Thanet Parkway Station build progresses with May 2023 opening date predicted

Construction of Thanet Parkway Station Photo Frank Leppard

Passenger services from Thanet Parkway station are expected to begin in May 2023.

The main station construction is due to be completed by May this year but further works along the line are needed before the station can go into service.

Cliffsend level crossing will be converted from its current automatic half barrier crossing (two barriers lowered when a train approaches) to a crossing monitored by CCTV. This will include four barriers, which once in the lowered position will completely close Foads Hill when a train approaches.

To ensure that existing journey times on this line of route are not extended due to there being an extra station for trains to stop at, Network Rail also need to carry out other level crossing safety and ‘line speed improvement work’.

Photo Network Rail

There is a need to increase the speed of trains on certain sections of the line to make up for lost time. This requires changes to the track and signalling as well as additional safety measures to be implemented. Without this work, trains stopping at the new station would add up to 150 seconds to journey times for existing rail users.

In addition to the upgrade at Cliffsend, there will be safer level crossings at: Dibleys, Ships Meadow, Grove Ferry, and Sevenscore.

The piling of the foundations for the platforms, lifts and staircases were completed in early August. Scaffolding was erected over the embankment to allow the completion of the steel structure, which was then followed by the installation of platform copers (the concrete sections of platform). The lift and staircases have also begun to be clad.

The car park has the drainage installed, base layers constructed and kerbing put into place. In the station forecourt, the new substation building and the cleaner’s facilities have both been built.

Acoustic barriers will be installed at the rear of the platforms.

Thanet Parkway is part of a programme  of wider improvements to the railway  line between Ashford International/  Canterbury West and Ramsgate stations.

The station will be served by both mainline and high-speed trains and will include two platforms that will be able to accommodate 12-car trains.

There will be ticket machines, waiting shelters, parking for 293 vehicles, bus stops, pick-up and drop-off zones, electric charging points, hearing loops, cycle storage, CCTV, seating, landscaping works and passenger help points to provide remote assistance for those who need it.

Image Network Rail

A new road will provide access to the station from the A299 Hengist Way with a new pedestrian and cycleway providing access to and from Cliffsend village.

Work is being undertaken by Bam Engineering. The construction of the junction from the A299 Hengist Way has been carried out by contractor Eurovia. This will be a new left in – left out traffic signal controlled junction.

Archaeological excavation at the site was undertaken by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust and is being managed by the WSP Cultural Heritage and Archaeology team.

The project is funded by:

South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) (Local Growth Fund) (£14 million)

Getting Building Fund (HM Government) (£12 million)

New Stations Fund (£3.4 million)

Thanet District Council (£2 million)

East Kent Spatial Development Company (£700k)

Kent County Council (£5.8m).

The £34million Thanet Parkway Station has spiralled in cost from an initial £11.2 million.

The costs comprise of:

£19.99m for the station and car park (at 80% probability and inclusive of 11% contingency);

£10.20m for the level crossing upgrades (at 10% probability and inclusive of 57% contingency – this level of contingency is standard industry practice with work at GRIP1 stage);

£4.14m for other costs including the highway junction works, archaeological mitigation works, land purchase, planning costs, legal costs and fees.

Thanet Parkway build Photo by John Horton

Kent County Council says the station at the 9.27 hectare greenfield site will provide more jobs for Cliffsend residents, reduce journey times from east Kent to London and improve the “attractiveness” of Thanet and Dover as places for investment.

The long-standing dispute over building a new station in Thanet has rumbled on since 2010.

Kent County Council first put forward a planning application in May 2018 but withdrew it 18 months later due to concerns over footbridge access. The plans were altered and an existing Victorian underpass beneath the railway is being used to link the station’s two platforms.

There were widespread objections from Thanet county councillors and residents in the area, who together claim that the two-platform station is not needed and it is a “waste of public money”.

Photo Frank Leppard

Cllr Barry  Lewis  branded it as a new burden for Thanet commuters to ‘suffer’ adding time to travel from the isle’s other seven stations and Ramsgate Councillor Karen Constantine expressed concerns about the need for many Ramsgate residents to drive to Parkway and the need to pay parking fees. She says there are also safety concerns due to it being an unstaffed station.

