Rail Minister officially opens Thanet Parkway station as Southeastern and Network Rail prepare to welcome customer number 10,000: Thanet Parkway opening group shot

Friday 8 Sep 2023

Rail Minister officially opens Thanet Parkway station as Southeastern and Network Rail prepare to welcome customer number 10,000

Region & Route:
| Southern: Kent

Rail Minister Huw Merriman today (Friday 8 September) formally opened Thanet Parkway, Kent’s first new railway station in eight years.

The minister attended the celebratory opening event alongside a number of invited guests and senior representatives from Network Rail, Southeastern, Kent County Council, Thanet District Council and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

The event was a local affair with music from the @ Thanet Big Sing Community Choir, and food supplied by Chapel House Estate,  a wedding and events venue located near Minster.

The winners were also unveiled on the day of an art competition that was held in two nearby schools, Minster CofE Primary and Chilton Primary, with each of the six winning pupils receiving a family High Speed travel pass from Southeastern.

The minister unveiled a commemorative plaque to officially mark the opening and he enjoyed a station tour. He was shown a number of customer-focussed features including:

  • Step-free lift access to platforms
  • Assisted Boarding Points on both platforms – part of a new accessible travel pilot scheme for Southeastern
  • Newly installed accessible toilet
  • Tactile paving for wayfinding
  • 11 Passenger Help Points with Hearing Loops for remote assistance
  • Waiting shelters and seating
  • CCTV for security
  • Defibrillator
  • Ticket vending machines

Guests also took a short trip to Margate on Trainbow, the first of the Class 395 Javelin fleet that has had a major interior refresh, as part of a £27m upgrade programme.

The Rail Minister Huw Merriman said: “The opening of Thanet Parkway is the latest example of the Government’s commitment to making rail journeys across the UK more accessible and I’m delighted to see this impressive new station already making a difference in the community.

“It will provide a boost to the local economy by better connecting people to employment, education and business opportunities while allowing thousands of people to benefit from new high-speed services into London as well as leisure and tourism attractions across Kent.”

David Davidson, Network Rail’s Kent route director, said: “It was brilliant to welcome the Rail Minister to Thanet Parkway today to officially open what is Kent’s first new railway station in eight years.

“As part of this project we upgraded several level crossings to allow trains to run faster, which created space in the timetable for a new stop at Thanet Parkway without increasing journey times for passengers.

“It’s really pleasing to see passenger numbers steadily increasing since the station opened. We are committed to encouraging as many people as possible to ditch the car and use the train as a greener form of travel and this new station will play a key part in attracting more people to use the railway.”

Steve White, Southeastern’s Managing Director, said: “Passenger numbers have been building since the station opened at the end of July and we are expecting our 10,000th customer any day now. I’m confident that this modern, fully accessible station will be a long term asset for the local community. It is served by Britain’s fastest domestic train offering the sustainable option to park and ride on our all-electric railway. We’ll have staff at the station everyday between 8am and 4pm and crew on board every service, to assist customers.”

Kent County Council Leader, Roger Gough, said: “It was a privilege to officially open Thanet Parkway today alongside the Rail Minister, Huw Merriman.

“Thanet Parkway is a symbol of the prosperity to come for east Kent, providing the area with faster links to the Capital and unlocking opportunity which will be realised in future years and decades.”

Sarah Dance, South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Chair, said: “We are thrilled to be part of this celebration today, this station marks a key milestone in the future economy for East Kent offering greater access to jobs, training, and widening the catchment for leisure purposes.
“SELEP is delighted to have been part of the partnership working to deliver for our local and regional economy and our communities.”

Councillor Rick Everitt, Leader of Thanet District Council, said: “Thanet welcomes the very substantial investment that Parkway has received from the government and Kent County Council, and treats it as a vote of confidence in its future, which we believe is a bright one. From the district council’s perspective we will do everything we can to get as much value out of the new station as we can.”

Notes to Editors

Thanet Parkway station opened to customers on 31 July, improving rail connectivity between East Kent, London and the wider south-east region. The new station brings the capital closer to the coast and opens up Thanet to new jobs and new business as well as offers new connections for leisure journeys in East Kent.

Thanet to London in 70 minutes

The station provides customers with access to regular high speed Southeastern train services to St Pancras and additional peak services to Charing Cross and Cannon Street.

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).

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).
  • As well as rail connections for London and across Kent, Thanet Parkway provides the potential for an integrated transport hub in the future. The station has a huge car park as befitting a parkway station with parking available for 293 vehicles, including 16 for Blue Badge holders, as well as 12 charging points for electric vehicles, with a new road providing access to the station from the A299 Hengist Way.
  • 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.
  • To allow trains to call safely at the new station, Network Rail upgraded Cliffsend and Sevenscore level crossings while 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.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Rob Breckon
Senior Communications Manager - Southern
Network Rail
07395 390759

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk