The UK government has announced additional trains for Boxing Day rail services.
The additional services are being laid on to assist shoppers with gaining easy access to major shopping areas in London, Stratford and Kent.
Announcing the new services, transport minister, Norman Baker, said, ‘We have devised a unique agreement to enable Southeastern and HS1 to make it easier for their passengers to get to the sales following Christmas, which will provide more services at no cost to the Government.
Southeastern ran some very successful services on High Speed 1 during the Olympics and the train operator has shown there is sufficient demand for these services so we were happy to consider allowing them to adjust their timetables. This is an excellent example of the Government, infrastructure owners and train operators working innovatively together to improve services for passengers.’
The rail services are being offered by a collaboration between the UK’s Department for Transport; rail company, Southeastern; and HS1 Ltd. The half-hourly service will run between Ashford International, Ebbsfleet International, Stratford International and St Pancras International.
The managing director of Southeastern, Charles Horton, said, ‘We’re really pleased to offer this trial Boxing Day service for our passengers thanks to the collaboration with HS1 and the DfT. Our high speed Javelin service will transport people from Ashford to St Pancras International in just 37 minutes, and19 minutes from Ebbsfleet. We’re also pleased to offer free parking at these two stations for Boxing Day so everyone has a little bit extra to spend in the sales.’
Southeastern has also announced a sale of off-peak, high-speed and mainline train fares, just in time for the Christmas season. The fares are available for travel up to December 24, 2012, at 25 percent discount on mainline and high-speed tickets bought online.
Sarah Boundy, the head of customer services for Southeastern, said, ‘We’re offering this special discount in time for the Christmas party and shopping season. Our high speed services will whisk passengers directly to the Westfield Shopping Centre at Stratford in just 30 minutes from Ashford and our mainline services offer a really convenient way to get to the heart of Central London’s West End.’