Damian Green will bring a debate on the future of international rail services in Kent to the House of Commons on Wednesday, October 25th.
He wants to illustrate the need for the high-speed international services to return to Ashford, as these have not been restored since they were cancelled at the start of the pandemic.
Eurostar has said that it will not consider renewing the Kent services until 2025, but now that a new competitor has announced its intention to run international trains, Mr Green believes that this is the ideal time for the UK Government to become involved.
“I will be asking the Minister to use the Government’s persuasive powers to press Eurostar to use Ashford station again. The British taxpayer paid £8.5m in 2019 to improve the signalling so that the new trains could stop at Ashford, and so far the taxpayer has had no return. The station was a significant economic boost not just for Ashford but for the whole of East Kent and will be again once we get the trains running. International trains are a far more sustainable form of transport than air travel, so I hope to push this up the agenda of the Department of Transport. I have been working closely with Kent County Council and Ashford Borough Council on this, and I want central Government to join in as well.”