Kent Rail Summit – held online October 2022
The 14th Kent County Council rail summit took place recently and was chaired by David Brazier from KCC. Speakers were from South Eastern and Network Rail plus KCC. More than 60 people attended the summit covering rail user groups and local authorities.
Principal headlines –
December 22 timetable
Train calling patterns changing to reflect current demand
Different recovery patterns noted for peak and off peak travel
Season ticket revenue down by two thirds, commuter travel has changed
Will remove first class travel to maximise available seating
Standardise train service across the day with additional peak services
Improve Cannon Street service levels via Tonbridge
Fleet upgrade planned
Access for all scheme
Stations on our line, Battle and High Brooms, part of a 22 station submission to the Department for Transport, for funding in next NR control period commencing April 2024
Tunbridge Wells to Hastings – lines completely closed in both directions from 22nd October to 30th October (nine days) to facilitate work principally at the Wadhurst tunnel but at several other sites along the route
KCC maintaining pressure on Eurostar to re-instate Ashford stop (currently put back from next year until 2024)
Submission made by KCC to the Transport for the south east (non- statutory body) regarding rail connectivity with new retail / housing developments
KCC supports a direct rail link to Gatwick
New Thanet Parkway station to open in May 2023
December Timetable Change
Southeasterm have published what our timetable will be as of 11th December. Note they are still not consulting on changes; they are making adjustments as they see fit. Some lines (Hayes and Woolwich) have lost their choice of Charing Cross or Cannon Street services. For now, we have kept our Cannon Street trains, but they have had stops at Chelsfield added (which we could see as a fair price to pay for keeping the through service).
In the morning peak, it is mainly matter of stops being moved from one service to another.
The evening peak sees re-instatement of th 18.26 Cannon St - Hastings, which is a welcome improvement. The rest, as in the morning, is a matter of changing intermediate stops. After the peak, removal of Orpington stops from some Charing Cross - Hastings services is an improvement.
Most trains are adjusted to leave 10 or so minutes later or earlier, so it will be necessary to check your specific ones. Here is a summary of what has happened; times quoted are the new times:
Key: CX=Charing Cross, CS=Cannon St.
Finally, first class is being withdrawn. Southeastern were not interested in making extra money pretty much for nothing, so it has had its day. A broader view on all these changes, including disgruntlement at the lack of consultation is here: https://www.railwaygazette.com/uk/southeastern-scraps-first-class-in-timetable-revision-to-meet-changed-demand/62657.article
Transport for the South East Consultation
Transport for the South East are holding a consultation on their Strategic Investment Plan (https://transportforsoutheast.uk.engagementhq.com/transport-for-the-south-east-strategic-investment-plan-consultation ). This is a key document that will influence transport investment in the region.
We have responded in support of all the proposals that will benefit rail users in our area. These are summarised below (the reference being that in the TfSE report). It is encouraging to see such forward thinking, although it could be some time before any of them materialise.