Train passengers in Kent are set to benefit from a series of improvements that were announced at the 4th Kent Rail Summit on Wednesday 25 April 2012 including:
- An extra extended late night high speed Southeastern service to Sandwich, Deal and Ramsgate leaving London St Pancras International at 23.12, from September 2012
- Continued funding by Kent County Council for high speed services from Sandwich and Deal, slashing journey times between to capital to just 90 minutes
The high speed services are being funded by Kent County Council to boost business confidence and support new employment opportunities in East Kent following Pfizer’s announcement last year to exit their site in Sandwich, and will provide further incentive for new business and job growth in the Discovery Park Enterprise Zone.
Demand for Southeastern’s high speed service has grown steadily since they were launched in September last year. The high speed peak services cut the journey time from Deal to London to approximately 90 minutes, compared to the Mainline service, which is 135 minutes.
The extended, late night high speed service from London St Pancras to Ramsgate, is expected to be welcomed by those working late or enjoying a night out in London.
Bryan Sweetland, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste, who chaired the 4th Kent Rail Summit, at County Hall, Maidstone, said:
“The launch of late night high speed services to East Kent is great news for the area, providing a further boost to business. It will significantly benefit tourism, building on the tremendous success of the Turner Centre and resulting increase in visitor numbers.
“This comes as part of our continued support of high speed services to Sandwich and Deal following their successful launch. We aimed to pump-prime the service to boost business and job prospects in the area with a move that was called for by local residents. This is good news for the local people and businesses.
“We worked closely with Southeastern and local MPs to secure high speed rail services at the lowest possible cost, initially on a trial basis for one year. As a result of strong passenger figures we have been able to reduce the level of our revenue support considerably.
“As service use grows the potential to extend it to provide a full timetable throughout the day will be a real possibility, which will boost local business prospects still further."
Vince Lucas, service delivery director for Southeastern said:
“We have been working more closely with Kent County Council than ever before to deliver real improvements for passengers using our services, and we’re seeing a growth in passenger numbers and satisfaction is at an all time high.
“We’re delighted to continue the partnership with Kent County Council to provide high speed services to Sandwich and Deal. The service is a key transport link between the coast and London. From September we will be extending the evening service departing 23:12 from St Pancras to also include stops at Sandwich, Deal and Ramsgate. This means passengers have another transport option to get home following a night out in London"
Notes to Editors:
- Currently there are three services in the morning departing Sandwich at 05:50, 06:18 and 06:50 calling at Deal six minutes later.
- From December 2012 the early morning train at 05:50 will be replaced by one at 07:20, offering a later arrival time at St Pancras of 08:48
- Currently in the evening there are two services to Deal and Sandwich leaving St Pancras International at 17:40 and 18:40.
- From September a third service will continue to Sandwich, Deal and Ramsgate departing St Pancras International at 23.12.
- The high speed services operate Monday to Friday and take approximately 90 minutes. Existing mainline services to Deal and Sandwich take approximately 135 minutes.