Latest Rail News

01.04.14

High-speed trains heading to Hastings

Infrastructure improvements that would allow Javelin trains to run between Hastings and London, which would slash journey times, have been given the green light by the transport secretary.

Patrick McLoughlin made the surprise announcement during yesterday’s Hastings Rail Summit convened by Amber Rudd MP. 

Currently, electrification (third rail) from Hastings towards Ashford only reaches as far as Ore, the first station. To enable the new service, Network Rail would need to electrify the Marshlink line between Ore and Ashford, raise the line's maximum speed, extend the passing loop at Rye, and remodel the western junctions at Ashford to create a connection between the Marshlink line and HS1. 

Dave Ward, Network Rail’s route managing director for the south east, committed to develop the project during CP5 and to “build the partnership with stakeholders needed to deliver the project” in early CP6, which begins in 2019.

Campaigners say that running Javelin trains between London St Pancras and Bexhill via Ashford International would cut journey times between the capital and Hastings to 68 minutes, compared to over 100 minutes (via Tonbridge) in the peak today.

Rudd,the MP for Hastings and Rye, who has been spearheading the campaign to upgrade rail services for Hastings, said: “We are now firmly on the journey to vastly improved rail travel to and from Hastings.”

Roger Blake of campaign group Railfuture also welcomed the news. “This is a phenomenal success for East Sussex, which will stimulate economic growth in Hastings. With our support, the county council have secured the first of two priorities in their new Rail Action Plan within six months of publishing it. 

“We will continue to work in partnership with East Sussex, Kent and Brighton and Hove, and the Local Enterprise Partnership, to ensure that this promise is delivered and to achieve East Sussex's second priority of electrifying the Uckfield line and reopening from Uckfield to Lewes, enabling through services from London via the Weald to Brighton and Sussex coast destinations.”

However, Network Rail spokesman Chris Denham said: “We are developing the project over the next few years, including examining the business case. An important part of that includes securing funding, which has not yet been found.”

It has been suggested that Network Rail could look for funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

The DfT has not yet responded to RTM’s request for comment.

(Image L to R: Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, Amber Rudd MP, and Railfuture member Roger Blake)

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Melvyn   14/04/2014 at 23:12

Just noticed the date of this article !

RTM   15/04/2014 at 08:47

Melvyn - we briefly worried about that too, but no, the original announcement was made on 31 March!

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