Hollingbourne Parish Council has received the following announcement from South Eastern Trains about the extension of their franchise from November 2019 to April 2020. It is understood that the new Transport Secretary, Mr Grant Shapps MP abandoned the tendering process for the new franchise and reappointed South Eastern for the next few months. It is believed that the cancellation of the tendering process may cost the tax-payer millions of pounds in compensation payments to other applicants for the franchise to run trains to and from Hollingbourne and elsewhere in Kent.
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Southeastern franchise extended to April 2020
The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed a further extension to the current Southeastern franchise which will now run to 1 April 2020 rather than expiring on 10 November 2019.
The possibility of a further five month extension to the franchise between November and April was announced as an option earlier this year and the DfT has now confirmed this.
It has also notified us that the competition for the next South Eastern franchise has been terminated.
David Statham, Southeastern’s Managing Director, said:
“We’re proud to have delivered more than £80 million of improvements for passengers since we began a new Direct Award contract in 2014. Punctuality has improved by nearly 10% in two years, we’ve introduced free WiFi on our trains and boosted capacity on board with 5,000 extra seats”.
“Over this next extension period, our focus remains squarely on our passengers, delivering more improvements and continuing to improve the punctuality and reliability of our services.”
Go-Ahead Chief Executive David Brown said:
“A lot of hard work was put into a strong bid that would have built upon the achievements of Southeastern in recent years in improving performance and customer satisfaction, delivering more capacity and investment.
“Whilst we’re disappointed that our original bid is not being taken forward, we will engage with the DfT on next steps.”
The Station has not been manned for around thirty years but has a recently installed ticket machine. Maidstone East Station is manned and can be contacted on Tel 680824. The website of South Eastern Trains is https://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/ Some investment has been taken place over the last year to provide disabled access to the down platform from the open country between the railway line and the Pilgrim’s Way where there are only tracks. Wheelchair passengers wishing to alight at Hollingbourne on the down platform are advised to alight at Bearsted where there are proper facilities including a bridge with lifts.
Pictured below is Hollingbourne Station which is in need of redecoration but is does have free parking.