Today marks the six month anniversary of the introduction of the UK’s first domestic high speed service. Since its introduction the service has proven to be a success with consistent passenger growth on all routes in Kent.
Vince Lucas, Southeastern service delivery director said, ”In December we introduced a new timetable which included the introduction of Southeastern High Speed services. This has proven a great success and our surveys show we are now carrying an extra 5,000 passengers every morning. That is a reflection of the success of both the timetable and the High Speed services.”
The High Speed service has continued to attract additional passengers as they appreciate the time savings with, for example, a journey to Ashford International now only 37 minutes.
Towns are already starting to see a positive impact from High Speed with, for example, 75% of journeys made from Canterbury West to London now made on High Speed. This reflects the fact that the city is now just over an hour from London making it a realistic option for commuters.
“Before the start of the High Speed there was some concern that the additional cost, which is what pays for the service, would put passengers off but this has not proven to be the case. Many are prepared to pay what is the cost of a morning coffee and croissant to save what could be up to two hours a day on their commute.
“The timetable itself has also seen other improvements with Meopham and Longfield for example seeing extra services. Tunbridge Wells now has an off-peak service to London every 15 minutes. The timetable is proving to be a real success for the majority and we want to make sure that this continues,” Vince Lucas concluded.
Some passenger praise sent to Southeastern:
- “I have travelled from Liverpool to see my friend in Deal for the first time because the high speed link made the journey manageable for a weekend. Four hours is brilliant.”
- “I commute from Whitstable to my job at Kings Cross 3 days a week……before the new trains came in I was actively looking for another job….. but now my journey …..is a pleasure [now] and I’ve decided to stay in my job. I save on average about 1 hour 40 minutes each day.” – home station, Whitstable
- “We are delighted with the High Speed service. It has made our trips to visit family in Newcastle-upon-Tyne so much easier and shorter.” – home station, Canterbury West
- “I would like to congratulate you on the quality of the new High Speed service to St Pancras International….The ability to reach the heart of London within 55 minutes is near miraculous. It offers great opportunity, endless employment options as well as exciting leisure and entertainment possibilities.” – home station, Folkestone Central
- “I travelled from Ashford to London using the High Speed service………….the trains were clean and very punctual and I thought my Group Save ticket was very good value for money. I took my family to Madame Tussards and was inside the attraction less than an hour after leaving Ashford.” – home station, Ashford International.