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Trains - Pay more, get less

December 11th 2007


North Thanet's MP, Roger Gale, has accused the Government and Southeastern Trains of adopting a "Pay More - Get Less" policy towards travellers from East Kent.

Following receipt of a letter from Southeastern this (Tuesday) morning the MP said:

"Southeastern Trains have made it clear that they are not willing to "comment on estimated journey times (for the fast link) quoted by London and Continental or the DfT eight or nine years ago".

In other words, the promises that were made by Labour Members of Parliament locally and by Transport Ministers were not worth the press release paper that they were written on.  We were told, back in 2001, that dramatically reduced journey times were to be with us by 2007 and that new fast trains were on order.  That is clearly demonstrated to have been so much pre-election party-political moonshine.

The fast link from Thanet, via Canterbury, Ashford and Ebbsfleet, to London is vital to the development of the economy of East Kent in general and of Manston Airport in particular.

I am told that

"A yet to be determined premium fare will be charged for journeys between Ashford and St. Pancras. However, the premium will not apply for those travelling from stations on the Kent main line, only for the section of the journey from Ashford that uses the high speed line.  In other words a passenger travelling from Margate to St. Pancras would pay a premium fare for that portion of the journey between Ashford and St Pancras but not between Margate to Ashford".

Which in plain English means that for the "privilege" of using a bit of high-speed track for part of a journey to a terminus that passengers do not wish to arrive at, passengers will pay more!

Given that it is technically possible to travel, today, on existing track and using existing rolling stock, from Ramsgate to Victoria in one hour flat I think that it is time that local Labour MPs prevailed upon their government to either deliver on their 

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