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Articles: Folkestone high speed link

Contributed by localrags on Oct 20, 2003 - 08:48 AM

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<FONT face=Arial color=black size=4>CONSULTATIONS BEGIN ON HIGH SPEED LINK FOR FOLKESTONE<IMG alt="High speed link" hspace=20 src="images/railway.jpg" align=right vspace=20 border=1>

Folkestone will get a high speed rail link to London if proposals in the Strategic Rail Authority's (SRA) initial consultation document published today (20 October) are given the go ahead.

The Integrated Kent Franchise (IKF), will provide rail services to Kent, South East London and parts of Sussex from early 2005. The Medway towns are also included in the plan.

The consultation is part of an ongoing process to select a new private-sector operator for the franchise, and to take account of local and regional views on the service to be offered.

The document sets out the transport, demographic and planning context to the new franchise, and the process and timescales for the competition and reports on the SRA's consultation o­n services for Kent o­n the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), held earlier this year, and further SRA appraisal that has taken place since then.

Importantly it proposes that these CTRL 'domestic services', if approved by the Secretary of State for Transport, should operate to Ebbsfleet, through the Medway towns, and to Ashford and East Kent.

Proposals have been made for a a fundamental recasting of service patterns that have remained largely unchanged since electrification of the routes 40 years ago. The revised pattern of services, which is hoped to be implemented in 2007, is explained as the best way to provide an integrated and affordable franchise that could include new domestic services on the CTRL.

Richard Bowker, SRA Chairman, said: "We have a unique opportunity to develop a new model franchise for people in Kent and South-East London, reflecting current and future needs rather than patterns set 40 years ago.

"In adopting our new-style franchise contract, the Integrated Kent Franchise will bring a much better focus o­n the needs of passengers - punctuality, information, security, cleanliness. We are seeking to develop a value-for-money and affordable way to introduce services o­n the CTRL as part of the new franchise. If secured, these would offer additional benefits for many passengers including faster journey times."