Monday, 30 January 2017

Ashford's Astounding Announcement (1)

A One-Horse Town!
Indeed, Ashford Kent was, for most of its life, a one horse town; the horse being the Iron Horse. Ashford Railway Works was Huge ...
... and it looked huger from the air. This is looking from the opposite direction to that of the map above.
There isn't much of it left ...
... but the iconic clock tower still stands. Most of the main site is (or will be) housing. But opposite the tower, the circus is in town.
Only it isn't. It is a huge retail park with shops round the edge complete with weird tented roofs ...
... and car parking in the middle. Buses, as you would expect, are not allowed in the middle; they are relegated to a busy stop at the bottom end.
A glance at maps, old ...
... and new ...
... will show how the Railway town has grown. (click on the maps to enlarge them).

Ashford still has its original centre; but it can be hard to match older with new. Here is the "top end" of the High Street then ...
... and now.
The obvious landmark is still there, hidden behind the tree.
But at the lower end ...
... restful trees and not quite pedestrianised roadways replace the bus stops.

Ashford railway station has also changed dramatically.
It was much rebuilt in preparation for trains to Europe in the 1990s.
The "International" bit provides a stop for Eurostar services via the Channel Tunnel.
The service isn't what you might call lavish. There are two trains TO Paris Monday to Saturday, one on Sunday. FROM Paris there are again two trains but three on Sundays. TO Brussels there is one Monday to Saturday train and one on Sunday, but two extra departures on Mondays and Fridays. FROM Brussels just one train Monday to Saturday and one on Sunday.

There are also trains to Disneyland Paris, Marseille and Bourg St Maurice for the Alps, some running seasonally only.

Seems a lot of station for hardly any trains.

But we must now turn to the buses. Part two of this series will appear on WEDNESDAY to allow for a quick review of South Yorkshire's changes which came into effect yesterday.

 Next South Yorkshire blog : Tuesday 31st January 


  1. Ashford used to have more Eurostar services, but they were thinned when Ebbsfleet opened to avoid having too many stops on the High Speed line.

    Still, better than Stratford International, which I don't think has had an international train call since it opened!

  2. Ah. As an East Kent resident, I think I know where this is going!

    The lack of Eurostars stopping at Ashford is partly due to the latest Velaro sets not being able to stop there, because of signalling and other infrastructure issues.

    As we're in Ashford, has FBB seen this proposal for part of the old railway works?

  3. An update on the Eurostar issue: