- Ashford International railway station
Infobox UK station
name = Ashford International
code = AFK
manager = Southeastern
borough = Borough of Ashford
1 December 1842
events = Opened as "Ashford"
9 July 1923
events1 = Renamed "Ashford (Kent)"
8 January 1996
events2 = Commencement of
28 February 1996
events3 = Official opening of "Ashford International" [ [http://www.eurostar.com/UK/uk/leisure/about_eurostar/press_release/press_archive_2006/09_01_06_Eurostar_celebrates_10_years.jsp Eurostar Press Release, "Eurostar celebrates 10 years at Ashford International"] ]
platforms = 6
usage0405 = 2.286
usage0506 = 2.409
usage0607 = 2.606
Ashford International railway station serves Ashford in
Kent, England. Services are provided by Southeastern, Southern and Eurostar. After the opening of Ebbsfleet Internationaland St Pancras International, Ashford International now only sees about 4 or 5 Eurostar services per day.
International services use platforms 3 & 4, whilst domestic trains use the original platforms 1 & 2, and a new island (platforms 5 & 6) built when the
Channel Tunnelopened. While all tracks are electrified with 750 V DC third rail, platforms 3-6 are also electrified with 25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead line.
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 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 and the structures were similar in design to the platform canopies that survive at Ramsgate station.
The station was rebuilt as Ashford International during the early 1990s for international services from the continent; 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.
High Speed Services
Before the opening of
High Speed 1in 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 station. At present, no Brussels-bound trains now stop at the station, meaning passengers must instead change at Lillefor Brussels, although from 14 December 2008, however a daily service to Brussels will be reintroduced. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/7534712.stm] BBC News Article]
It should be noted that it is not permitted to use Eurostar services for journeys solely between Ashford and London. International trains from London only pick passengers up at Ashford and do not set down. Similarly, international trains to London only set down passengers at Ashford and do not pick up.
From 2009, Southeastern will operate high-speed services from Ashford International to London St Pancras International via High Speed 1. Journey time will take approximately 35 minutes with two trains an hour on average. The Class 395 train sets are being specially built by Hitachi and the first trains having been delivered in 2007 for advance testing.
The typical domestic off-peak service from the station is:
*4tph (trains per hour) to London Charing Cross, which run via Sevenoaks
*1tph to London Cannon Street via Maidstone East
*1tph to London Victoria via Maidstone East
*2tph to Dover Priory of which one continues to Ramsgate
*3tph to Canterbury West, of which two continue to Ramsgate and one of those continues to Margate
*1tph to Brighton via the
As well as these domestic services, every day 4 Eurostar trains serve the station heading towards
Paris(3 trains) or Disneyland Paris, and 4 trains serve the station heading towards London (St Pancras International).
* [http://www.mikan.demon.co.uk/john/john.htm BVE Trainsim simulation from Ashford to Swanley]
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