Thanet Parkway station is now open and Southeastern has pledged to staff the station for the next six weeks on weekdays between 8am and 4pm and says it has “ committed to keeping staffing of the station under review.”
Fears have been raised by Thanet’s County Councillors, among others, over safety due to the station being isolated and not allocated to have staff.
There are also concerns raised today that the station does not have any toilets.
The first train arrived at Thanet’s new station at 04:58 today (July 31). Thanet Parkway is the district’s first new railway station in 97 years, since Ramsgate and Dumpton Park stations were opened in 1926.
Southeasten says it’s expected that in its first year of operation the station will attract over 100,000 customers.
The station offers services to St Pancras International via Ashford International in 70 minutes, as well as Mainline connections to London terminals and across Kent and Medway.
It also connects to Canterbury (17 mins), Margate (16 mins), Ashford International (32 mins) and Broadstairs (11 mins).
The station is fully accessible and there are a range of facilities including:
- Lifts and stairs to access the platforms
- Tactile paving and wayfinding tactiles
- Passenger help points to provide remote assistance for those who need it.
- Ticket vending machines
- A defibrillator
- Waiting shelters and seating
- Hearing loops
Pick up and drop off zones have also been set out, along with a station bus stop which will be served by an electric minibus shuttle to Discovery Park.
Thanet Parkway will be served by:
High speed London St Pancras International to Margate services (hourly during the day, with extra trains at peak times). At weekends, the hourly St Pancras to Margate services will stop at Thanet Parkway.
Mainline services at morning and evening peak times to and from London Bridge, Charing Cross or Cannon Street (10 trains in total across the day on weekdays).
Steve White, Southeastern’s Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to welcome another – fully accessible – station to our network offering sustainable travel options for customers: each customer who parks at this new station and takes our all-electric railway to London will reduce their CO2 emissions by approximately 11 kilos compared to driving.
“Additionally, the station offers charging points for electric vehicles as well as ample parking for cycles, supporting aspirations for active travel.
“Return fares on our HighSpeed services start from under £40 and on our mainline services from under £30. With some railcards you can get a discount of up to 50% on the cost of your ticket including advanced fares.
“Our friendly on-board colleagues will support everyone using this station and e-tickets and ticket machines will be available to allow customers to purchase their tickets before travelling.
“We are also thinking about the future and the potential Thanet Parkway has to drive economic development, by serving new and planned housing developments in the area. We are proud to have partnered with Kent County Council and Network Rail in delivering this project.”
Thanet council leader Rick Everitt added: “Thanet Parkway will add to our existing stations and provide new opportunities for residents who do not currently have easy access to them. People who live nearer to the new station will now have an alternative to driving into Ramsgate, and having to park in busy residential roads. It will improve our rail options without increasing previous journey times.
“The new station represents a substantial investment in the district’s future by regional and national funding bodies and it is important that we take advantage of such opportunities when they arise.”
County Councillor Karen Constantine, who was present at the opening today, said: “I repeatedly called for the efficacy of this project to be looked at. I first spoke out about it in the council chamber in 2017 shortly after being elected, where I queried the journey time to London, which the glossy brochure said was faster. I pointed out they were quoting a time from Sandwich to Stratford .
“The truth is if I use this station to travel to London, by the time I’ve left my home, got in my vehicle, driven to Parkway and parked and then got on a train journey, door to office or door to theatre it’s actually going to take me longer! Not only this the cost of car parking at the station means it’s actually more costly.
“On the platform today, I felt very unsafe. I simply can’t imagine using this station at any time of the day let alone at night where I fear I would feel very isolated. This is a muggers paradise.”
Cllr John Worrow, Thanet Council’s Independent Group Leader, said: “On the day of its opening to passengers, the £44million Thanet Parkway station “is a waste of council taxpayers’ money”
“I do not believe that the station will be a success, and instead of spending millions of pounds of council taxpayers hard earned money on a station which will only be used by a small number of passengers, Kent County Council and Thanet Council should have used the money to reduce people’s council tax bills.
“The financial burden on Thanet’s households is currently far too high to ignore, yet instead of lowering our council tax, the district’s ruling Labour group, and KCC’s ruling Conservative administration continue to squander public money on expensive vanity projects.
“Councillors need to stop wasting our money, quit squabbling over party politics, and start putting residents first.”