This petition was submitted during the 2015–2017 Conservative government

Petition Stop Cuts To Rail Services between Tonbridge and Ashford

Signing this petition means that you reject any reduction in rail services between Tonbridge and Ashford in Kent. This means Pluckley, Headcorn, Staplehurst, Marden, and Paddock Wood.

More details

Southeastern’s franchise expires December 2018 and the Department for Transport (DfT) is looking to find the next operator.

The DfT Public Consultation talks about reducing calls at stations between Tonbridge and Ashford. We believe this would be disastrous for the communities, towns and villages along this line and could potentially lead to the closure of the stations altogether.

What do you need to do?
• Sign this petition
• Respond to the consultation by Tuesday 23 May 2017:
• or write to Southeastern Rail Franchise Consultation Coordinator, Zone 4/13, Department for Transport, Great Minister House, 33 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 4DR
• Or email

This petition closed early because of a General Election Find out more on the Petitions Committee website

11,576 signatures

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Government responded

This response was given on 5 July 2017

We are seeking passengers’ views on reducing stops at lesser-used stations to improve journey times between key destinations. We are not proposing to stop services to or from any station.

Read the response in full

The Department for Transport has launched a public consultation to seek passenger views on their priorities for the next South Eastern franchise. Responses received will be used to inform the development of the specification for the next operator, due to take over the franchise in December 2018.

Question 12 of the public consultation document seeks views about whether passengers would support reducing journey times to key destinations in Kent and East Sussex by reducing stops at less well used intermediate stations to create hourly fast services. An example is provided below to illustrate how the concept could operate in practice, if passengers supported it.

Some longer-distance services have very long journey times in relation to the length of the route, such as between London and Hastings. Services from Charing Cross to Hastings, for example, take approximately 1hr 40mins to cover 62 miles, an average speed of less than 38 miles per hour.

If service to certain intermediate stops were reduced, hourly fast services could be created between key destinations, offering faster journey times. All intermediate stations would continue to be served by at least an hourly service. Whilst we would be delivering faster journeys, the Department for Transport recognises that this has the potential to inconvenience passengers that currently use those intermediate stations. Any changes would therefore only be made if passengers overall benefitted, and travellers from lesser-used stations were not unduly disadvantaged.

The public consultation has ended on 30 June 2017, after which the Department for Transport will carefully analyse each response. The conclusions will be published in the autumn in a stakeholder briefing document published alongside the Invitation to Tender (ITT).

Department for Transport