Cllr Rosalind Binks (Con), who represents Broadstairs at county level, said she has been “hot and cold” over her views on Parkway since the idea was first mooted under the administration of former KCC leader Paul Carter (Con) in 2010.

The history beneath the site: Archaeological excavation begins at site of Thanet Parkway Station


  1. Good news the station will come in for much demand when Manston Airport reopens. The councillors and others with the village mentality who yearn for the return of horse and carts will be able to get back to their knitting and flower arranging.

    • Dear Ann. You are aware that Manston is proposed as a freight airport and Parkway is a passenger station? Can your brain synthesize these two facts to understand why your comment is so funny?

      • I think that initially there would only be freight flights. But once that’s established and is successful, as i’am sure that it will be then passenger flights to various destinations could be started. With the access to the Airport by excellent road and with the new rail station enabling high speed trains connections surely it would be very successful and much needed for the better.

      • Ann your not just ill informed, your delusional because Manston can never open as an airport again! No one in their right mind will make it work as a passenger airport, after at least 4 or 5 previous attempts have failed, and the Development Consent Order(DCO) failed, because it could not prove it would be the national interest to re-open it, Duurh! Parkway is only a job creation scheme, unless 4,000 houses are built on Manston!

    • I think Ann might be on to something. Given that Manston is planned as a freight airport people travelling from the Parkway station could call in to the airport pick up a crate of cargo and take it on the train. It would be quicker than transferring it onto electric barges at Ramsgate harbour or whatever rubbish the con artists are spouting.

  2. I thought it was supposed to be a fast service, but how can it be faster from Ramsgate by adding an extra station?

    Now we learn that there are additional works to be carried out, to speed up the service.

    Why didn’t you say this at the proposal stage? Think we know, it’s because it would have been yet another negative point.

    What an absolute waste of money.

    • “To ensure that existing journey times on this line of route are not extended due to there being an extra station for trains to stop at, Network Rail also need to carry out other level crossing safety and ‘line speed improvement work’.”
      And yet we have been told over and over again by Craig Mackinlay and KCC and others that adding the station will *improve * journey times.
      Now we see it confirmed (we already knew) that this is not the case.

    • If you can think of the future with passenger aircraft getting much quieter, especially electric, the passenger flights after the initial freight success to the Middle East, Asia and Australia the High Speed train access via the close Railway Station will be wonderful. As you have read there are new track signalling and crossing improvements to cancel out time stopping at the Station.

      • But who would possibly want to risk millions, when the chances of failure are so high, it’s been shown time and time again.

        There is no strategic reason why the location would be good for an airport.

  3. Yes Phil, a waste of money which ought to have been spent elsewhere in Thanet.

    Someone is laughing all the way to their bank, no doubt.

  4. How can these elaborate schemes still be going ahead wasting millions of pounds when everyone is feeling a great pinch and struggling to keep their heads above water? Rich tory wastage projects again!

    • Why would Ramsgate residents need to get to the new station at all when there is already a railway station in Ramsgate?

      • Because thanet is as has been discussed many times been put forward for an additional 20,000 homes, this will generate additional rail demand, the existing stations won’t be able to cope . In addition eventually ramsgate will join up with cliffsend with ever more housing and the new station will serve them also.
        Never forgetting that the move to electric vehicles will almost certainly lead to a reduction in the number of cars on the road ( sure you approve) and so the new station will provide easier access to public transport ( to which again i’d assume you approve).

  5. Ramsgate Lover, Manston Airport operated as a freight hub for many many years and passengers airport and will do so again the NIMBYs seem to be under the false impression that it’s a new development it’s not . It’s simply a business that the last owners run into the ground for their own selfish agenda.

    • I agree entirely!! At last someone with an understanding of the planning time scale and planning for the future?!!!!

  6. Ann – Minster is easy for access should Manston ever reopen.
    Phil – Should Manston open, there are still going to be workers who need to get there. And although plans are primarily for cargo, it has always been in plans that they hope to have at least some passenger flights, eventually.

    The article says “There is a need to increase the speed of trains on certain sections of the line to make up for lost time.” I assume this to mean that somewhere along the route, trains will go faster so that they still arrive at the final destination of Margate / Ramsgate in the current times.

