New rail op­er­a­tor will mean more com­fort­able trains

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - William Harvey -

Plans have been un­veiled to boost train ca­pac­ity – with space for at least an ex­tra 40,000 pas­sen­gers per day on the South­east­ern net­work.

The De­part­ment for Trans­port an­nounced this week it will in­tro­duce longer, more com­fort­able trains and fast WiFi con­nec­tiv­ity by 2022.

The re­gion will also be­come the first in the coun­try to have a new joint team run­ning dayto-day op­er­a­tions for track and train to cut de­lays and im­prove per­for­mance.

But the next op­er­a­tor of the South­east­ern fran­chise will be told to re­move first-class ac­com­mo­da­tion on all ser­vices within 18 months of tak­ing over, to in­crease space for all com­muters.

The plans an­nounced by rail min­is­ter Paul May­nard come as the com­pe­ti­tion for the next com­pany to run the fran­chise was launched yes­ter­day (Wed­nes­day).

Un­der the plans, the net­work will be the first in the coun­try where a sin­gle di­rec­tor is re­spon­si­ble for a joint team, made up of the train op­er­a­tor and Net­work Rail, that op­er­ates the trains and the tracks and is ac­count­able for the per­for­mance of the net­work.

Bid­ders will need to show how they can de­liver ex­tra ser­vices and more space for pas­sen­gers on ser­vices across the re­gion, as well as pro­vid­ing greater con­nec­tiv­ity, smarter tick­et­ing sys­tems and im­proved com­pen­sa­tion.

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, Unit 4, Park Mall Shop­ping Cen­tre Ash­ford, TN24 8RY or email ken­tish­ex­press@ thek­m­

The De­part­ment for Trans­port has an­nounced its re­quire­ments for the fu­ture of the county’s trains

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