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High speed train timetable revealed between Ashford, Folkestone and London

By Robert Barman

Bullet train file pic

A draft of the timetable for high-speed services to London from east Kent has been seen by the Kentish Express, revealing journey times of under 40 minutes from Ashford to the capital.

And the fares premium will be 20 per cent, as opposed to the 30 per cent some people had feared would be imposed.

The villages of Sturry and Minster will get a high-speed service off-peak, but Sandling and Wye remain without.

Passengers travelling from Ebbsfleet to London will pay a premium of 35 per cent, but passengers from Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Ashford will pay the 20 per cent.

This will apply for the section of the journey on the high-speed line and not the whole route.

Fares could be frozen this year as negative inflation is predicted for this summer, when the fares are set.

Southeastern's fares structure is set at three per cent above the Retail Price Index, and deflation is expected to be minus three per cent.

According to the draft timetable, commuters from Folkestone West will get to Stratford (for Docklands Light Railway and Jubilee line) in 40 minutes and St Pancras in 57 minutes in the morning peak.

For instance, the 0708 from Dover picks up at Folkestone Central at 0720, Folkestone West at 0722, joins a service from Margate and leaves Ashford at 0743, arriving at Stratford at 0812 and St Pancras at 0819.

Folkestone and Kent County Cllr Susan Carey, who was the high speed rail consultant to the Channel Tunnel and was British Rail’s first woman station manager, said: "I think it is great, although tinged with disappointment that we didn’t get Sandling a service, but it is good news, and very good for Folkestone.

"In Folkestone and Dover we understand what a real difference these trains are going to make to our areas now we have the plan."

In the peak hours when trains join at Ashford, some services have up to 11 minutes allowed for the operation, although others are quicker.

Thus, passengers on the 0715 from Canterbury will arrive in Ashford at 0732 and then sit still until 0743, when it will have been joined by a Dover train.

Hourly off-peak high-speed trains do not join but go straight through, giving Ashford a half-hourly service to St Pancras at 13 and 43 minutes past the hour, with a journey time of 38 minutes.

Only off-peak trains call at Ebbsfleet, so early morning Eurostars will still not be feasible for those travelling by train.

Sample off-peak journeys:

Margate 0953, Broadstairs 0959, Ramsgate 1005, Canterbury West 1025, Ashford 1043, Ebbsfleet 1103, Stratford 1115 and St Pancras 1121.

Or Dover 0944, Folkestone Central 0956, Folkestone West 0958, Ashford 1013, Ebbsfleet 1033, Stratford 1045, St Pancras 1051.

Return services run to similar timings during the peaks and otherwise.

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