Petition call in campaign against train service cuts
Plans to cut train services to stations between Tonbridge and Ashford have been branded “disastrous” by one campaigner, who is urging commuters to sign a petition against the move.
It comes as the government holds a consultation on possible improvements to the rail network, while also looking to find the next operator for the region when Southeastern’s franchise expires in December 2018.
One of the goals of the Department for Transport is to speed up long-distance journeys which have a high travel time relative to the length of the route.
Among the options being explored is reducing calls at “less well used stations” to deliver an hourly fast service between Tonbridge and Ashford.
The consultation states: “Other services would still stop at these stations. Although we would be delivering faster journeys, we recognise that this has the potential to inconvenience passengers that currently use those intermediate stations.”
If the proposals go ahead, it could mean less frequent trains stopping at Pluckley, Headcorn, Staplehurst, Marden and Pad- dock Wood, and commuters fear that could eventually lead to the services being cancelled altogether.
So far, a petition against any cuts to rural services has received more than 300 signatures within a week of going online.
Martin Chambers, who started the campaign, said: “Signing this petition means that you reject any reduction in rail services between Tonbridge and Ashford.
“We believe this would be disas- trous for the communities, towns and villages along this line and could potentially lead to the closure of the stations altogether.”
The government is asking for passengers’ views on the plans as part of a consultation running until Tuesday, May 23.
To view and reply to it, go to tinyurl.com/traincons
To sign the petition visit tinyurl.com/trainpet
What do you think? Write to Kentish Express, 34-36 North Street, Ashford TN24 8JR or email email@example.com
Southeastern is planning an hourly fast service between Ashford and Tonbridge