Posted 13th December 2010 | 5 Comments
Domestic High Speed 'attracts 1m new passengers'
THE first anniversary of the launch of High Speed domestic services between London and Kent has been marked with news that the 225km/h trains have provided over a million journeys for passengers who had not used trains before.
Southeastern’s High Speed services, which were launched exactly a year ago using Hitach-built Class 395 units on the the High Speed One route from London St Pancras International, are now carrying 6.5 million passengers a million a year – and customer satisfaction is reported to be the highest anywhere on the National Rail network.
Sixteen per cent of journeys – more than a million – have been made by passengers who had not used the train before, the operator Southeastern said today.
Southeastern has also disclosed that tickets to travel on High Speed services have been bought at 1,800 stations around the country, in other words at more than two out of three.
High Speed services have proved particularly attractive to people in East Kent, and the percentage of all journeys to London using High Speed trains in the past month have been: Ashford (66), Broadstairs (47), Canterbury all stations (47), Dover (64), Folkestone (66), Ramsgate (55), Strood (41).
The last survey undertaken by the watchdog group Passenger Focus showed 95 per cent of passengers thought the new service was ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
Southeastern managing director Charles Horton said: “The first year has been very encouraging and we are looking forward to more and more people discovering the benefits of travelling by High Speed.”
One group opposing the building of High Speed Two from London to Birmingham and then on to Leeds and Manchester alleged recently that ‘half the trains on High Speed One are mothballed’, but this has been denied by Southeastern, which said that its fleet of Class 395 trains is all in use, and that only two or three of the 29 units stay out of service on any day, which is normal so that maintenance can be carried out.
Eurostar has also denied the 'mothball' claim, saying that its fleet is fully utilised. The company is planning to buy ten more trains to extend its network to more European cities from 2014.
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