Competition may be harder to ignore
CLAIMS that another train company is considering operating continental services from Ashford International Station have received something of a mixed reaction in the town. Edith Robson, the former Ashford teacher who has campaigned tirelessly to make Eurostar reverse its decision to cut services from the station, believes the apparent interest from Air France-KLM should be treated with caution and has dismissed the reports as a smokescreen. Borough council leader Paul Clokie and Ashford MP Damian Green have been more positive about the idea. Certainly, anything that will save Ashford International from becoming little more than a white elephant and a symbol of wasted opportunity for the town deserves to be given every chance. If Eurostar is determined to press ahead with its proposed cuts – as appears to be the case – anything which might bring new life to the international station is surely to be welcomed. Eurostar says it would welcome competition, either now or in the future. If such a prospect leads the company to rethink its shaky commitment to the town, that can only be a good thing. It might be prepared to ignore an 8,000-name petition but a potential dent in profits might prove more sobering.