Published: 12:22, 21 February 2013
by Chris Price
A frustrated commuter from Herne Bay has called on Southeastern to put its foot down on journeys to London.
Tim Waltham, of Conyngham Road, Beltinge, has recorded the time it takes to travel to various cities from London – and was stunned when comparing it to travel times from Herne Bay to the capital.
The 68-mile journey takes an hour and 34 minutes but some commutes of nearly twice that distance get to the capital faster.
Mr Waltham turned on the GPS on his phone and worked out the average speed from Herne Bay to London was just 45mph.
It comes in a week when a survey for Which? put Southeastern among the four least popular train operators in the country.
Mr Waltham said: “When you start comparing different places and how long it takes, it shows you how slow the line from Herne Bay is.
“It takes the same time to get to the other side of the country as from Herne Bay to London.
“Since we have had the high- speed line, the ordinary train stops at more of the little stations on the way to London – all the tiny stations which no one gets on at. That’s my perception.
“We have got a high-speed train, but we should get them on the Trade Descriptions Act because it is not high speed where we are.
“You have to get on a Faversham and it only becomes high speed once it gets to Ebbsfleet.
“They are talking about putting a high-speed train from London to Birmingham but it is already quicker to get from London to Birmingham than from London to Herne Bay.”
A journey from Derby to London, nearly twice the distance of Herne Bay at 128 miles, comes in three minutes faster at one hour 31 minutes.
Peterborough, which is 84 miles away, takes just 45 minutes, while Bath Spa, 114 miles away, takes just one hour and 24 minutes.
Part of the reason trains are slower in Kent is that the North Kent mainline is only dual tracked.
That means operator Southeastern cannot run parallel fast and stopping services – unlike all other train operating companies serving London.
Proposals to reduce journey times by removing stops at Longfield and Meopham were overwhelmingly rejected with more than 600 objections from passengers.
Southeastern spokesman Alison Nolan said: “A semi-fast train from London to Birmingham will call at just three stations. However a train from Victoria to Herne Bay will call at between 10 and 15 stations. The stopping pattern is stipulated by the Department for Transport – not Southeastern.”