Published: 18:37, 26 February 2020
| Updated: 16:48, 27 February 2020
A Kent MP has called out the prime minister for further delays to a major rail development between Maidstone and the capital.
Laura Trott (Con), the MP for Sevenoaks, during Prime Minister's Questions today asked Boris Johnson about the repeated delays to the high speed service from Maidstone East.
Ms Trott said: "It’s delivering for the people so I'm sure the Prime Minister shares my concerns about the delay in the delivery in the Maidstone East line - which runs through my constituency and others. Will the Prime Minister intervene to ensure there are no further delays in this vital railway line?"
Mr Johnson replied: "In addition to the £48billion we are putting into the railway, the secretary for transport (Grant Shapps) has indicated to me that those connections are his highest priority."
Tom Moran, managing director of Thameslink, said: “We are fully committed to bringing in a full, all-day service for passengers at Maidstone East.
"Working together as an industry, Govia Thameslink Railway and Network Rail, in close collaboration with Southeastern and the Department for Transport, are bringing in new technologies and extra infrastructure to enable the introduction of these services as quickly as possible without affecting reliability for the thousands of passengers who currently depend on our services every day.”
A spokesperson for Network Rail said: “We are continuing to assess options to enhance services from Maidstone East, some of which are affected by the position of the Southeastern franchise. Further clarity will be provided prior to April in relation to the Southeastern franchise.”
There are also concerns over the future of the high speed service at Maidstone West.
A new franchise is due to be announced in April 2020 leaving the future of the service uncertain.
The service to St Pancras could be scrapped in favour of an alternative route to Abbey Wood, where passengers could continue their journey into the city via Crossrail.
This was met by backlash from commuters and politicians. The service, of which there are three every weekday morning and evening, takes just 52 minutes.
The Kent Messenger ran a petition against scrapping the service which was signed by more than 2,000 people in 2018.
More by this authorLiane Castle