Ashford International railway station

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Ashford International National Rail
Ashford Intl station bldg.jpg
Location
Place Ashford
Local authority Borough of Ashford
Coordinates 51°08′37″N 0°52′28″E / 51.1436°N 0.87448°E / 51.1436; 0.87448Coordinates: 51°08′37″N 0°52′28″E / 51.1436°N 0.87448°E / 51.1436; 0.87448
Grid reference TR011421
Operations
Station code AFK
Managed by Southeastern
Number of platforms 6
DfT category B
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2012/13 Increase 3.330 million
– Interchange  Increase 0.760 million
2013/14 Increase 3.481 million
– Interchange  Increase 0.803 million
2014/15 Increase 3.615 million
– Interchange  Increase 0.835 million
2015/16 Increase 3.765 million
– Interchange  Decrease 0.815 million
2016/17 Increase 3.798 million
– Interchange  Increase 0.818 million
History
1 December 1842 Opened as "Ashford"
9 July 1923 Renamed "Ashford (Kent)"
8 January 1996 Commencement of Eurostar services
28 February 1996 Rebuilt and renamed "Ashford International"[1]
National RailUK railway stations
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Ashford International from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

Ashford International railway station (IATA: QDH) is a National Rail international and regional station on the High Speed 1, South Eastern Main Line and Marshlink Line in England, United Kingdom, serving the town of Ashford, Kent. It is 56 miles 12 chains (90.4 km) down the line from London Charing Cross (measured via Chelsfield) and 59 miles 19 chains (95.3 km) from London Victoria (via Herne Hill)[2] and is between Pluckley and Westenhanger stations on the main line. Domestic trains that call at Ashford are operated by Southeastern and Southern, and international services by Eurostar.

Eurostar trains use platforms 3 and 4, while domestic trains use the original platforms 1 and 2, and a new island platform (numbered 5 and 6) built by British Rail when the Channel Tunnel opened. While all tracks are electrified with 750 V DC third rail, platforms 3 to 6 are also electrified with 25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead lines.

The domestic terminal to the north of the tracks and the international terminal to the south are connected by a subway which has access to the platforms; access to the international trains on platforms 3 and 4 is only possible through an overbridge from the international terminal. The local bus stops are at the entrance to the domestic terminal. The international terminal is connected to a multi-storey car park by a footbridge and also to the nearby Ashford Designer Outlet by a signposted footpath.

History[edit]

The present station was built by the South Eastern Railway (SER) and planned during the initial Railway Mania as a stop between Croydon and Dover.[3] A special train from London Bridge ran on 28 November 1842, and the station formally opened on 1 December, along with the rest of the line from Redhill.[4] The original station consisted of two platforms with two through lines, along with wooden buildings. The line ended at Ashford until the extension to Folkestone opened on 28 June 1843.[5]

The station became part of the Southern Railway during the grouping of 1923. The station then passed on to the Southern Region of British Railways on nationalisation in 1948.

Another station (Ashford West) was opened by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway on 1 July 1884 for services via Maidstone East to London. This only lasted 15 years until 1 January 1899 when passenger services were diverted to the former South Eastern Railway station. Remarkably the complete station (buildings and platforms) survived for handling freight and engineering trains until it was closed and demolished around 1999 for construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

When sectorisation was introduced in the 1980s by British Rail, the present station was served by Network SouthEast until the privatisation of British Rail.

Ashford station before rebuilding by British Rail

Ashford station has been rebuilt on two occasions in recent history. The station layout up until the early 1960s consisted of two through tracks, two through platform loops and two bay platforms accessible from the east for terminating services.

For phase two of the Kent electrification scheme in 1962, the two bay platforms were converted into through platforms whilst the main station buildings on either side of the line were replaced by an overbridge including a booking hall, newsagent and catering facilities.

Although most of the original station was swept away during the early 1960s rebuild, two substantial platform canopies dating from the South Eastern & Chatham Railway (SECR) era were retained, albeit without their original wooden valence until the later rebuild of the 1990s. The supporting columns of these canopies were stamped with the date 1908.

The previous station entrance, dating from the 1990s

The station was rebuilt as Ashford International during the early 1990s for international services from mainland Europe; this included the addition of two platforms to the north of station (the original down island platform had been taken over by international services).

The majority of the overbridge and platform buildings from the early 1960s rebuild were destroyed during the rebuild of the early 1990s. A small section of the 1960s overbridge does remain however, as an emergency exit between the up island platform (platforms 1 and 2) and the up side car park.

