Plans to extend high speed rail services in east Kent

High speed train If the plans go ahead trains will run with 12 carriages instead of six

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Train company Southeastern has unveiled plans to extend its high speed rail service in east Kent.

The firm wants to start what it calls a "coastal loop" service connecting Faversham, Ramsgate and Dover Priory.

The plans would see trains stopping at Walmer, Martin Mill and Faversham for the first time with full 12 car trains running, adding hundreds of seats.

The proposals are now being sent to the Department for Transport and, if approved, will start in December.

Michelle Ulyatt, from Southeastern, said: "The plans are in response to significant growth in passenger numbers on the high speed from Dover, Canterbury, Ashford and Ebbsfleet.

'Largely welcomed'

"We are carrying 60 to 70 per cent more passengers to and from all those stations now compared to the year before high speed was introduced."

At the moment, trains with six carriages run along two stretches and stop at Ashford and Faversham to join other short trains to go to Ebbsfleet and St Pancras.

The new plans would see longer trains running on a loop, taking in stations all the way down from Ebbsfleet, Gravesend, Medway, Faversham then back up through Ashford and Ebbsfleet to London.

Southeastern said it would provide 700 extra seats from Ashford International in the mornings with 350 more seats from Ebbsfleet International.

The service would run all day and the journey time would be quicker because passengers would not have to wait at Ashford and Faversham for other trains to join and be coupled on, Southeastern said.

The plans have been largely welcomed by campaigners trying to get better high speed services in east Kent.

Although Ian Kilby from pressure group Trains 4 Deal said he had concerns mainline services could be cut if more high speed services were introduced.

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