Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Trains - Pay More, Get Less

North Thanet's MP, Roger Gale, has accused the Government and Southeastern Trains of adopting a "Pay More - Get Less" policy towards travellers from Thanet.

Following receipt of a letter from Southeastern the MP said:

"Southeastern Trains have made it clear that they are not willing to "comment on estimated journey times (for the fast link) quoted by London and Continental or the DfT eight or nine years ago".

In other words, the promises that were made by Labour Members of Parliament locally and by Transport Ministers were not worth the press release paper that they were written on. We were told, back in 2001, that dramatically reduced journey times were to be with us by 2007 and that new fast trains were on order. That is clearly demonstrated to have been so much pre-election party-political moonshine.

The fast link from Thanet, via Canterbury, Ashford and Ebbsfleet, to London is vital to the development of the economy of East Kent in general and of Manston Airport in particular.

I am told that :

"A yet to be determined premium fare will be charged for journeys between Ashford and St. Pancras. However, the premium will not apply for those travelling from stations on the Kent main line, only for the section of the journey from Ashford that uses the high speed line. In other words a passenger travelling from Margate to St. Pancras would pay a premium fare for that portion of the journey between Ashford and St Pancras but not between Margate to Ashford".

Which in plain English means that for the "privilege" of using a bit of high-speed track for part of a journey to a terminus that passengers do not wish to arrive at, passengers will pay more!

Given that it is technically possible to travel, today, on existing track and using existing rolling stock, from Ramsgate to Victoria in one hour flat I think that it is time that local Labour MPs prevailed upon their government to either deliver on their promises or to be prepared to face the electoral consequences. In short, the people that I represent do not like being short-changed and they do not like being lied to".


Mr Friday said...

Can't think how this is different from paying to use the M6 toll road for example ?

Don't want to pay that, shouldn't have to pay it but would rather stump up the cash than sit in a traffic jam near Birmingham !

Anonymous said...

St Pancras 'a terminus that passengers do not wish to arrive at'? We're not all MPs who want to saunter from Victoria to the House of Commons then charge on our expenses for a cab, you know.

St Pancras delivers you into the heart of God's Own Earth - North London!

Michael Child said...

The new bullet trains and track which look to be going to knock about 20 minutes of the journey time from Thanet to London nearly all of the time saving being on the stretch between Ashford and London.

I asked around a few engineering friends why there would be hardly any time saved between Ramsgate and London and have formed the impression that a further 20 minutes could be saved by two new investments on the line.

The first being updating the signalling system between Ashford and Thanet, apparently it is very antiquated and means that trains have to wait for very long lengths of line to be clear of a train before the next one can enter.

The second being straightening out the approaches to those stations where the line curves round platforms instead of running straight between them.

It also looks as though there is an intention to run the new trains on slow local services, which would appear to be a bit of a waste of money.

I may have got this all wrong but don’t think the Ramsgate to London in an hour bit of the post is technically possible.

anon again! said...

anon again!

Manston! A new Railway Line to London from there.Lies entral Thanet, is practically unused as an Airport, it has plenty of space for Parking, it could still be used as an Airport.
Ideal.... or?

Anonymous said...

Great idea

Jeremy Jacobs said...

And what's wrong with North London?

St Pancras may have a NW1 postcode but it's hardly North London.

Simon, why did the planners leave off St Pancras/Kings Cross from Crossrail?

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Needles to say, yours truly will be making my journey to Westgate-on-Sea by motor-car this Friday.

Margate v East Thurrock United awaits.

Siomn, I understand over 1500 people turned up to the opening of the new 5-a-side facility at Hartsdown Park. Great asset for Margate and Margate FC I suggest.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Finally, my father distinctly remembers how BMC where going to relocate to Thanet in the 50's and that a link from Ramsgate to Manston was being planned!

Anonymous said...

When Manston gets busy enough to justify a rail-link is there not a line immediately to the south of the airport?

Anonymous said...

'When Manston gets busy enough'? In your dreams!

Chris Roos said...

My journey from Ramsgate to Waterloo East has just increased by 10 minutes to 2 hours 10 in the morning. Being rather cynical, I wonder if this is so that they can 'slash' times by ten minutes at some point in the future.

Oh, and another thing. There was a fire at Cannon Street the other night which meant the train took about 2 hours 35 mins to get back. Not terrible in itself, but we were stuck with those pathetic 'commuter seats' (the ones that don't fit) which meant I ended up with a sore back.

Sorry for hijacking your comments to rant about South Eastern..