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Ashford-Hastings high-speed rail plan


Hastings link to HS1 proposed

Local rail user groups have welcomed a plan by Network Rail that could see Hastings, Bexhill and Rye join the high-speed rail network.

The railway between Hastings and Ashford would be electrified and upgraded to accommodate high-speed ‘Javelin’ trains, running to and from London St Pancras International.

The project, unveiled at a Rail Summit chaired by Hastings & Rye MP Amber Rudd on 31 March, and attended by Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin, would slash journey times from London to Rye to 55 minutes; Hastings to 68 minutes; and to Bexhill to 78 minutes.

Further work to develop technical and financial details of the scheme, which has a strong business case and local cross-party support, will be led by Network Rail, with input from Local Authorities, MPs and the South East Local Enterprise partnership. The service could be up and running by 2022.

To enable the new service, plans are to electrify the Marshlink line between Ore and Ashford, raise the line’s maximum speed, extend the passing loop at Rye, and remodel the western junctions at Ashford to create a connection between the Marshlink line and High Speed One.

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