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Relief for parents as rail firm says school train to Sandwich will continue

By Eleanor Perkins

Fears that a school rush-hour train service would be cancelled have been allayed after a computer glitch was blamed for the scare.

Rail operator Southeastern has confirmed its 7.42am Dover to Ramsgate train is not being scrapped after worried parents from Sir Roger Manwood’s and Sandwich Tech contacted MP Charlie Elphicke.

The panic erupted after Sir Roger Manwood’s sent out an email to parents after an online timetable said Southeastern would cancel the service, which arrives in Sandwich at about 8.10am.

Train services are disrupted. Stock picture
Train services are disrupted. Stock picture

The same day, Mr Elphicke wrote to the train company’s chief executive, David Statham, expressing “serious concern” about why the service must be kept.

He said: “Several extremely worried parents have contacted me over Southeastern’s plans. They say the effect of cancelling the service would be disastrous.

“They are rightly worried about how it could seriously disrupt their child’s education.

“Clearly this vital service must be kept running.”

But by 3pm the same day, Southeastern had contacted the school and Mr Elphicke to explain the service would remain, and the error was due to a computer glitch.

Southeastern spokesman John Staples said: “This train has not been cancelled, nor was it ever intended to be cancelled.

“Unfortunately, a computer glitch has shown it as cancelled in our system, and we apologise for the confusion this has caused.

“When the sea wall was damaged at Dover this train stopped at Folkestone, but once this line reopened on September 5 the train continued its normal route to Ramsgate, stopping at all stations in between.

“However, our computer system did not update this.

“We are pleased to say that this train is still running and we have contacted the local school and Mr Elphicke to inform them of this.”

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