Rail chiefs have confirmed that regular high speed services will continue from Deal after it emerged the Southeastern rail franchise would be extended. The number of services between Deal and London faced being reduced in the new franchise – while a timetable consultation has also been underway.
The new franchise specifications state a minimum of 12 high speed trains per day in each direction must stop at Deal and Sandwich. There are currently 14 high speed calls to London and 17 in the other direction.
I argued against the reduction in talks with rail minister Andrew Jones – and made further representations in a meeting with Southeastern Managing Director David Statham. Mr Statham has now confirmed the new timetable proposes no changes to High Speed services from Deal.
I have fought really hard to make sure we keep the number of high speed services we currently have. It's welcome that the high speed services from Deal, Walmer and Martin Mill will not change during the franchise extension. We had a long battle to get the fast train sweeping in all day, every day. It's made such a positive impact on Deal. We need to make sure that carries on.
More recently we've pressed rail bosses to improve Deal station and to act on antisocial behaviour. They need to get a grip on it so it is an even greater place to visit and travel to.