A proposal to allow trains from Eastbourne to travel directly to London St Pancras has been backed by the Secretary of State for Transport.
Chris Grayling expressed his support for the plan when he visited Ashford on November 3. A proposed new track layout at Ashford International station would allow trains from Eastbourne to go directly to London St Pancras – and then potentially on to the Continent on the Eurostar – without passengers having to change trains.
It would also make travelling to London more straightforward if there were engineering works on the main line up to London through Lewes and Haywards Heath.
Mr Grayling said, “I am looking forward to seeing the outcome of the examination into modifying track layouts at Ashford International.
“Improving journey times is an important step in updating rail travel in the Southeast for the 21st century.
“The government is delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme since Victorian times, with £48bn recently committed to making the changes we need on the network in 2019-2024.
“Across the country, we’re transforming the way we travel, providing faster, more comfortable and more reliable services for passengers”.
The changes would see connections made between tracks to allow trains to travel from the Marshlink to the HS1 line to London.
Passengers travelling from East Sussex to London St Pancras via Ashford International would then not need to change trains at Ashford – cutting journey times.
The visit was also attended by Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman, whose constituency covers Pevensey and Herstmonceux, who said, “By bringing Chris Grayling down, he now has first-hand experience of what we have been lobbying him for.
“This first phase could deliver tangible time benefits for those travelling between London and the East Sussex coast. This project could deliver regeneration to our economy and bring more visitors to the area. I am determined to keep pushing for it to be delivered.”