    I too objected to this station being built, but now that it is underway, let’s just accept it and stop the negative moans. Positive side – this station will be a lot easier for Cliffsend residents and some in Ramsgate so will hopefully alleviate traffic in areas near Ramsgate station.

  7. Let’s open a book on how long before the useful, town centre stations in Thanet close, then builders can use the land and make more money. My money’s on ten years max

  8. Thankyou IoTN for the informative update.
    What’s really funny is that the Main Sands developer, Blueberry, are posting out updates that say the new Parkway will provide quicker trains to London to their residents. They forget that the residents have to get to Parkway which is not that close.
    Also, as amusing, is Craig Mackinlay’s Ramsgate Regeneration latest post that also says Parkway gives easy access for Ramsgate’s 40,000 residents. They say this was not implied when questioned but the phrasing clearly says it does!
    What are the intended parking charges at the Station? What bus will use the bus stop? What is the route for the cycle path.
    Can we have answers?

  9. With the withdrawal from Southend airport by EasyJet and Ryanair we, as newcomers to the area, are astounded at any objections to Manston bring reopened for passenger traffic as well as cargo. Travelling to Gatwick is a nightmare. Even the north of England has better airport access than East Kent. I am looking forward to an active passenger airport with a shuttle bus to Parkway station for onward transfer to London for those travelling to the City. To propose expanding Birmingham as London’s overflow airport whilst Manston sits unused is a massive missed opportunity for the area. Just look at East Midlands airport to see the business development that comes with a supported airport.

    • If you look at East Midlands Aurport, you’ll see why it’s a cargo hub, and Manston never was, and never will be.
      It’s in the middle of the country, surrounded by rail heads and logistic companies, and situated adjacent to the M1 and near the M6.
      Manson is in the bottom right hand corner of the UK. There is no rail head. The nearest motorway is 50 miles away. It is not on the aviation fuel pipeline, so all fuel will have to be trucked in.
      Air passengers fly to London will use one of the existing London airports. Why get off at Manston, then get a shuttle bus to a station, then take a train to London, when you can fly direct to City Airport?
      During its days as a commercial enterprise, it consistently lost money, losing over a £100M in the end,
      To get up to speed on this sorry tale, you might read the reports commissioned by TDC on the viability of Manston.

    • I imagine the reasons that Easy Jet etc withdrew from Southend are exactly the ones that explain why they won’t be turning up at Manston.
      And Southend Airport is right alongside the railway, not a couple of km from it.

    • Hi Newby, You can see all the documents about the Manston Cargo Hub project. Most interesting are those from the Government’s own experts who rejected the proposal on many grounds.
      Where are you in Ramsgate? On the flight path or near it? My own issue are the cargo planes descent off shore, down to 500 ft or so and then to the runway. This is very low indeed, noise and fuel emissions from the craft, every 12-15 minutes, all day.
      When passenger planes are old they get relegated to cargo work so the craft we would get will be noisier and dirtier than modern craft.
      Considerable research has shown that noise and emissions at this level have serious negative impacts on people, their physical and mental health. This is particulalry so for children such as those in the schoold under the flight paths (there are quite a few of these).

    • So you must enjoy noisy sounds over your head at 5am in the morning. Maybe you should have moved to Heathrow? Doesn’t the fact the Easyjet and Ryanair pulling out of Southened suggest an airport is not viable in a fairly underpopulated region. Anyway, after we get hit by rising house bills and national insurance increases, none of us will be able to afford a holiday!

