LONDON, 17 September 2010: Southeastern, Hitachi and High Speed 1 Ltd (HS1) were last night celebrating after being recognised at the National Rail Awards for the early introduction of the UK’s first domestic high speed train service. Winning the Project of the Year award, the High Speed ‘preview’ service brought high speed to the UK six months early.
The ‘preview’ service ran between 22 June and 12 December 2009 and was a phased increase of services from St Pancras International to the towns and cities of Kent. The preview service required close working between Southeastern, Hitachi and HS1 to ensure that it could be introduced ahead of schedule.
The service allowed all the companies to continue to iron out any issues while at the same time provided the best publicity in advance of the full launch on 13 December 2009. The success of preview has meant that there have been no issues with the full service and it has continued to grow in popularity and is now the best commuter service in the country having achieved 95% satisfaction rate from its passengers in the independent National Passenger Survey.
Charles Horton, managing director Southeastern said, “Everyone involved in preview should rightly feel proud of being given this award. However the greatest accolade we can get is from our passengers who continue to give us great feedback on a daily basis and voted High Speed the best commuter service in the UK with a 95% satisfaction rating in the last National Passenger Survey.”
Alistair Dormer, Hitachi Rail Europe Managing Director said, “The Class 395 trains delivered outstanding reliability from the start, quickly gaining the confidence of our customer, Southeastern, and passengers alike. The Preview service was a great opportunity to fully test the operational and maintenance procedures and quickly build fleet miles. But most of all, Preview demonstrated the excellent partnership between Hitachi, Southeastern and HS1 to deliver an excellent, reliable service to passengers from day one.”
Paul Chapman, HS1 Managing Director said, “Teamwork has been a hallmark of the success of this railway since we opened and as such this award is richly deserved. We at HS1 now look forward to the successful introduction of more services in the near future.”
The preview service was introduced in five phases as outlined below:
- Phase 1 – June 22: Ebbsfleet Shuttle and Peak Ashford International services Monday to Friday
- Phase 2 - 7 September: service extended to Dover Priory, via Folkestone and Margate via Canterbury West, Monday to Friday
- Phase 3 - Saturday 10 October: weekend service introduced
- Phase 4 - 21 November: Weekend service on North Kent, including Chatham and Rochester
- Phase 5 - 30 November: all services stop at Stratford International
- Phase 6 – 13 December: full introduction of service