Kent’s first new railway station in eight years, Thanet Parkway, has today (Monday 31 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 region by providing access to mainline and highspeed train services.
The first train to arrive at Thanet Parkway station was at 04:48, which was the 04:54 Ramsgate to Ashford International (05:41) Southeastern service.
As a special introductory offer, customers can park for free at the station for a limited time.
Located between Ramsgate and Minster, Thanet Parkway station 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 the Medway Towns.
It also provides connections to a wide range of leisure destinations enabling customers to visit places such as Canterbury (17 mins), Margate (15 mins), Ashford International (32 mins) and Broadstairs (10 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
- passenger help points to provide remote assistance for those who need it.
- ticket vending machines
- waiting shelters and seating, and
- hearing loops.
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 station 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 a number of 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; East Kent Spatial Development Company; 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.
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.”