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Folkestone Harbour Railway Ltd

Experience from the West Midlands

A daily Train-Train service was implemented between Stourbridge Town and Stourbridge Junction in 2009 and the station footfall rose by 95%. Over the following five years the increase was 129% with much of that being in the form of season tickets - regular users.

Rail fares are lower than bus fares and the route is included within the National Rail "Plusbus" scheme.

Rail fares from Stourbridge Junction to Stourbridge Town: -

Single (Anytime) -       £  0.80

Return (Off Peak) -     £  1.10

Return (Peak) -          £  1.60


Experience from the Truro, Cornwall

Truro is a city of just 23,000 and has a park and ride system that links to both the railway station and city centre.   It is 40% cheaper than a similar service operating in the nearby tourist destination of Canterbury for which the fare is £2.50 for as many bus journeys as required in a day whilst a car is parked.

Truro’s park and ride car park opened in 2008 and has 1,209 places.   Last measurements indicated an average of 1,700 users per day (1.4 users per place per day).   This relates it to “long stay” parking instead of town centre car parks focused on “short stay”.   It is environmentally friendly in construction and has won a number of awards.

Folkestone will contain the same elements as Truro but in a different order. Half of services will start from Folkestone Central but the service will double in frequency from the Park and Ride with all services serving East Cliff, Harbour and Leas Lifts.

Expectations for Folkestone Central

The proposed service catchment area covers three of Folkestone’s nine local authority wards.

Foord and Harbour Wards comprising the bulk of the town’s eastern housing area are closely related to the proposed service with the East Ward being north of the main line railway. The latter ward extends westward along the M20 and northern industrial and retail sites.   This area is shown in green, the immediate housing shown in brown.   The Seafront development lies within the Harbour Ward.


Ward data gives the catchment population: -

The present population represents about 37% of the town and the seafront development will add to the local population, raising the area’s proportion to 40%. If matched to the western area of Folkestone (Cheriton, Morehall, Park and the west end of the Harvey West wards approximately 18,925 residents – 47% of the town) sees a station footfall of 286,703 with 43% of traffic being by season ticket holders – a 47% increase over 2010 after introduction of HS1 services.   Harvey Central and the east end of Harvey West wards (approximately 6,200 residents – 16% of the town) are adjacent to Folkestone Central station.

If the expectation is that the new residents of the Seafront Development will include a reasonable proportion that would travel daily or frequently to London then, without the tram-train, this is more likely to be by car to Folkestone West.   The implementation of a tram train service would not only increase property values in the development area but decrease the calls from new residents to increase station car parking at Folkestone West.   It is also highly likely that some season ticket holders from the east of the town presently using Folkestone West will use the tram-train from the Park and Ride station, joining HS1 services at Folkestone Central.

This represents the current position but with the Seafront Development adding another 12% to the Harbour Ward total then it might not be unexpected for them to use rail services in the same proportion: -


The total number of journeys associated with main line rail services may reasonably be expected to be in the order of 500,000 per annum (about 1,430 per day).   If the service to and from Folkestone Central operates between 07.00 and 23.00 each day then there would be 96 services a day carrying an average of 15 passengers on each journey.

Expectations for Folkestone Central

Taking the award winning example of Truro the expectation of use for “long term” parking is 1.7 cars per day per space.   If one considers that an average season ticket is used on 225 days per annum then the total required in connection with rail journeys would be a proportion of the number of journeys shown above.   Expectation of 100 spaces being used by rail passengers would not be unreasonable and these spaces can be reused in connection with the Seafront night-time economy.

More difficult is the required provision for traffic that would no longer be able to obtain parking spaces at the Seafront itself.   It would seem that over 500 visitor car parking spaces will be lost as a result of the Seafront Development. Provision of a tram-train can form part of long term parking provision within the town. These can be moved to the proposed Park and Ride station potentially using the whole Network Rail land to the west of the Harbour Branch.   It is highly likely that at least 500 spaces can be provided and given 400 spaces not being used by rail passengers then the application of 1.4 cars per space per day would deliver a maximum 560 cars per day (2,350 journeys – 2.1 passengers per car).   Given an 07.00 to 19.00 Park and Ride specific operation (but with 19.00 to 23.00 being continued by Folkestone Central Services) then over the 72 specifically provided services an average of 33 passengers per service might be expected.

Taking Folkestone Central (96 services – 1,430 passengers) and Park and Ride (72 services – 2,350 passengers) then an average of 22.5 passengers per service might be expected.   

Whether this is sufficient to deal with seafront events such as water sports, music festivals or air shows remains to be seen.   Potential vehicle types are: -

Capacity -       60 passengers

Seated -         23 seated (6 folding)

Wheelchair -       1

Standing -       37

Capacity –        100 passengers

Seated –          40 seated (6 folding)

Wheelchair –      2

Standing -        60 standing

The 60 seat vehicle would seem to be sufficient for day to day use but if events are to continue at a reasonable frequency then investment in the larger type might be considered – and essential if a fast ferry connection with Boulogne is re-established.

Market Analysis




Av. Age

Av. Dwelling
















Present Totals



Seafront Development


Future Totals







Existing Residents





New Residents





Park and Ride