Government urged to ‘commit’ to future of small train stations by Kent County Council chiefs

PUBLISHED: 16:06 15 May 2017

Southeastern passengers

Southeastern passengers


Thousands of campaigners have opposed proposals suggesting some trains would no longer stop at Pluckley, Headcorn, Staplehurst, Marden and Paddock Wood

The government is being urged to “commit” to the future of train services to smaller stations by transport chiefs at Kent County Council.

The Department for Transport is currently consulting on how to shape rail services in the county after 2018, and has caused a stir with some of its suggestions, including plans for the line between Ashford and Tonbridge.

Under the proposals, some trains on that line would no longer stop at stations like Pluckley, Headcorn, Staplehurst, Marden, and Paddock Wood, in a bid to speed up journey times.

Campaigners at Save Kent Trains have previously warned such plans would be “disastrous” for local communities and could potentially lead to the closure of the stations altogether.

A petition against the proposals was launched and received more than 10,000 signatures before being closed earlier this month as parliament dissolved ahead of the general election.

The document was backed by parliamentary candidates from a range of parties as well as the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Now KCC has also announced its opposition to the plans in an official response to the government’s consultation on the future of the south eastern rail franchise, which closes next week.

“The Ashford to London via Tonbridge service would need to retain its current stopping pattern to reflect the growth in demand at intermediate stations on this route,” a council spokesperson said.

“There is considerable housing development underway or planned at Paddock Wood, Marden, Staplehurst, Headcorn and Pluckley, which will require the continuation of the present service levels in both peak and off-peak periods.

“Therefore the new franchise should commit to these service levels without any change in either the frequency or the stopping pattern on this section of route.

“As Ashford and most east Kent stations already have a High Speed service, there is in any event less imperative to speed up this mainline route.”

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has had to defend the controversial consultation on a number of occasions, insisting the proposals are merely suggestions and that the government will listen closely to all feedback provided.

The consultation closes on May 23 and is available to view here.

Latest News

Police in Southwark are appealing to find the next of kin for a John Stuart Parkin from Southwark.

Gravesham’s iconic theatre is turning 50 this year, and everyone is invited to join in with the celebrations.

Yesterday, 14:08

A popular travel pass for children in Kent is expected to get more expensive this year.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our three-minute Met Office video forecast.

Friday, January 19, 2018

A major long distance bike event is set to start at Higham this year.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Two men have been summonsed to appear in court in connection with a fire at a leisure centre.

Most read


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

Read the Gravesend Reporter e-edition today

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Show Job Lists

Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder