HS1 transforms the Kent economy

The HS1 Javelin high speed trains have helped to transform the Kent economy since their introduction ten years ago and have resulted in millions of pounds of investment and jobs.

Folkestone is one of the towns that has benefited the most from its improved connectivity with benefits to both commuters and tourism.

Leisure journeys to Kent via the high speed route have risen from 100,000 to 890,000 per year since 2010.

Growth in passengers has risen from 7 million to 15.3 million over the first ten years and it is forecasted the passenger numbers will grow by 140% by 2044.

The introduction of HS1 is estimated to have provided £3.8 billion in economic and social benefits. It has made an estimated £311 million contribution to the county’s visitor economy since the launch of domestic services.

High speed rail services added £72.7 million to the Kent economy last year, according to new research. Approximately 6,000 jobs are believed to have been created in the last seven years, based on a study by tourism agency Visit Kent and economists Destination Research.

The line – which runs from London St Pancras to the Channel Tunnel and across Kent – is believed to have brought £81.65 to the county’s economy for each leisure journey made.

It was on November 14, 2007 that the final section of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link was completed to connect high speed services from Europe to London. With completion of the stretch of track between Ebbsfleet and London, the inauguration of HS1 resulted in travel from St Pancras to Paris in 2 hours 15 minutes and to Brussels in 1 hour 51 minutes.

The first phase of high speed track had been launched in 2003 with trains reaching speeds of up to 190mph from the Channel Tunnel to Fawkham Junction, near Gravesend.  The final section of track into London reduced journey times by a further 20 minutes.

Initially, only Eurostar services ran on the line from St Pancras to Europe via Ashford International and Ebbsfleet International stations.

Full domestic services were launched on HS1 in 2009.