Published: 00:01, 31 March 2014
Kent's long-suffering commuters are to gain from a £2.3bn investment in the region's rail network.
Faster routes to London, new signalling and a new station for Rochester are among the projects due to be started from this week - following a 50% rise in passengers over the last 10 years.
A £147m project to replace signalling on the railway around the Medway towns will also kick in soon, thanks to investment from Network Rail.
A new station will be built at Rochester, which will allow 12-car trains to stop there for the first time.
A new platform will also be built at Rainham.
Other investment programmes for the county in the next five years include a £10m line speed improvement scheme to the Ramsgate to Ashford route; upgrades to the railway power supply to cope with extra and more powerful trains, and a continuing programme to improve stations, including Maidstone East and Strood.
Sevenoaks passengers will also benefit from the £6bn Thameslink programme, aimed to untangle the routes to and through London Bridge.
Network Rail’s managing director for South East route, Dave Ward, said: "The growth we are managing now is phenomenal - Southeastern and Southern already run more than 2,000 trains each every day - and this has given us a real opportunity to improve the railway in Kent, Sussex and south-east London.
"We have a great responsibility to passengers who rely on us and their operators to carry them home safely and reliably every day, and we can only continue to do that by improving existing routes and upgrading our technology."
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