Published: 00:01, 17 July 2014 |
Updated: 17:23, 17 July 2014
The train giant’s head of public affairs, Pierre Delalande, revealed details about the new route at a recent Ashford Borough Council meeting.
The line will run from St Pancras, via Ashford, to the city of Marseille and is expected to launch from May 2015.
It comes as the high speed service reports a slowing of growth and revenues, put down to the "World Cup effect".
Mr Delalande said: “We plan to increase our level of new destinations from May next year.
“We will launch a new service to Marseille which will indeed stop in Ashford. It will be an all-year-round service.”
It is understood the line to Marseille, the second largest city in France, from the UK will be seamless, with no changes.
However, the return journey will be semi-direct and will see a change in Lille, due to immigration issues.
On this matter, Mr Delalande said: “We would love to have a direct return journey but we have to follow immigration policy.”
Although the service will run all year, trains will not stop every day in Ashford, with more running during peak times and fewer in the winter months.
Ticket sales are expected to open as early as December, with the first departure planned for May. It is unknown how long the rail journey would take.
Councillors embraced news of the planned new route.
Godinton ward member Cllr Bernard Heyes (Con), who is the ABC portfolio holder for transportation, highways and engineering, said: “I welcome the news of a new service to Marseille.
"I would also like to see more trains stopping in Ashford that go to both Paris and Lille, as well as Brussels.”
Park Farm south member, Cllr Jim Wedgbury (Con) said: “I also welcome the new route to Marseille. I recently flew to France via Ryanair and the flights are full.
“It will be good to give them competition.”
Mr Delalande added: “We’re hoping by next year to have more visibility on stopping patterns and journey times but don’t have these details at the moment.”
Planning and development portfolio holder Cllr David Robey (Con) said: “It is important to have more routes from Ashford to Europe.
"Especially with the planned expansion of the Designer Outlet, which is hoping to increase its visitors from three million a year to seven million a year.”
Don't miss out, subscribe today. Keep up to date with our newsletters.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Find out what's going on in the garden, with Kent expert Lucy Hewett's weekly update.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.