Sir Roger Gale
Member of Parliament for North Thanet (Margate, Herne Bay & The Villages)
High Speed Two? Sort out High Speed One first!
March 11th 2010
North Thanet`s MP, Roger Gale, has called upon the Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Adonis, to sort out the problems that have arisen following the introduction of the High Speed One (Kent) rail service before embarking upon a grandiose second service.
Speaking in the Commons (Westminster Hall) yesterday the Thanet MP highlighted the misery that has been caused for travellers using the "classic" domestic service, and the delays and chaos that have resulted from the ill thought through introduction of HS1 between East Kent and St. Pancras.
"High fare-paying commuters have been subjected to delay and disruption as a result of the Department of Transport`s imposition of a hybrid timetable upon a network and an infrastructure that has simply not been adequately adapted to accommodate it" says the MP.. "The now sixteen hundred signatories to the relevant Downing Street petition are testimony to the fact that Adonis` much-vaunted project needs a great deal of work before it can begin to be presented as anything resembling a success.
Not only does the timetable not work for travellers but the project itself is only half finished. Before making pre-election announcements about the next "flagship" development it would be helpful if the Department would indicate when it expects to fund the upgrading of the line between Ashford and Thanet and to generate the Rail, Air and Seaport hub that is achievable but incomplete. This Secretary of State appears rather more interested in hype than performance and to date HS 1 is, so far as those living and travelling along the Kent Coast are concerned, a very costly white elephant.
I would urge all of those who may feel that they will benefit from the proposals as announced today to take a long hard look at the fine print and to consider the impact that HS2 may have upon existing and more local services to and from London. If the HS1 experience is anything to go by they are likely to be hugely inconvenienced and disappointed.
I want to see the development of High Speed rail services, certainly, but they need to be properly thought-through and at present the emphasis seems to be more upon speed than service."