Saturday, September 14, 2013

Threat to Fast trains to Deal ... Meeting 19th Sept

HS 1 Funding runs out in March 2014

* Deal and Sandwich service due to cease

* Government, Southeastern Railways and County Council all refuse to take responsibility

Vital service improvements on ice for at least 4 years

Public Meeting: Thursday 19th September 7:45pm at the Bohemian (upstairs ) Beach Street

Promised upgrades to the HS1 service to Deal and Sandwich have been put on ice while Kent County Council has decided to spend £10 million on a new parkway station near Minster that nobody wants.

Deal and Sandwich will be left without any high speed trains from March 2014 because nobody is prepared to support them.

The new station is supposed to serve Manston airport and Discovery Park, the rebranded Sandwich site formerly occupied by Pfizer. But this proposed white elephant station is four miles from both and according to Southeastern Trains there is no business case for building it while residents in Ramsgate and north Thanet are strongly opposed to the proposed expansion of the airport the rail station is supposed to herald.

Meanwhile, Southeastern refuses to either implement the improvements that are so vital to the future expansion of Deal and Sandwich or to guarantee the existing service, despite the massive success the service has been over the past two years.

And while the train operator sits on the sidelines and the county council rushes around on a doomed and costly wild goose chase to build an unwanted new station, the Government does nothing.

This inaction is quite shameful. The whole mess is squarely a consequence of the disaster the Coalition has made of its Rail policy. All of the new franchise bids have been delayed as a direct consequence of the West Coast Mainline fiasco and the longest delay of all hits us with Southeastern’s franchise extended by a massive four years.

The longest train delay in history.

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