Travel Times Slashed as KCC Brings High Speed Rail to Sandwich and Deal

Rail travellers from Sandwich and Deal will have a new High Speed Rail Service from 3 October 2011 thanks to the support of Kent County Council.

The new High Speed Rail Service aims to boost business confidence and support new employment opportunities in the area at the same time as Pfizer withdraws from its Sandwich site.

At the Kent Rail Summit at County Hall,(on Wednesday 27 April) Leader of Kent County Council and Chairman of the Sandwich Economic Development Task Force Paul Carter announced KCC’s support for the new peak service for rail travellers from Sandwich and Deal which will slash the journey time to London to approximately 90 minutes.

It will provide 3 High Speed trains to London in the morning leaving Sandwich at 0551, 0617 and 0647 and calling at Deal 5 minutes later. Trains will return from St Pancras at 1740 and 1840.

The new service will build on the High Speed connections to be provided by Southeastern for the Open Golf Championship in Sandwich, in July, and was a specific recommendation of the recent report to Ministers by the Sandwich Economic Development Task Force.

The cost of this new service is approximately £151,000, but costs will reduce the more that the services are used. KCC is also lobbying the Department for Transport for an exemption to the current franchise agreement which will make further savings on the cost.

KCC Leader and Chairman of the Sandwich Economic Development Task Force Paul Carter stated:

“Journey times to Sandwich and Deal will be slashed by the introduction of this new High Speed service which will provide an immediate boost to business and job prospects in the area and has long been called for by local residents.

“We’ve worked closely with Southeastern, local MPs and Dover District Council to secure the service at minimum cost. At a time of exceptional need for the area with the exit of Pfizer in 2012, we were determined to provide new high speed links which would support local businesses and attract new investment into the area. It’s great news and a real boost to Sandwich and Deal.”

Paul Carter continued:

“KCC has pump-primed the service and it is now up to local businesses and residents to take full advantage of this new service.

“As service use grows the potential to extend it to provide a full timetable throughout the day will be a real possibility which will boost local business prospects still further.”

Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke added:

“I have campaigned hard for this rail upgrade and worked closely with KCC. I am delighted that High Speed trains will now stop at Sandwich and Deal.

“KCC has done a great job in cracking this deal which has long been called for by local residents and will be a real boost for local business.”

MP for Thanet South and Sandwich Economic Development Task Force member Laura Sandys concluded:

“Pfizer’s announcement in February to leave Sandwich by the end of 2012 was a massive blow and we have been doing all we can to bring new employment opportunities to the area.

“This new high speed service is a tremendous incentive for new investment and business to locate here and great news for local people.”

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