PROPOSALS to turn Minster railway station into a commuter hub offering big parking capacity and links to Manston are in plans about to be put before county- council leaders. The authority is faced with the task of co-ordinating efforts to make improvements to take advantage of the introduction of high-speed services to the county in December.
A Kent County Council select-committee report in October highlighted the possibility of developing parkway stations to serve commuters in the county. It revealed that KCC had commissioned consultants to look at the business case for a Minster Parkway Station which could serve commuters in Manston, Cliffs End, Minster and the area west of Ramsgate.
Its development would offer improved links to Kent International Airport, growth sites such as the planned China Gateway business park, and Pfizer. The committee heard mixed views over a new station’s feasibility, with concerns over costs and who would pay as well as the impact of longer journey times on stations in Thanet’s towns already on the high-speed schedule.
Network Rail, the firm responsible for maintaining train tracks and stations, is quoted in the report as considering a parkway station for Minster by 2015. A temporary station at Sandwich Royal St George’s has also been mooted as a possibility by 2011, to be used when golf’s British Open is being played. A direct rail link to Manston airport was also going to be considered by KCC according to the report.