  10. Ann -It’s not so called NIMBY’s stopping Manston,it’s economics, location,logistics, and a verifiable,transparent source of investment finance.
    The reason why Grant Shapps at the DFT has not given his assent to the scheme, is the inconvenient truth, that it is very difficult to make a sustainable case for its revival.Everytime more consultant studies are called for, they all say the same thing.Its in the wrong place, at the wrong time and has the wrong business plan.RSP did produce their own report, but to be kind,it was an outlier, and no one in aviation circles gives it much credence.
    If the revival of Manston is such an obvious economic opportunity, investors would be piling in from all directions,they are not.Shapps would have no difficulty in overcoming local opposition,after they did over HS2.
    Shouting from the sidelines, calling people names, will not reopen Manston, and demeans you and your case.Stop it now.
    Thanet Parkway is useless to Manston, even if in our wildest fantasy, passenger aviation returned to Manston.
    Let’s get back to Thanet Parkway.
    It’s taken 13 years to get this far.
    It’s going to cost 3 times its original estimate.
    At £34m it is nearly £15m more than the levelling up fund money for Ramsgate, which itself is refurbing mainly TDC owned assets.
    This scheme is not going to revive Ramsgate or Thanet, it is yet again, a top down,ram through, we know what is best for you scheme.
    It is an example of the very thing that ‘Levelling up Britain’, says it is against.
    It breaks all the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) dictums on sustainability and local connectivity (It is designed for car use not walking,cycling or public transport).
    10 years hence, we may be asking ourselves what on earth we were doing, as the tumble weeds roll over a deserted car park.
    100 years from now we may well well be judged very harshly on so many of our actions in the last decade.

    • Hey George, what’s wrong with a deserted car park?

      Thanet Council are used to this, they approved the Sally Line, with a 60% chance of failure, where is the Sally Ferry from Ramsgate today. A deserted car park, although now used by car importers,and cement producers etc.

      TDC are used to backing plans that are likely to fail.

      • George, did you also know that when the first plans were proposed, for the original Sainsbury’s at Westwood (when Tesco was the Co-op), Sainsbury’s offered to restructure, and pay for new access roads around Westwood, but TDC turned it down, suggesting it wouldn’t be required, as it would never be busy enough, there would never be traffic problems at Westwood.

        What is the situation like today? Well done again to TDC.

  11. Jane, I would love to see Manston reopen, but it’s not going to happen, it’s been tried and failed, and failed again, and looked at again. Nobody has succeeded with either passengers or freight.

    Who wants to invest in an airport where the chance of failure far outweighs the possibility of success?

  12. Good for airport passenger’s? It’s quite a way from the airfield even supposing the building would be at the nearest point! As for bringing in people via the “fast service”. It only stops at 3 places and all the London airports plus Southend will still be quicker to get to- by at least 45 minutes, so in effect, nothing will have changed!

    • Indeed, how will Manston complete with Gatwick, Stansted, Heathrow and Southend – you know airports that actually have stations (not a couple of miles away).

  13. So Kent county council lies exposed they promised faster trains to thanet. Thanet parkway built on a £32 million LIE. Now they will be cutting more buses to pay for it

  14. Yes Peter, up to £3 million cuts in council subsidies for off peak buses being paid to arriva / stagecoach and other bus private companies to be announced by tories on Thursday s budget. Remember they cut services around thanet already

    • Any idea how those cuts will impact Thanet, bearing in mind they have been cut pretty much to the bone apart from the Loop?

  15. I pretty much welcome this. People often complain about the lack of infrastructure to go with all the housing being built in Thanet, yet Cliffsend, a place that is about 4 times larger than it was 30 years ago, has a brand new train station! Now all we need is another one in Westwood Cross!

  16. Kent County Council says it will increase jobs for Cliffsend residents. How can it if it is unmanned ? What jobs will be created that aren’t available to Cliffsend residents that could use Ramsgate or Minster stations. It is just another sound bite statement that doesn’t stand scrutiny. That seems to be the world we live in now.

    • Hey Neil, when the plans were put forward for the Sally Line, it was suggested that it would create literally thousands of jobs (I can’t remember the exact figures), yet knowing that in reality it would be nothing like the suggested figure, the plan was given consent, due to the projected jobs figures, even though it was known they were incorrect.

      Looks like the same corrupt plans in place for the new station. Lots of jobs to be created, at an unmanned station.

  17. No mention of any public toilets, newsagent stalls or coffee shops. Should I assume that the provision of these essential facilities is guaranteed? Or is this really going to be an eerie ghost town environment?

      • About a month ago, in Ramsgate station. The coffee shop doubles up as a newsagent. Please tell me that Ramsgate is still in Thanet, unless the Thanet boundaries have been redefined to justify a deserted station at Cliffsend.

          • Not a “coffee shop” either, because it sells tea as well as coffee.

