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Sep 21 2009
Jamie Staff Unveils High Speed Train
LONDON, 21 September: Today Jamie Staff, Beijing Olympic Gold medalist, unveiled a high speed train named after himself in recognition of being one of ‘Britain’s Fastest’. The ceremony took place at Ashford International Station and was attended by local dignitaries including Cllr Paul Clokie, leader of Ashford Council and Damian Green MP for Ashford.
Jamie Staff was selected by a public vote of over 1000 to find the 11 fastest Britain’s to join Dame Kelly Homes, another of Kent’s sporting greats, as one name for the first 12 high speed trains. Jamie Staff, originally from Ashford, was on hand to unveil his train and joins another local Kent sportsman, Steve Backley, who has also been selected.
The 12 trains will be named after:
- Jamie Staff, Beijing gold medallist
- Dame Kelly Homes, double Olympic gold medallist
- Steve Backley, double silver Olympic medalist
- Sir Steve Redgrave, five time Olympic gold medalist
- Rebecca Adlington, double Beijing gold medalist
- Chris Hoy, triple Beijing gold medalist
- Ben Ainslie, triple gold and silver Olympic medalist
- Daley Thompson, double gold Olympic medalist
- Duncan Goodhew, Olympic gold medalist
- Katherine Grainger, triple Olympic silver medalist
- Lord Sebastian Coe, double Olympic gold medalist
- Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, 11 gold Para-Olympic medalist
Charles Horton, managing director, Southeastern said, “Our high speed trains are the fastest in the country so it seems only appropriate that we name the first 12 after ‘Britain’s Fastest’. It is great that Jamie has been able to come here in person and see the train for himself. I know that he is committed to the Ashford area having grown up here, and we are glad that we are now able to bring him home in just 37 minutes from St Pancras International. The benefits this will bring to Ashford and to the rest of Kent will be huge over the coming years as people and business move to Kent.”
In advance of the full introduction of high speed services in December, Southeastern has introduced a preview service to allow passengers to experience what the trains will be like and allow Southeastern to continue to make improvements.
There are currently two morning peak services from Ramsgate via Canterbury West, and from Dover Priory via Folkestone Central and Folkestone West, returning in the evening peak. The services also stop at Ashford International, resulting in four peak services from Ashford International to St Pancras International all returning in the evening peak. There is also one morning peak service from St Pancras International to Ashford International.
An off-peak return train has also been introduced between St Pancras International and Ashford International via Ebbsfleet. There are currently six morning peak services from Ebbsfleet to St Pancras International, with seven services back in the evening peak. Throughout the day, services run twice hourly between Ebbsfleet International and St Pancras International.