Ashford knocked off track by Eurostar cut-backs

Contributed by editor on Sep 19, 2006 - 07:30 AM


A reduction in the number of London-to-Paris and London-to-Brussels trains that stop in Ashford has caused community leaders in the growth area to rethink expansion.

The Kent town was anticipating a continued boom thanks to the 22 daily stops at the Ashford station by Eurostar trains, the Times said on Saturday (16 September). But the company announced this week that the number of daily stops would be reduced to four and they would end all direct lines to Brussels.

Ashford had expected to double in size over the next 25 years, the Times reported, anticipating 50,000 more residents, 31,000 new homes and 28,000 new jobs.

Eurostar's London terminus will move from Waterloo station to St. Pancras in the autumn of 2007, shifting the focus to an international station at nearby Ebbsfleet, the Times said. Eurostar expects about two-thirds of Ashford's 500,000 passengers will switch to the new station.

Transportation analysts have speculated that Ashford eventually could lose all international rail services, the Times said.