Ashford International railway station
|Local authority||Borough of Ashford|
|Number of platforms||6|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections|
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|– Interchange||0.803 million|
|– Interchange||0.835 million|
|– Interchange||0.815 million|
|– Interchange||0.818 million|
|– Interchange||0.818 million|
|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"|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* 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.|
|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) 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.
The station was opened by the South Eastern Railway (SER) in 1842 as a temporary terminus of the line from London to Dover via Croydon. Connections to Folkestone, Canterbury and Hastings had opened within ten years. There have been two significant rebuilds; firstly in the 1960s as part of the South East Mainline electrification, and then as part of the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link in the 1990s. The station was rebranded Ashford International in 1996.
The station is to the southeast of the town centre, and sits at the convergence of several important 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 and taxi ranks 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. 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.
South Eastern Railway
The station was built by the South Eastern Railway (SER) and planned during the initial Railway Mania as a stop between Croydon and Dover. 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. The journey from London to Ashford could now be made in three and a half hours.
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. A connection to Canterbury West opened on 6 February 1846. The Marshlink line connection to Hastings opened on 13 February 1851, after several false starts owing to problems with constructing the line and rivalry between the competing SER and London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR).
The station was sometimes known as Ashford Junction. Another station (Ashford West) was opened by the LCDR 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. 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.
The station became part of the Southern Railway (SR) during the grouping of 1923. It was renamed to Ashford (Kent) on 9 July to avoid confusion with Ashford (Middlesex) railway station. Ashford became the main works depot in the south east after the SR reduced the works at Brighton to repairs-only in 1928. The station then passed on to the Southern Region of British Railways on nationalisation in 1948.
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 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
There are ticket office windows in the domestic booking hall, as well as ticket vending machines. 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.
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 at Ashford, seven heading to Paris and five to Brussels. However, after the opening of Ebbsfleet International station, that number was reduced to two or three trains to/from Paris, and a daily service to Disneyland Paris. A direct train to Brussels was reinstated in 2009. In May 2015, a service to Marseille via Lyon and Avignon began running 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. Using Eurostar services for domestic journeys to and from London is not permitted,[not in citation given] but a high-speed domestic service, operated by Southeastern to London St Pancras, began on 29 June 2009. This link has allowed Ashford to become a commuter town for London. The international part of the station has bilingual signs, in both French and English.
In 2018, it was announced that the international platforms would undergo a £10m refurbishment to make them compatible with Eurostar's Class 374 units, branded as Eurostar e320, as well as to allow other operators to use the station.
So far only one Eurostar e320 has stopped at Ashford, with the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, on board. On the 3 April 2018, Network Rail wrote: "The project has been delivered by Network Rail" but no other stops have occurred.
As of May 2018[update], the typical off-peak timetable is:
- 2 tph (trains per hour) to London St Pancras direct via Ebbsfleet International and Stratford International
- 2 tph to London Charing Cross, via Sevenoaks
- 2 tph to London Victoria via Maidstone East
- 2 tph to Dover Priory of which one continues to London St Pancras via Ramsgate and Faversham
- 3 tph to Canterbury West, of which two continue to Ramsgate and one of those continues to Margate
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.
As of May 2019:
The first fatality on the South Eastern Railway occurred at Ashford in May 1843. A guard had stepped onto a running board to look for lost luggage, when the train suddenly started. He was decapitated when his head hit a sentry box.
- Eurostar Press Release, "Eurostar celebrates 10 years at Ashford International"
- Yonge, John (November 2008) . Jacobs, Gerald (ed.). Railway Track Diagrams 5: Southern & TfL (3rd ed.). Bradford on Avon: Trackmaps. map 11B. ISBN 978-0-9549866-4-3.
- "Ashford Interational". Kent Rail. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
- Gray 1990, p. 11.
- Gray 1990, p. 18.
- Gray 1990, p. 19.
- Butt 1995, p. 53.
- Butt 1995, p. 113.
- Gray 1990, p. 211.
- Butt 1995, p. 20.
- Grant 2017, p. 352.
- Wragg 2003, p. 82.
- Marshall & Kinder 1982, p. 455.
- Barclay 2018, p. 75.
- "Station facilities for Ashford International". National Rail Enquiries. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- "Ashford International". Eurostar. Eurostar. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
- "Eurostar". Retrieved 5 September 2014.[not in citation given]
- "Fast and surreal: Ashford to London on the high speed train". Kent Online. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
- "Ashford to St Pancras - London's most envied commuter route". London Evening Standard. 24 August 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
- "Ashford International modified for use by Eurostar e320 trainsets". Railway Gazette. 19 January 2018. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
- "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.
- "Book 1 - London to Tonbridge, Ashford International, Canterbury West, Dover, and Margate". Southeastern. Archived from the original on 19 June 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
- Table 189 National Rail timetable, December 2014
- "Timetable Core destinations" (PDF). Eurostar. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
- "Continental connections and Disney timetable" (PDF). Eurostar. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
- Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
- Barclay, Kenny (2018). British Rail in the 1980s and 1990s: Electric Locomotives, Coaches, DEMU and EMUs. Amberley Publishing Limited. ISBN 978-1-445-67022-5.
- Grant, Donald (2017). Directory of the Railway Companies of Great Britain. Troubadour Publishing. ISBN 978-1-788-03768-6.
- Gray, Adrian (1990). South Eastern Railway. Middleton Press. ISBN 978-0-906520-85-7.
- Marshall, C.F. Dendy; Kinder, R.W (1982) . History of the Southern Railway. Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0059-X.
- Wragg, David (2003). The Southern Railway Handbook 1923 - 1947. Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-3294-5.
- Jowett, Alan (2000). Jowett's Nationalised Railway Atlas (1st ed.). Penryn, Cornwall: Atlantic Transport Publishers. ISBN 978-0-906899-99-1. OCLC 228266687.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ashford International railway station.|
- Train times and station information for Ashford International railway station from National Rail
- Ashford Station in the 1866 edition of Bradshaw's Descriptive Railway Hand-Book of Great Britain & Ireland
- QDH on theAirDB
- Airport information for Ashford International railway station at Search (for) Travel website.
- BVE Trainsim simulation from Ashford to Swanley
- Ashford International Rail Information.
- Station on navigable 1946 O. S. map