Kent’s first new railway station in eight years, Thanet Parkway, has today (Monday 31st July) opened to customers bringing the capital closer to the coast and opening up Thanet to new jobs and new business.
The opening of Thanet Parkway will improve rail connectivity between East Kent, London and the wider south east region by providing access to regular high speed train services to St Pancras and additional peak services to Charing Cross and Cannon Street.
The first train to arrive at Thanet Parkway station was the 04:58 which left on time and was due to arrive into London’s St. Pancras at 06:25.
The station has a huge car park as befitting a parkway station and as a special introductory offer, customers can park for free at the station for a limited time. It’s expected that in its first year of operation the station will attract over 100,000 customers.
Located between Ramsgate and Minster, Thanet Parkway will boost the local and wider Kent economy by supporting connections to new housing and new business and job opportunities, particularly at surrounding business parks in Thanet and Dover, as well as supporting the area’s leisure and tourism industry.
The station has two 250 metre platforms that can accommodate spacious 12-car trains, offering high speed services to St Pancras International via Ashford International in as little as 70 minutes, as well as Mainline connections to London terminals and across Kent and Medway.
It also provides connections to a wide range of leisure destinations enabling customers to visit places such as Canterbury (17 mins), Margate (16 mins), Ashford International (32 mins) and Broadstairs (11 mins).
The station is fully accessible – from car park to platform – and there are a range of facilities at the station for the safety and comfort of customers during their journeys, including:
- Lifts and stairs to access the platforms
- Tactile paving and wayfinding tactiles
- Multiple passenger help points to provide remote assistance for those who need it.
- Ticket vending machines
- A defibrillator
- Waiting shelters and seating, and
- Hearing loops
As customers get used to using Thanet Parkway, it’ll be staffed on weekdays between 08:00 and 16:00 for the next six weeks and we’ve committed to keeping staffing of the station under review. As well as that, customers will be able to contact staff at other times via numerous help points and staff will be able to travel to the station to help customers if that’s needed.
Acoustic barriers have also been installed to absorb any noise impact and provide privacy for lineside neighbours once train services start operating from the station.
As well as rail connections for London and across Kent, Thanet Parkway provides the potential for an integrated transport hub in the future.
A new road provides access to the station from the A299 Hengist Way, with parking available for 293 vehicles, including 16 for Blue Badge holders, as well as several charging points for electric vehicles.
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, which can be reached in just six minutes.
There is cycling and pedestrian access to Cliffsend village with both bike racks and bike storage facilities available.
The station has been landscaped to enhance the surrounding environment and achieve bio-diversity net gain with new trees, shrubs, flowering grass and ivy plants.
To allow trains to call safely at the new station, Cliffsend and Sevenscore level crossings have been upgraded at the same time. At Cliffsend the current automatic half barriers are being replaced with full barriers with CCTV controlled from East Kent Signalling Centre in Gillingham.
The station and level crossing works has been jointly funded by the Government’s Department for Transport (DfT); South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP); Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities; Thanet District Council; and Kent County Council.
The investment is part of Network Rail’s Thanet Corridor Enhancements Programme which includes upgrades to Dibleys, Ships Meadow and Grove Ferry crossings to permit line speed increases between Ashford, Canterbury West and Ramsgate.
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.
Discounts available include:
- A discount of 50% applies to all Advance fares for children aged 5 to 15
- If you have a 16-17 Saver Railcard, you can get 50% off adult Standard class Advance fares
- Any National Railcard entitles you to a 1/3 off Standard class Advance fares
David Davidson, Network Rail’s Kent Route Director, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Thanet Parkway station has today opened its doors to customers.
“This station has been a long time in the making and I’m excited to see the benefits it will bring to the local and wider Kent economy through improved rail connections to the capital and some of east Kent’s leisure destinations.
“We are committed to encouraging as many people as possible to ditch the car and use the train as their preferred method of travelling and this new station will help play a key part in attracting more people to use the railway.”
David Brazier, Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “I am really pleased that from Monday 31st July we are beginning to see the first people using the new Thanet Parkway railway station.
“This is an excellent example of how organisations can work together make it quicker and easier for people in local communities to get to and from London, reaching the capital in 70 minutes, serving thousands of trips a year.
“In working with Network Rail, Southeastern and Thanet District Council on this joint mission I hope we have been able to take the early steps to unlock the true potential of this part of east Kent, boosting the county as a great place to live, work and visit.”
Vince Lucas, Director of South East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "The opening of Thanet Parkway is great opportunity for Kent and the Southeast.
“As well as providing faster direct connectivity to central London and the Coast, the station’s location can drive economic development, including for users of the growing science and business community at Discovery Park, Sandwich.”
Councillor Rick Everitt, Leader of Thanet District Council, said: “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.”