Kent County Council is extremely disappointed at the announcement this week by Govia Thameslink Railway of their decision to delay even further the start of the planned new Thameslink service to Maidstone East.
Once again Maidstone has been put to the back of the queue, with a delay of a further year from December 2018 to December 2019.
Indeed, it is not inconceivable that even this date will be further postponed.
Kent County Council has been determined to have a branch of Thameslink services terminating at Maidstone East, and has campaigned over several years, with other councils and rail travellers’ associations, to get the planned terminus for Thameslink services transferred from Tunbridge Wells to Maidstone East.
Kent County Council has always regarded this new service as a critical enhancement in the overall capacity in Kent’s rail network, with the stops at West Malling (for Kings Hill), Borough Green & Wrotham, and Otford (for passengers from the wider Sevenoaks area) being essential to re-balance the travel flows between mid-Kent and the City of London.
Furthermore, even the existing Thameslink service from Sevenoaks via Bat & Ball will now be truncated at Blackfriars for the period May 2018 to May 2019, further reducing the availability of through rail services between Kent and areas north of London
Kent County Council will be writing to the rail minister to express our frustration at these further delays by the Department for Transport.