            But it’s a thousand times better than what you get at an unstaffed amenity

          • I’m sure that if the station gets busy someone enterprising will turn up with a van, just like they do in the mornings outside Broadstairs station.

            Incidentally, when people talk about redundant/little used stations, then sure Dumpton Park is far more surplass to requirements than Minster? It was only built for the long-gone Greyhound Track.

  18. There are some very narrowed minded and ungrateful people on here. East Kent has always been one of the most neglected areas of Kent and still remains so today, We have an A&E that by all accounts is nothing more than a first-aid hut with all serious cases having to be transferred to London hospitals often by a PUBLIC FUNDED air ambulance. The Stroke unit at QEQM is being moved to Ashford the Magistrates court has now been moved to Folkestone.
    Yet when millions are being spent on a new rail station and talk of the airport opening bringing jobs and prosperity to the area all we hear from the usual sad’os is moan moan moan. Get a life for goodness sake.

    • Well said Bill. Thanet will be very fortunate to have 8 train stations in such a small area – and that is on top of relatively good bus services. Other areas of Kent such as Sheppey and the Romney marsh are nowhere near as accessible.

    • But no one has a sword the question as to why millions are being spent on this railway station. It certainly has nothing to do with Manston airport which, even in the unlikely event of its opening, will be cargo orientated.
      If there are millions of pounds sloshing around, I can think of far better uses for it.

    • People are NOT moaning for the sake of moaning. They have genuine concerns. The Garden of England is being paved over before our very eyes, seemingly to provide a suburb of the Greater London sprawl. And there is a clear risk that this new station could undermine Ramsgate station. Unless we get a cast-iron guarantee that the Ramsgate ticket offices will not close, people have every right to remain suspicious of the long-term intentions of the railway bosses.

  19. So few car parking spaces for a parkway rail station (300 + some dedicated for electric car and bluebadges).
    The funders will want a return on their investment hopefully they have recalculated for fewer passengers/cars due to working from home etc.
    Anyway the new station is an asset for many and another tick in the box for the airport reopening.

  20. Manston cargo hub is a cargo hub plan, there is no cargo spur on this new station that Thanet doesn’t need and has ZERO relevance to the Manston Cargo Hub DCO.

    Anyone who thinks a dirty great cargo plane, often of the variety not allowed to land at other airports, that will come in at 500 feet over our harbour and across our town, screaming at 100Db every 12 minutes, with droplets of fuel hazing their washing and ruining our beach, our outside and our peace and quiet is utterly insane to want this.

    All for a handful of automated jobs, which the tourism industry outperforms as an employer hands down. Every single time.

    Say no to the Manston DCO.

    And say no to this absurd train station that is a monument to the ego of TDC, KCC, Roger n Craig and anyone else gleefully using some spare cash the government threw at ‘spade ready’ projects ready to go. Which this irrelevant station unfortunately was.

    Anyone know how blind customers will get on in an unstaffed station?

    It is a shocking insult to anyone needing passenger assistance and wholly irrelevant to the former failing airport gone repeatedly bust.

  21. Peter those stations were built long before people gave much thought to access and inclusion, never mind the disabled.

    Are you saying we should put children down coal mines for that same logic?

    Parkway is a new station and should be modern in every way, and that includes for the disabled.

  22. And people will say no. By not using it. Starting with the blind. Who can’t use it. They have to get off in other places, unlike you.

    • I can think of countless categories of people who could have issues with that station. People with physical disabilities are the obvious ones, but what about people with heavy luggage whose straps break or whose wheels fall off? At a more civilised station they would get immediate help. But this station will be deserted most of the time; unlike Westgate station that has nearby shops, bars, passers-by, etc. This really is a case of survival of the fittest and to hell with everyone else.

      • If it is as busy as predicted then I’m sure others will help when peoples wheels fall off, unlike at places like Dumptom Park. But, as I’ve already suggested, if you feel strongly about it then DO something. You may or may not get my full support.

        • What makes you think I’m not doing anything proactive about this? This thread seems like an obvious place to raise awareness of problems that others might not have foreseen.

          I wish I shared your optimism about fellow travellers helping people in difficulty. This station is clearly designed for people in a hurry who will have fled from the scene without noticing anyone behind them. There will never be a substitute for dedicated helpful staff

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