Lille ser­vice cuts will be a great loss

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION -

WE have all been con­cerned by the an­nounce­ments about the re­duc­tion of Eurostar ser­vices through Ash­ford. Most of the com­ments have re­ferred to trains to and from Paris. But what about Lille? The French rail­way au­thor­i­ties have made Lille one of the most im­por­tant rail cen­tres in west­ern Europe. Not only does Lille stand on the line to Brus­sels but from the Lille Europe sta­tion one can take fast trains to many Euro­pean cities. Avoid­ing the whole busi­ness of ar­riv­ing in Paris, cross­ing by taxi or Metro

to an­other sta­tion and then await­ing a suit­able train. Lille lies one hour away from Ash­ford. It is it­self a thriv­ing and at­trac­tive city. By chang­ing plat­forms at the sta­tion one can take a fast and com­fort­able TGV to al­most any­where in south­ern France. Un­der the scheme pro­posed for fu­ture Eurostar ser­vices, pas­sen­gers will have to traipse to some curious spot called Ebb­s­fleet. Un­served by pub­lic trans­port but sit­u­ated close to one of the worst traf­fic jams in south east Eng­land (the Thames cross­ing, Blue­wa­ter and the no­to­ri­ous M25). One is at a loss to un­der­stand the mud­dled think­ing which un­der­lines the Eurostar plans. If there are to be trains to Lille and Brus­sels at all, they might as well stop in Ash­ford – the ex­tra time and cost would be in­signif­i­cant. P.L. Morgan, Che­quers Park, Wye, Ash­ford

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