Howard pressing government on fast rail link for Folkestone decision

Contributed by editor on Oct 28, 2004 - 04:18 PM


Michael Howard, Member of Parliament for Folkestone and Hythe, has welcomed the announcement by the Secretary of State for Transport of a preferred manufacturer, Hitachi, to build new high-speed rolling stock to run domestic services o­n the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

He has been pressing the Secretary of State to make a decision o­n the opening of domestic services o­n the High Speed Rail Link and at the opening of the HSRL more than a year ago o­n 16 September 2003, Mr Howard publicly asked Mr Darling for a decision o­n the opening of domestic services and was told that a decision could be expected shortly.

Following a letter raising the matter o­nce more Mr Howard was assured in a reply from the Secretary of State o­n 27 October 2004 that, “Later in the Autumn the Strategic Rail Authority will be issuing an invitation to tender to run the IKF franchise to the 4 pre-qualified companies. The SRA will also be publishing a stakeholder briefing pack and announcing the full IKF service pattern.â€?

Mr Howard said: “Although I am pleased that we are o­ne step closer to the opening of domestic services o­n the High Speed Rail Link, it is still not clear whether or not Folkestone will be included in the route. I am urging the Strategic Rail Authority and the Department for Transport to include Folkestone in their plans. I have discussed this with the Transport Secretary who has told me that a decision will be announced within weeks.â€?