High-speed rail group ‘more confident’ by detailed plans

The high speed rail working group at its latest meeting at the House of Commons. Photo courtesy of Amber Rudd SUS-161220-155425001
The high speed rail working group at its latest meeting at the House of Commons. Photo courtesy of Amber Rudd SUS-161220-155425001

A working group tasked with bringing high-speed rail to 1066 country was made more confident of succeeding after hearing more detailed plans at its latest meeting.

MPs, councillors, business owners and campaigners were told about a raft of measures to cut journey times to London by nearly 40 minutes by Network Rail at the House of Commons on December 14.

The plans would be outlined in Network Rail’s draft Kent Route Study in the new year with the hope to introduce them from December, 2018.

This was a really positive meeting,” Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merrman said.

“We heard that with the increasing availability of new technology to dual-fuel state-of-the-art trains like the Javelin, the high speed rail proposal for Bexhill and Hastings now has an even stronger business case.

“A new high speed rail link to London will also help to address the growing capacity issues for the south east rail network.

“With so many points in its favour, I am confident that our campaign to bring high speed rail to East Sussex will be achieved.”

Reductions in journey times would be delivered by new rolling stock able to travel faster over both electrified and non-electrified track with greater capacity, running from London St Pancras to Bexhill.

As well as improvements to the Marshlink line and changes to the track around Ashford station to allow for direct trains to the capital.

This will be coordinated with the forthcoming Southeastern franchising process in two years time to enable a joined-up approach to delivering improved services in the region.

Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd said: “This was a very encouraging meeting. We heard, in the greatest detail so far, what improvements can be made to deliver high speed services to our area.”

The project was heralded as a ‘game-changer’ for 1066 country with anticipated benefits for businesses, commuters and tourism, worth an estimated £350m to the local economy.

Ms Rudd added: “This project could bring enormous benefits to our communities, boosting growth and regeneration, and offering people much greater opportunities for work and travel.”

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