"Bullet trains are no use without bullet track" (February 12th 2009)
North Thanetís MP, Roger Gale, has today (Thursday ) challenged Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon over failure to provide adequate infrastructure to carry fast trains through East Kent.
Speaking in the Commons chamber following a ministerial statement relating to new fast trains the MP said:
"The Secretary of State said in his statement that Ďfrom December commuters will be able to use fast trains between London and Kentí and that is of course literally correct. But fast locomotives are of little use if their progress is impeded by old track, antiquated signalling, inadequate road bridges and level crossings. Can the Secretary of State indicate when the line between Canterbury and Manston will be upgraded so that we can capitalise on the contribution that Manston Airport can make, as a regional airfield, to aviation in the South East and so that my constituents travelling between East Kent and London can travel faster than was possible in 1927"!
The Minister declined to give an answer to the substantive question!
Speaking after the exchange, Roger Gale said:
"Much was made, this morning, about a contract for new rolling stock for the Norehern Services (to be awarded to a Japanese company rather than the Derby-based bidder) but little about improvements to the infrastructure necessary for us to take advantage of the service that is supposed to be commencing in December. We now know that that St. Pancras service will, with additional tube travel added in, actually take longer than the existing services to Victoria and Cannon Street and that until investment is made in the line between Canterbury and Thanet we shall continue to be asked to pay much more for less."