Kent warns "Get it right!"

Contributed by editor on Dec 13, 2004 - 11:21 AM


On the eve of the expected announcement by the Strategic Rail Authority of the new Integrated Kent Franchise specification for services, Kent County Council has warned "Get it right!"

The council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration Alex King, met yesterday with SRA Chairman David Quarmby to press Kent's case.

The route to Folkestone through Ashford  International is vital to the economy of Shepway and local commuters are looking forward to a journey time to the capital of less than an hour.

Mr King said: "The SRA has got to get this right. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get the rail services we desperately need in this county and which will be able to cope with future needs.

"The proposed Channel Rail Link domestic services must serve Dover, Thanet, Manston Airport and Sittingbourne. Existing services to London Victoria, Charing Cross and Cannon Street - in particular from mid, north and west Kent - have got to be maintained as well as a good service to the rural and smaller stations.

"We are very concerned that if services from stations in Maidstone and the Medway Towns are cut, commuters are going to drive to Ebbsfleet. This would cause huge problems on Kent's stressed road network. Domestic services on the CTRL must come on line as soon as possible."

The Integrated Kent Franchise services specification is expected to be announced by Christmas.