Tigger has an extended family most of whose members live in or around Ramsgate in the county of Kent.
We have started on our way there and have paused at St Pancras International to await the next train thither, in the meantime consuming our usual breakfast of coffee and croissants.
We have found seats on this so far deserted platform 15. This area of the station is for the HS1 trains serving the south-east. “HS”, as you either know or have guessed, stands for “High Speed”, a name justified by the fact that these trains use the fast railway tracks built for the Eurostar, cutting journey times by an hour or so, compared with ordinary trains.
The first stop after St Pancras is Stratford International. Sadly for the Borough of Newham that gave this station the “International” label in the expectation that the Eurostar would stop here, that expectation never in fact materialised. The label thus remains as an ironic reminder of dashed hopes. (Photo by Tigger.)
I grabbed this snapshot as we crossed the river Medway, one of Kent’s main rivers and a tributary of the Thames.
Shortly after crossing the river, we arrive at Ashford International. This station is a changeover point for services to many parts of Kent not directly reached by HS1. As the name suggests, the Eurostar stops here but may not continue to do so, leaving the station’s international status in doubt.
Incidentally, HS1 was so named in the belief that there be an HS2, a fast service linking London to the North. That plan has always attracted opposition from a number of quarters and it is now quite on the cards that, despite the work already done and money already spent, the project will be cancelled, a fiasco of the kind in which the UK has come to excel.
Kent landscape from the train – contributed by Tigger.
We are about to arrive at Ramsgate. I will perhaps take up the story later.