Mon, 21 Jul 08

Asking South Eastern about the high speed trains

I noticed, having already written everything below, that there’s actually quite a lot of information about the high speed proposals on the South Eastern wikipedia page.

There’s been lots of speculation about the new high speed trains that are going to decrease journey times from, parts of, Kent to London. The south eastern site is very sparse on the details of these new services so I thought I’d email them to ask for more details: I’m specifically interested in journey times from Ramsgate to London. I shouldn’t be surprised, but their answer contains essentially no information.

I mentioned to a signal man friend at the weekend and he was of the impression that they’d be running fast services direct from Ramsgate to St Pancras and from Canterbury to St Pancras. I’ll guess we’ll just have to wait a year or so to find out what they’re actually going to do.

My email (submitted through their contact form)

Hi,

I wonder if you’d be able to let me know your plans for services between Ramsgate and London when the new high speed trains are introduced? Although there’s been a great deal of speculation about a high speed service between Ramsgate and St Pancras, I’ve never seen anything concrete. Indeed, from what I’ve read so far, I’m guessing that there won’t be a direct high speed link between Ramsgate and London (I’d love to hear otherwise though). Rather, I suspect that it’ll be possible to get a traditional train from Ramsgate to Ashford and then to join a high speed train to St Pancras (so the journey time will be about 77 minutes on the train with a change at Ashford). Is this the plan?

I also wonder if you might shed some light on the proposed price increases to use the new high speed service?

Cheers, and I look forward to a reply,

Chris

And their response (original, and page 2)

Ref: 329980 / 99573

16 July 2008

Dear Mr Roos,

HS1 services

Thank you for your website comment that we received on 10 July 2008, regarding the high speed services that will commence in 2009.

We will be introducing services on HS1 (the new name for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link) from December 2009 and the timetable for our existing ‘classic’ routes will be re-drawn completely.

Services using HS1 will go to London’s St Pancras station and journey times from places like Ashford, Folkestone, Canterbury, Ramsgate and Dover will be significantly reduced. We understand that many people are keen to know exactly what the timetable and fares will be, but I hope you will understand that this is still at the planning stage and the details are yet to be finalised.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has set out the overarching specification for the timetable that we will deliver. We are currently reviewing this specification and have started to test the journey times with the first of the new trains. Once we are able to share the detail of the timetable we will communicate it to customers via our website and the media. As with any other timetable change, we will be consulting with Passenger Focus and London TravelWatch, the two main passenger watchdogs before the timetable is introduced. So if a strong economic argument for a particular service can be demonstrated, and the railway industry can accommodate it, we would present a business case to the DtT to support its introduction.

ln the meantime, our website does have some details about the proposed journey times and routes. This can be located on our homepage by clicking on “High Speed Services” on the left hand side and then “Frequency of trains”.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us.

Yours sincerely

Russell L. D’Eath

Customer Relations Ofticer

Southeastern