Home   Weald   News   Article

Government responds to consultation about cutting services between Tonbridge and Ashford

By Claire McWethy

The government has reassured commuters no rural stations will be axed - but cuts to services may still be on the cards.

More than 11,000 people signed a petition against proposals to reduce stops between Tonbridge and Ashford, to deliver an hourly fast service connecting the two towns.

It comes after the Department for Transport held a consultation on possible improvements to the rail network, while also looking to find the next operator for the region when Southeastern’s franchise expires in December 2018.

Marden is among the intermediate stations that could see fewer train services

Marden is among the intermediate stations that could see fewer train services

If the plans were to go ahead, it would mean fewer trains serving Pluckley, Headcorn, Staplehurst, Marden, and Paddock Wood, and commuters fear that could eventually lead to services being cancelled altogether.

Responding to commuters’ fears in a statement this week, the government ruled out shutting any stations, adding: “If service to certain intermediate stops were reduced, hourly fast services could be created between key destinations, offering faster journey times.

"All intermediate stations would continue to be served by at least an hourly service. We are not proposing to stop services to or from any station.

“The Department for Transport recognises that this has the potential to inconvenience passengers that currently use those intermediate stations. Any changes would therefore only be made if passengers overall benefitted, and travellers from lesser-used stations were not unduly disadvantaged.”

The consultation proposes cutting services to rural stations

The consultation proposes cutting services to rural stations

However, Kent County Council has urged the government to go a step further, and rule out axing any rural stops.

In its response to the consultation, the authority said: “The Ashford to London via Tonbridge service would need to retain its current stopping pattern to reflect the growth in demand at intermediate stations on this route.

If Maidstone Borough Council’s draft Local Plan is approved 1,580 homes will be built in Headcorn,Staplehurst and Marden alone, creating greater demand for an already well used service.

The public consultation ended on June 30 and the conclusions will be published in the autumn.

Join the debate...
Comments |

Don't have an account? Please Register first!

The KM Group does not moderate comments. Please click here for our house rules.

People who post abusive comments about other users or those featured in articles will be banned.

Thank you. Your comment has been received and will appear on the site shortly.

 

Terms of Comments
We do not actively moderate, monitor or edit contributions to the reader comments but we may intervene and take such action as we think necessary, please click here for our house rules. If you have any concerns over the contents on our site, please either register those concerns using the report abuse button, contact us here, email multimediadesk@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 01634 227989.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More