Gov­ern­ment must take re­spon­si­bil­ity

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION -

I RE­FER to the let­ter from Richard Holmes, chair­man of the Marsh­link Ac­tion Group (March 22). I wholly en­dorse the points he made but feel I must em­pha­sise that the reg­u­lar Marsh­link ser­vice to four sta­tions was sac­ri­ficed so a fast ser­vice to and from Brighton could be in­tro­duced for Eurostar pas­sen­gers. As I un­der­stand it, the in­tro­duc­tion of this con­nec­tion was some­thing South­ern was com­pelled to do, as it was a con­di­tion of them be­ing awarded the fran­chise. There­fore, the Gov­ern­ment al­ready has a hand in this de­ba­cle, be­cause it was the now-dis­banded Strate­gic Rail Author­ity, a Gov­ern­ment quango, which laid down this con­di­tion. The work for­merly done by the SRA is now done by the De­part­ment for Trans­port. Per­haps the de­part­ment could lend its weight to pre­serv­ing a Eurostar ser­vice to Brus­sels! Let’s hope the sac­ri­fice made by the four Marsh­link sta­tions – Winchelsea, Dole­ham, Three Oaks and Ore – will not prove to be for noth­ing. Gra­ham Boddy, by e-mail

PRE­VI­OUS cor­re­spon­dents have quite rightly re­ferred to the sig­nif­i­cance of Lille as a hub with con­nec­tions to many Euro­pean des­ti­na­tions. The same could be planned for Ash­ford, which largely grew up as such a hub. Eurostar and the var­i­ous train op­er­at­ing com­pa­nies, as well as Net­work Rail, have ap­par­ently ig­nored the deals that could be of­fered from many south-east­ern des­ti­na­tions. Why drive to the Con­ti­nent, Heathrow or Ebb­s­fleet when you could just walk, leave the car at the sta­tion or get the wife to drop you off? And just think of the smaller car­bon foot­print which would keep the en­vi­ron­men­tal lobby happy. Alan Witt, Char­ing

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