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Bullet trains will have more seats

PUBLISHED: 16:20 08 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:49 23 August 2010

STATE-OF-THE-ART Japanese bullet trains are to start running with extra carriages following the overwhelming success of preview services. Southeastern Trains launched a limited preview service on High Speed 1 at the end of June and was shocked by the dem

STATE-OF-THE-ART Japanese bullet trains are to start running with extra carriages following the overwhelming success of preview services.

Southeastern Trains launched a limited preview service on High Speed 1 at the end of June and was shocked by the demand.

The preview service has been running on weekdays between Ashford International, Ebbsfleet International and St Pancras International, offering passengers the chance to experience what the UK's first high-speed service will be like when it is fully introduced on December 13.

Vince Lucas, commercial director at Southeastern, said: "We are really pleased with how the service has been received by passengers. It has proven to be very popular and as a result we have had to extend the last train from Ashford in the morning and the first train back in the evening from St Pancras.

"This is excellent news and shows that the 37-minute journey, from around 80 minutes, is proving a real draw for passengers.

Southeastern has now doubled the length - from six to 12 cars - of the 7.48am from Ashford International to St Pancras and the 5.37pm from St Pancras International to Ashford International, which stops at Ebbsfleet international at 5.55pm.

The Hitachi Class 395 Javelin trains travel at a top speed of 140mph. Journey times from Ashford International to London are just 37 minutes and from Ebbsfleet International the journey takes just 17 minutes

Mr Lucas added: "We are not going to be complacent. We recognise that this is early days, so we will be working as hard as possible to ensure the continued smooth running of the service."

Fares from Ebbsfleet International cost £12.20 for a single, £24.30 for a return and £12.50 for an off-peak return. Existing Southeastern ticket holders can pay a supplement of £3.10 each way and all first-class ticket holders are able to travel on the high-speed service for no extra cost.

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