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Priorities for improving the Deal /Sandwich HS1 service to London 2014-18:
1 Retain the Existing HS1 Service Absolutely vital as 100 plus people now use it to get to work everyday.
2 Fast weekday links to Deal and Discovery Park
This is the biggest single gap, i.e.making it possible to travel out to the Sandwich site from London and complete a full working day.
The 0710 from St Pancras arr. Dover 0818, could be extended to Deal 0836, Sandwich 0842, Ramsgate 0854.
Sandwich station to Discovery Park is 6 mins by car, 7 mins by bike, 21 mins walk (1h 40m door-to-door from London by train and bike). Paul Barber (Discovery Park) says scientists and research entrepreneurs typically prefer a healthy lifestyle. They are planning a mini-bus shuttle between site, town and station.
This train would return to Dover to form the 0945 to St Pancras (arr 1051), calling first at Sandwich 0921; then at Deal 0928.
This High Speed return service would give Discovery Park-based workers a working day at other science/business/academic centre, and would give local people a direct HS train eligible for Off Peak tickets and railcard discounts.
Existing HS services are all at Peak times :i.e.£67.60 Anytime Day Return instead of £37.50 Off Peak Day Return . Senior and Family railcards (and possibly Network cards*) would also be valid on this new service (i.e. £24.75 discounted Day Return).
* See list of "easements" on time restrictions: http://www.railcard.co.uk/network/time-restrictions/
Extending the Dover service in this way would require alternative rolling stock to be found for the 0845 from Dover to St Pancras.
We know there is spare stock; how this is brought into service is an operational issue best left to the TOC, e.g. if stock were available at 0710 in London it could be run as a 12-car train, splitting at Dover
The marginal cost of adding this service would not be excessive; basically it amounts to allocating one extra train and crew for one round trip Ramsgate/St Pancras via Dover per day. It does however have a good business case in BOTH directions, and also tests the market for further extensions of the service. If demand warranted, the service could be extended on an hourly basis.
3 Weekends, direct HS services
There is potential to stop one or more of the first 3 trains which run empty to Dover, e.g.on SATURDAYS:
Ramsgate dep 0608 --> Sandwich 0621 --> Deal 0628 --> existing Dover 0645 --> St Pancras arr 0751 OFFPEAK
Ramsgate dep 0708 --> Sandwich 0721 --> Deal 0728 --> existing Dover 7645 --> St Pancras arr 0851 OFFPEAK
.and on SUNDAYS one or more of:
0745 from Dover, arr St.Pancras 0851 (would be 0721 ex-Sandwich, 0728 Deal)
0845 from Dover, arr St.Pancras 0951 (0821, 0828)
0945 from Dover, arr St.Pancras 1051 (0921, 0928)
These trains run empty to the Ramsgate depot from Dover on Saturday and Sunday evenings, and one could have crews kept on board to serve Deal and Sandwich:
2212 from St Pancras, arr Dover 2320 (then Deal 2336, Sandwich 2342)
2312 from St Pancras, arr Dover 0020 (then Deal 0036, Sandwich 0042)
These suggestions for the start of a weekend service would have a very low marginal cost. If necessary we could flesh out a business case.
Further services could be added during the day in the same way as on weekdays.
4 Running Dover-Deal-Sandwich HS services to and from Ramsgate
We would stress the benefits of terminating at Ramsgate rather than Sandwich, in terms of increasing connectivity and journey opportunities along the coast, Shepway - Dover - Deal - Thanet.