EARLY RISERS: Three of Thanet’s politicians welcome the arrival of the new high speed train from Ramsgate. From left, Thanet council boss Sandy Ezekiel, Thanet South MP Steven Ladyman and deputy leader Roger Latchford
THERE was a new dawn in transport for Thanet yesterday (Monday) as commuters boarded two high speed trains bound for Kings Cross St Pancras.
Passengers heading for a day in the city, were treated to spacious seating with ample leg room and a squeaky clean modern interior.
Train company Southeastern has spent £258 million on 29 bullet-nosed high speed trains called 395s. The new preview service at 6am and 7.05am from Ramsgate will run up until the full service launch in December 2009. Southeastern boss, Charles Horton, said: “We always hoped we could expand the preview service and thanks to the success of the first weeks we are now in a position to do this. We want as many people as possible to be able to experience the service before the full timetable is introduced in December.”
Thanet South MP Steve Ladyman, who was up early to welcome the new train for the first time, said: “I think this new train is going to be fabulous new for Thanet and it will open up a new route into London. Once the new rail link is in place, I reckon I’ll be able to get to Parliament in one hour and 35 minutes.”
The new service is expected to attract more commuters to the area could have a positive effect on house prices and tourism.
Dr Ladyman, added: “When the calculations were done about the journey by Southeastern for their business model it did indicate a change of clientele using the service. I guess if you’ve moved to Thanet to get to Charing Cross you will use the old service but this new link could attract more people to the area.”
Only 25 commuters boarded the first train but Ramsgate station manager Steve Bowen remained optimistic.
He said: “I think you can see it has attracted some interest. I reckon 25 people got on the train which is a promising start as the regular 6.12am into London gets the same number.”
Thanet council boss Sandy Ezekiel, who jumped on the train with deputy leader Roger Latchford, said: “This is excellent news and just the sort of investment we’ve been waiting for. It opens up the potential for Manston airport and China Gateway and moves Thanet into the commuter belt.”
The new preview service will radically improve journey times saving 49 minutes on the average commute from Ramsgate. For more information go to www.southeasternrailway.co.uk.