Rail trav­ellers told: Your new car­riages await

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - COMIC RELIEF - by Paul Francis

MIN­IS­TERS say a pledge to add 1,000 ex­tra car­riages across the rail net­work will help ease the prob­lems of over­crowded trains in ar­eas like Kent.

Rail min­is­ter Douglas Alexan­der said the com­mit­ment to build the ex­tra car­riages would be a key el­e­ment of the Gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to meet de­mand for rail ser­vices in the South East.

But it was not clear ex­actly how many of the 1,000 new car­riages would be added to the Kent net­work and if the an­nounce­ment in­cluded pro­pos­als for new do­mes­tic ser­vices on the Chan­nel Tun­nel Rail Link, now known as the High Speed One.

South­east­ern trains, which runs Kent rail ser­vices, said it as­sumed the 1,000 ex­tra car­riages in­cluded the 29 new six-car­riage trains it would be op­er­at­ing from De­cem­ber 2009 and that had al­ready been or­dered.

In a state­ment, a spokesman for the rail op­er­a­tor said: “It is an­tic­i­pated Kent’s ex­pand­ing pop­u­la­tion and re­gen­er­a­tion projects will cre­ate a strong de­mand for th­ese new ser­vices as well as for the ex­ist­ing ‘clas­sic’ ser­vices which al­ready serve pas­sen­gers trav­el­ling from Kent to Lon­don Vic­to­ria, Char­ing Cross and Can­non Street.”

In a speech, Mr Alexan­der said: “It is com­mon sense that of­ten the most cost-ef­fec­tive and quick­est way to add ca­pac­ity in (th­ese) con­gested ar­eas is through length­en­ing trains. We need to see what more can be done to in­crease ca­pac­ity.”

The un­prece­dented pe­riod of eco­nomic growth would con­tinue to place in­creas­ing pres­sure on key sec­tions of the net­work, he added.

Un­der the scheme, the Gov­ern­ment will pay for the car­riages and lease them to train com­pa­nies. The De­part­ment for Trans­port said the de­tails of where the ad­di­tional car­riages would go would be worked out in the sum­mer.

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