The proposed service represents a victory for Conservative Parliamentary Candidate, Cllr Mark Reckless, and local campaigners.
For years only one Cannon Street service has stopped in Rochester and the fast services to Victoria have only stopped at Rochester off-peak, leaving commuters from Rochester to London having to either get a slow train, drive or have a long walk to Chatham, or get a connecting train via Chatham.
This will now change as Southeastern acted on feedback received following the Commuter Feedback Survey organised by Mark Reckless and Fares Fair campaigner, Chris Irvine, in March this year.
Mark met with Southeastern on 8th April to explain that a key element of feedback received was for fast Victoria and Cannon Street trains to serve commuters from Rochester. He first reported on markreckless.com on 25th April that Southeastern might agree to do this.
Southeastern have now confirmed they will run 07.10, 08.11 and 08.32 fast services from Rochester to Cannon Street in addition to the current 06.46 (changing to 06.41) service.
All will take about 45 minutes to Cannon Street. There will now be five, rather than one, fast, direct evening services returning from Cannon Street to Rochester.
There will also be new fast, direct services from Rochester to Victoria at 08.22 and 08.52 and commuter evening return services will stop in Rochester.
Reacting to the news Mark Reckless said:
“This is the culmination of a long campaign which I have led with the support of Cllr Phil Filmer on behalf of Rochester commuters. Many will gain up to an extra half an hour a day, whether at work, in bed, or with the family, because of this excellent decision by Southeastern, who I congratulate on having listened and responded to local people.”
Others, who don’t commute by train from Rochester, may also benefit from reduced congestion as many commuters who currently drive to Chatham can walk to Rochester instead.
The timetable is in draft form and, although it goes most of the way to deliver the campaign goals, Mark will be asking Southeastern if they would consider having at least one further fast train stop at Rochester for Cannon Street between 07.10 and 08.11 and for Victoria between 06.41 and 08.22, since this would allow us to promote Rochester as having a full commuter fast service to London.