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Government to announce investment in High Speed One train services to Thanet

The government has announced a £12m investment in High Speed One services to Thanet that will bring journey times down by 10 minutes.

The proposals will mean faster and more regular services to and from the area on HS1 services.

The investment will be welcomed by many who believe that the economic prospects for the area would be significantly enhanced with faster and more regular trains.

A high speed train
A high speed train

The scheme, which is being funded by the government and KCC's regional growth fund and Network Rail, is designed to help businesses, create jobs and support the local economy.

It is hoped High Speed journey times from London to Thanet will be reduced from 71 minutes in peak times to 63 minutes.

Plans include changes to the track, and improvements to bridges, signalling and level crossings to help increase the current maximum speed of 70mph to 80mph or more.

"This upgrade to our high-speed service is of enormous importance to Thanet..." - Laura Sandys MP

Work on the Canterbury to Ashford secion is expected to be complete by 2016, and the Ramsgate to Canterbury section by 2019.

The news triggered a claim by the Ukip party leader Nigel Farage that it was his presence as an election candidate in Thanet that had forced the government to act.

In a tweet posted last night, he said: "Tomorrow the govt will announce an extension of HS1 to Thanet. Great news which would never have happened if I weren't the candidate there!"

Laura Sandys, MP for Thanet South, said: “This upgrade to our high-speed service is of enormous importance to Thanet, opening up a whole new range of economic opportunities for our area.

"Before my election, local residents told me that they felt left at the end of the line. We have fought tirelessly to change this and worked hard to secure Government funding for Thanet.

"I am absolutely thrilled that with this, journey times are now being reduced which will open the doors to more investment and more visitors. This is a huge win for Thanet."

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has welcomed the plans
Ukip leader Nigel Farage has welcomed the plans

Cllr Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council, said: "This is more good news for east Kent. It brings east Kent closer to London, bringing prosperity and investment to this region. The Thanet Parkway Station will add further momentum."

The investment comes with just weeks to go before polling day and the announcement comes before rules on "purdah" come into effect.

These rules forbid any announcements by the government and others about policy proposals that could be construed as giving electoral advantages to particular parties and candidates.

Mr Farage added: "The fact is the government is very worried about the political situation in Thanet and not least because politically, things are changing very rapidly in Thanet. The government will in a sense try to buy off the electorate."

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