Time for Shapps to deliver Thameslink

The Thameslink service from Bearsted, Maidstone East and West Malling to Central London is long overdue. New Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, should ensure the service becomes operational in December, as promised by his predecessor, Chris Grayling, last October.

The Thameslink service had first been proposed when the Maidstone East to London Cannon Street service was withdrawn in December 2009. Thameslink is due to provide a fast service every ½ hour into Central London and on to Cambridge. This is absolutely vital for the residents and businesses based in Kent's County Town.

Last September Rob Bird, Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Maidstone Central County Councillor, wrote to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport. Mr Grayling's reply confirmed that Thameslink would be operational from December 2019.

Since then there have been numerous rumours about Thameslink being postponed again because of capacity issues. And concern has been fuelled by the failure of Government ministers to repeat Mr Grayling's earlier promise.

Rob Bird wrote to Chris Grayling again in May asking him to reconfirm that Thameslink would be running in May. Despite several chasers, no reply was received.

Last week the new Conservative PM Boris Johnson appointed Grant Shapps as Secretary of State for Transport, replacing Chris Grayling.

Rob Bird has written to Mr Shapps asking him to confirm that Maidstone will have operational Thameslink services by December.

Rob commented: "Let's hope that Grant Shapps is better at delivering his promises than the hapless Chris Grayling. Maidstone needs the Thameslink service urgently. Local rail users have had enough of being let down by Tory ministers."

Click here to sign the Liberal Democrat petition calling on Grant Shapps to ensure that Thameslink services are running from Maidstone in December 2019.