I should like to respond to the points made by Mr Shadwell concerning the proposed extension of HS1 to Bexhill.
The HS1 service is served by St Pancras International, rather than Kings Cross, which is just a short walk across the road.
But the main point for Bexhill is that its rail passengers do have access to three London termini (Victoria, Charing Cross and St Pancras International), as well as nearby Waterloo and Kings Cross.
As a regular user of HS1 via Ashford International, I agree that, for some, the St Pancras/Kings Cross area may not be a primary destination.
Where HS1 really comes into its own, though, is for onward connections to the Midlands and the North.
As a frequent traveller to Leeds and Manchester for over 10 years, I can vouch personally for HS1 having transformed our lives.
We all agree that the most tiring part of that journey always used to be the slog across London by the Underground, but the straightforward connection with HS1 at Ashford International has now turned the journey into a relative doddle. I certainly agree that the overcrowding on the two-car Marshlink is unacceptable, and so the HS1 extension to Bexhill cannot come soon enough in order to relieve and improve the situation.
In the meantime, I just wish that the service were used more for what it was intended – a strategic service linking the major centres of population between Ashford International and Brighton.
It is those who insist on using the service for very short, local journeys, who do not help the situation, and it is this that the operator (Southern) could usefully seek to address in the shorter term.
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