Re­gen­er­a­tion will get a real boost

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

THE link be­tween the high­speed trains and the re­gen­er­a­tion of Ash­ford and Folke­stone was stressed by South­east­ern’s ser­vice de­liv­ery di­rec­tor Vince Lu­cas.

“This is a great day and has been a long time com­ing,” he said on the first day.

“Ninety-three per cent of the trains have been on time and the whole ser­vice is work­ing well.

“The re­gen­er­a­tion of Ash­ford, Folke­stone and east Kent will get a real boost.”

Mr Lu­cas said there was in­creas­ing in­ter­est in the Eureka Busi­ness Park at Ash­ford and house-build­ing had con­tin­ued in the area de­spite the re­ces­sion.

He pre­dicted that the high­speed ser­vice would put £12,000 on to Ash­ford house prices and more than £1 bil­lion into the wealth of the town.

“Folke­stone is less than an hour from Lon­don so more peo­ple will want to com­mute and busi­nesses will want to re­lo­cate there,” he said.

“We will be work­ing on that with Visit Kent next year.”

Mr Lu­cas said the cost to trav­ellers of us­ing the high-speed ser­vice over main­line trains was “not much more.”

From Ash­ford, he said, it was about 20 per cent and less than that from Folke­stone.

“Peo­ple should be think­ing about the time saved,” he said, stress­ing that all South­east­ern dis­count rail cards were valid on the high-speed ser­vice.

Mr Lu­cas ad­mit­ted that some main­line ser­vices had been made longer be­cause of the high-speed link.

“One of the prices we have had to pay is that some main­line trains will have to stop at all sta­tions,” he said. “There is al­ways a price.”

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The band en­ter­tain­ing the com­muters at the launch of the full high-speed ser­vice from Ash­ford In­ter­na­tional sta­tion. From left, Gerry Birch, Peter Rose and Colin Hodges

Vince Lu­cas, South­east­ern ser­vice de­liv­ery di­rec­tor, says this is a great day

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