed line. This is an extremely exciting time for the whole rail industry and we are pleased that we are able to provide this preview service six months early and offer our passengers greater choice.”The cost of travelling high speed will be more than the existing Mainline service. For example a Mainline single fare from Ashford International costs £22.20 compared to £26.60 for the new preview high speed fare, an addition of £4.40. For existing Southeastern ticket holders the additional supplement can be purchased at any station and all first class ticket holders are able to travel on the high speed service for no extra cost.
The fares that we are announcing today are for the preview service only and we feel they offer value for money for passengers who will now be able to get to London in 37 minutes from Ashford and just 17 minutes from Ebbsfleet,” Charles Horton continued.
Ebbsfleet International to St Pancras International preview fares:
|Mainline (from Gravesend)||£9.10||£18.00||£9.30||£61.00|
|Supplement for existing ticket holders||£3.10||£6.20||£3.20||£21.30|
Ashford International to St Pancras International preview fares:
|Supplement for existing ticket holders||£4.40||£8.10||N/A||£18.90|
The announcement of the start of preview services follows the recent publication of the draft December timetable which will see an extra 200 trains operating every day and resulting in an increased capacity of at least 5% across the entire network. The introduction of high speed will provide passengers with more choice with the option of this service or using Mainline services.