Ticket vending facilities[edit]

There are ticket office windows in the domestic booking hall, as well as ticket vending machines.[6] There is a domestic ticket office window in the Eurostar station, staffed during morning peak only. The international ticket counter in the Eurostar station is only staffed for part of the day.[7]

International services[edit]

Eurostar services
h:mm
0:00
London St Pancras
National Rail
0:14
Ebbsfleet International
National Rail
0:29
Ashford International
National Rail
0:31
British portal
enlarge…
Channel Tunnel
UK
France
border
0:51
French portal
0:55
Calais-Fréthun
SNCF
1:22
Lille Europe
SNCF
2:01
Brussels-South
SNCB logo.svg Deutsche Bahn TGV
3:01
Rotterdam Centraal
w:Nederlandse Spoorwegen
3:41
Amsterdam Centraal
Deutsche Bahn w:Nederlandse Spoorwegen
2:16
Paris-Nord
SNCF
2:40
Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy
TGV
Seasonal and extended services
4:41
Lyon-Part-Dieu
Deutsche Bahn Renfe SNCF
5:49
Avignon TGV
Deutsche Bahn Renfe SNCF
6:27
Marseille-Saint-Charles  Thello logo.png Deutsche Bahn Renfe SNCF
7:12
Moûtiers
SNCF
7:30
Aime-La Plagne
(set down only)
SNCF
7:51
Bourg-Saint-Maurice
SNCF
Fastest timetabled journeys
from London St Pancras

International services started on 8 January 1996. Before the completion of High Speed 1 in November 2007, twelve Eurostar trains a day called, heading to Paris (7 trains) or Brussels (5). However this number was reduced because of the opening of Ebbsfleet International station to 2 or 3 trains to/from Paris and a daily service to Disneyland Paris. A direct train for Brussels was reinstated in 2009. From May 2015 a service to Marseille runs up to five times a week. Seasonal Ski trains also run at weekends in the winter months to Bourg-Saint-Maurice in the French Alps. It is not permitted to use Eurostar services for domestic journeys to and from London;[8][not in citation given] however, a high-speed domestic service operated by Southeastern to London St Pancras began on 29 June 2009.[9] This link has allowed Ashford to become a commuter town to London.[10]

In 2018, it was announced that the international platforms would be undergoing a £10m refurbishment to make them compatible with Eurostar's Class 374 units branded as Eurostar e320, as well as allowing other operators to use the station.[11]

Unfortunately, the station adaptations for the new e320 train were not done properly and are still a major issue today, so no e320 are able to stop at the station [12]. Eurostar doesn't communicate or manage very well the unplanned issues so most traffic from/to Ashford are diverted to Ebbsfleet.

So far only one e320 stop at the station with the Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP on board. On the 3rd of April Network Rail written "The project has been delivered by Network Rail"[13] but no other stops have occurred.

Services[edit]

As of May 2018, the typical off-peak timetable is:

As of the Southern May 2018 new timetable,[timeframe?] the fast service to Brighton has been discontinued. Now an Eastbourne stopping service has been introduced.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Ebbsfleet International   Southeastern
High Speed 1
  Canterbury West
Stratford International     Folkestone West
Pluckley   Southeastern
South East Main Line
  Westenhanger
  Southeastern
Ashford to Ramsgate
(via Canterbury West) Line
  Wye
Charing   Southeastern
Maidstone Line
  Terminus
Terminus   Southern
Marshlink Line
  Ham Street
  International services  
St Pancras International   Eurostar
High Speed 1
London-Paris
  Paris Nord
Ebbsfleet International   Eurostar
High Speed 1
London-Brussels/Chessy
  Calais-Fréthun
Disused railways
Waterloo International   Eurostar
London to Paris/Brussels
  Calais-Fréthun
Pluckley   British Rail
Southern Region

South Eastern Main Line
  Smeeth
Hothfield   British Rail
Southern Region

Maidstone Line
  Terminus

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations

  1. ^ Eurostar Press Release, "Eurostar celebrates 10 years at Ashford International"
  2. ^ Yonge, John (November 2008) [1994]. Jacobs, Gerald, ed. Railway Track Diagrams 5: Southern & TfL (3rd ed.). Bradford on Avon: Trackmaps. map 11B. ISBN 978-0-9549866-4-3. 
  3. ^ Gray 1990, p. 11.
  4. ^ Gray 1990, p. 18.
  5. ^ Gray 1990, p. 19.
  6. ^ "Station facilities for Ashford International". National Rail Enquiries. Retrieved 2015-09-10. 
  7. ^ "Ashford International". Eurostar. Eurostar. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "Eurostar". Retrieved 5 September 2014. [not in citation given]
  9. ^ "Fast and surreal: Ashford to London on the high speed train". Kent Online. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2018. 
  10. ^ "Ashford to St Pancras - London's most envied commuter route". London Evening Standard. 24 August 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2018. 
  11. ^ "Ashford International modified for use by Eurostar e320 trainsets". Railway Gazette. 19 January 2018. Retrieved 19 January 2018. 
  12. ^ "Eurostar e320 trains still can't stop at Ashford International four months on". Ken Online. 7 August 2018. Retrieved 1 September 2018. 
  13. ^ "Ashford station's international future looks bright as first modern high-speed train calls en-route to Paris [and Brussels]". Ken Online. 3 April 2018. Retrieved 1 September 2018. 
  14. ^ "Book 1 - London to Tonbridge, Ashford International, Canterbury West, Dover, and Margate". Southeastern. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  15. ^ Table 189 National Rail timetable, December 2014
  16. ^ "Timetable Core destinations" (PDF). Eurostar. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  17. ^ "Continental connections and Disney timetable" (PDF). Eurostar. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 

Sources

External links[edit]