To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made on proposals to electrify the Bexhill to Ashford railway line; and when they expect a new direct fast service to London from Bexhill to commence.
Development work is underway on a new connection at Ashford between High Speed 1 and the Marshlink line, with the aim of improving journey times in the Hastings area. Network Rail reports that work is 80% complete at the design stage. The delivery of the new connection is subject to both identifying a feasible option and funding being secured for it. Design is expected to be complete in January 2019 and will be followed by estimating activity and completion of the business case in February 2019.
Electrification of the railway between Ore and Ashford forms Phase 3 of the High Speed to Hastings & Bexhill initiative (the railway between Bexhill and Ore is already electrified to 750v DC). Currently no funding has been provided for the development of this phase, however bi-mode rolling stock can deliver the desired journey time reductions without incurring the high costs and disruption of electrification.