High Speed One – Gale questions PM - 13th January 2012
North Thanet`s MP, Sir Roger Gale, has again raised the need to upgrade the rail line between Ashford and Thanet in order to enable High Speed trains to run fully fast between London and East Kent.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Question Time this week the MP congratulated the Government on its courage in determining to progress the High Speed Two project. Gale then went on to ask David Cameron to
now turn his attention to some unfinished business left on the shelf by the last Labour Government. The High Speed One Rail services effectively only runs fast between St. Pancras and Ashford. Will the Prime Minister recognise the need to push through this service to Thanet so that East Kent can benefit from the economic advantages (of high speed trains) that will in the future be enjoyed by Birmingham and the North”.
Replying, the Prime Minister said that he would look into the matter and pointed to HS1 as an example of rail travel connecting the South with the North of England.
After the exchange Roger Gale said:
Immediately after PMQs I wrote to the Prime Minister to clarify the manner in which HS1 does not, at present, serve East Kent and the deleterious effect that this service has had upon the so-called classic” timetables. I have asked that the PM and the Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening, facilitate Network Rail to bring forward the improvements needed to track and signalling between Ashford and Ramsgate in order to allow Javelin trains to run fast to Manston and Thanet. I have stressed the importance of improved rail communications to our ability to make the most of the East Kent Enterprise Zone that the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer have helped to deliver to mitigate the loss of the Pfizer pharmaceutical jobs.
I personally believe that if we are to grow our national economy then we have to invest in bold engineering schemes such as HS2. We also, though, must complete work – such as HS1 – that is at present unfinished”.