Just 37 min­utes later and you’re in Lon­don

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion -

THE one-year count­down to the in­tro­duc­tion of high-speed passenger ser­vices to and from Lon­don has been launched by Trans­port Min­is­ter An­drew Ado­nis.

Pur­pose-built Class 395 trains - 29 six-car units each ca­pa­ble of 140mph when run­ning on High Speed 1 (HS1) - will slash jour­ney times in and out of the cap­i­tal and to and from many Kent des­ti­na­tions.

The min­is­ter tested out the new trains when he trav­elled from Ash­ford In­ter­na­tional to Lon­don St Pan­cras In­ter­na­tional aboard a Class 395 last Fri­day.

Halved

The so-called bul­let train trav­elled en­tirely on HS1 via Ebb­s­fleet and Strat­ford on a jour­ney that more than halved the av­er­age Ash­fordLon­don jour­ney time - cur­rently 83 min­utes - to just 37 min­utes.

The new trains are due to be in­tro­duced on De­cem­ber 13 next year.

The jour­ney time from Folke­stone to Lon­don, cur­rently an av­er­age 98 min­utes, will be cut to 63 min­utes.

Charles Horton, South­east­ern’s manag­ing di­rec­tor, said: “This is a huge step for­ward and gives thou­sands of our pas­sen­gers a whole new range of choices about where they live, how they travel to work and how they link up with rail con­nec­tions to other parts of the coun­try and the Con­ti­nent.”

An­drew Ado­nis said: “When th­ese trains en­ter ser­vice next year they will trans­form the jour­neys of large num­bers of rail pas­sen­gers trav­el­ling be­tween Kent and Lon­don - in some cases halv­ing jour­ney times.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Ash­ford’s Fu­ture also took part in the launch at Ash­ford In­terna- tional sta­tion.

Ju­dith Ar­mitt, manag­ing di­rec­tor of Ash­ford’s Fu­ture, said: “We be­lieve that the ar­rival of do­mes­tic high-speed rail ser­vices will have a very pos­i­tive im­pact on the town. The new 37 minute fast link to Lon­don will strengthen Ash­ford’s at­trac­tive­ness as a place to live and do busi­ness.”

Vince Lu­cas, com­mer­cial di­rec­tor, South­east­ern; Ju­dith Ar­mitt, manag­ing di­rec­tor, Ash­ford’s Fu­ture and David Hill, chief ex­ec­u­tive, Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil at the bul­let train launch at Ash­ford In­ter­na­tional sta­tion

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