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Council votes to save high speed rail services in Maidstone

By Luke May

Councillors have given fresh backing to protecting high speed rail services in and around Maidstone.

A motion was carried on Wednesday for the council to lend its full support for a continued high speed train link to Maidstone.

It comes after the Department for Transport stated bidders for the south eastern rail franchise will have the option to scrap the service Maidstone to St Pancras service when they take over from Southeastern in December.

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The Kent Messenger newspaper is calling on the Department for Transport to retain the much-valued high speed services from Maidstone West to London St Pancras.
The Kent Messenger newspaper is calling on the Department for Transport to retain the much-valued high speed services from Maidstone West to London St Pancras.

The motion, suggested by Labour, was seconded by Liberal Democrat councillor James Willis and supported by Tories in the council chamber.

Council leader Fran Wilson said: "The business community have taken this up in very strenuous terms, and it is one of those occasions where everyone is on the same page working together to see that we retain and improve these services to Maidstone.

"MPs are already doing it, the business community is already doing it, every single political party is already doing it, and so I'm very happy to support this.

"I just want everybody to know just how hard the entire community of Maidstone is working on this and we do need to have to keep the pressure up, happy to support it but lets not think that we're not doing all that we can, because we are."

The Kent Messenger newspaper is calling on the Department for Transport to retain the much-valued high speed services from Maidstone West to London St Pancras.
The Kent Messenger newspaper is calling on the Department for Transport to retain the much-valued high speed services from Maidstone West to London St Pancras.

Cllr James Willis, who has campaigned vehemently on rail issues in the area, called for the motion to put pressure on Thameslink to be delivered this year.

In November, the opening date of the cross-London service from Maidstone East to Cambridge was put back to December 2019.

Once running, trains would also stop at West Malling, Borough Green, Wrotham and Otford and would travel to popular City stations London Bridge, Blackfriars and St Pancras.

The Kent Messenger has set up an online petition to protect high speed rail services, which is available to view here.

The motion went on to call for high speed services to be offered during the day.

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