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Even where they are faster, they cost about 20 per cent more - and take Kent commuters to places that most do not want to go.
"Most of my constituents want the West End and the City, which is where the old line takes you - but the high-speed train goes to St Pancras," says Mr Gale.
The journey from Victoria to Faversham now takes 77 minutes, with ten stops, two of them at wayside halts surrounded by open fields.
There used to be 14 rush-hour trains on the old line from London to Chatham. Rather as the Soviet Union used to declare dissidents "non-people," these trains have also been airbrushed from the record.
HS1 offers an ideal opportunity to test the economic claims made for HS2."I work in the City but I don't earn a City salary," he says."We are struggling to raise three children, my wife is doing two jobs, and we are paying more for less.If you work near St Pancras and live in one of the towns best served by the high-speed line – above all, Ashford, where the whole journey to London is on it – you are thrilled.Phil Waterhouse, who commutes from Ashford to Tottenham Court Road, said: "I wouldn't have worked in London if it wasn't for this." Madeleine Webb, travelling from Hackney to Canterbury, said: "It's fantastic – it's changed my life." But on Thursday's 6.10pm from St Pancras to Ashford and Margate, The Sunday Telegraph counted more than 200 empty seats on a 700-seat train.