I recognise the importance of domestic High Speed 1 services to the people and economies of Kent. The Department is currently negotiating a direct award with Southeastern, which operates them, in which we will consider what improvements can be made to services. We are also undertaking an evaluation study of the High Speed 1 infrastructure, which is due to report in spring next year.
I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. High-speed services are economically transformational for east Kent. Constituents of mine in Deal, and those in Sandwich, wish to have an all-day Javelin high-speed service. Will Ministers help to make that happen?
I know how very important the high-speed service has been to my hon. Friend’s constituents. Although high-speed rail does not run right down to Deal or Sandwich, his constituents get the benefit from HS1 as the Javelin train from St Pancras carries on to serve them. There are ongoing negotiations about the franchise extension, which we will be doing with Southeastern, and I will certainly bear his comments in mind.