Minister puts Rail Services at Risk

The Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, has now confirmed residents’ fears about the future of rail services from Maidstone and Northwest Kent to London.

Instead of delivering more high-speed trains from Maidstone and Snodland to London St Pancras, Mr Grayling confirmed that only two services will be required in the morning and evening peaks. Alternatively, the existing high-speed trains could be dropped completely and replaced by a service to Abbey Wood where passengers would need to change to continue their journey on the Crossrail line.


In a recent letter to local MP, Helen Grant, the Secretary of State makes clear that the high-speed services could be axed once the Thameslink service from Maidstone becomes operational. The Thameslink service has also been delayed, till December 2019, and the Department of Transport has hinted that it may never arrive.


Rob Bird, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Kent, said: “Mr Grayling’s letter shows that, once again, the Government cannot be trusted to deliver the train services which had previously been promised for Kent.


“Hundreds of people are moving from London to the Maidstone area on the expectation that there will be good rail services to Central London. A thousand houses are promised at Peter’s village in Wouldham with fast rail links to London from Snodland station nearby. Think again.


“Yet again the Conservative Government have demonstrated that they do not understand that good public transport is critical for the residents and businesses of Kent. We hope Helen Grant and other Kent MPs will support our call for the Secretary of State to think again.”


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