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ETCS funding approved for Ashford International resignalling

The signalling technology at Ashford International station will be upgraded to ETCS standard thanks to cash from the European Commission and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

The £4m project “will allow any international train to call at Ashford in future”, its backers say.

Kent County Council welcomed the announcement, saying: “The new signals will make sure the town can be incorporated as international rail routes expand.”

The project, known officially as ‘Ashford International Spurs Resignalling’, was one of 276 transport projects approved for funding under the €13.1bn Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “This unprecedented investment represents a major contribution to the Commission’s agenda of growth and job creations. Implementing the trans-European transport network could create up to 10 million jobs and increase Europe’s GDP by 1.8% by 2030.”

Cllr Matthew Balfour, who holds the environment and transport portfolio at Kent County Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Ashford, Kent and the wider south east economy because it means we will continue to have direct rail access to continental Europe. I’m delighted that months of hard work to address this crucial issue has paid-off. This signalling upgrade will ensure that Ashford continues to be served by international rail services, and opens the way for other operators to develop through services to Europe in the future.”

The council thinks that the scheme could help secure 1,000 jobs and attract 1,000 more, especially if Ashford attracts international services.  

Nicola Shaw, chief executive of HS1, echoed Cllr Balfour’s sentiment, saying: “This is very good news for Ashford International and the whole of Kent and I welcome the fact that the town will continue to benefit from excellent high speed rail services to the continent."

The other UK rail projects approved for funding were:

  • Improving the UK Core High Speed Rail Network: HS2 Phase 1 Ground Investigations study (Estimated cost: €78.4m. EU maximum contribution: €39.2m. Applicant: DfT)
  • Improving the UK Core Network: South Wales railway electrification study (Estimated cost: €8.1m. EU maximum contribution: €4.1m. Applicant: DfT)
  • Technical Equipment and Infrastructure Upgrade: Londonderry to Coleraine Rail Line (Estimated cost: €47.9m. EU maximum contribution: €14.4m. Applicant: DfT)
  • Improving London's Interconnections with the Core Network: Old Oak Common Study (Estimated cost: €8.1m. EU maximum contribution: €4m. Applicant: DfT)
  • Birmingham International Station Integrated TEN-T Transport Hub (Estimated cost: €1.75m. EU maximum contribution: €0.88m. Applicant: DfT)
  • EURO-HUB - Investing in an open access finished vehicle handling facility and interoperable rail equipment to accommodate high frequent corridor train services for faster and efficient just-in-time deliveries in the London/UK region (Estimated cost: €5.1m. EU maximum contribution: €1m. Applicant: DB Schenker Rail UK)
  • Bottleneck Alleviation and Cross Border Connectivity Works on a section of the North-Sea - Mediterranean Core Corridor Knockmore to Lurgan Rail Line (Estimated cost: €32.3m. EU maximum contribution: €9.7m. Applicant: DfT)

(Top image: Joshua Brown, Creative Commons)


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