Ashford International railway station

Ashford International National Rail
Place Ashford
Local authority Borough of Ashford
Coordinates 51°08′37″N 0°52′28″E / 51.1436°N 0.87448°E / 51.1436; 0.87448Coordinates: 51°08′37″N 0°52′28″E / 51.1436°N 0.87448°E / 51.1436; 0.87448
Grid reference TR011421
Station code AFK
Managed by Southeastern
Number of platforms 6
DfT category B
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2010/11 Increase 3.123 million
– Interchange  Increase 0.531 million
2011/12 Increase 3.311 million
– Interchange  Increase 0.754 million
2012/13 Increase 3.330 million
– Interchange  Increase 0.760 million
2013/14 Increase 3.481 million
– Interchange  Increase 0.803 million
2014/15 Increase 3.615 million
– Interchange  Increase 0.835 million
1 December 1842 Opened as "Ashford"
9 July 1923 Renamed "Ashford (Kent)"
8 January 1996 Commencement of Eurostar services
28 February 1996 Rebuilt and renamed "Ashford International"[1]
National Rail – UK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Ashford International from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Ashford International railway station (IATA: QDH) serves Ashford in Kent, England. Services are provided by Southeastern, Southern and Eurostar.

International services use platforms 3 & 4, whilst domestic trains use the original platforms 1 & 2, and a new island (platforms 5 & 6) built by British Rail when the Channel Tunnel opened. While all tracks are electrified with 750 V DC third rail, platforms 3-6 are also electrified with 25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead line.

The domestic terminal to the north of the tracks and the international terminal to the south are connected by a subway which has access to the platforms; access to the international trains on platforms 3 & 4 is only possible through an overbridge from the international terminal. The local bus stops are located at the entrance to the domestic terminal. The international terminal is connected to a multi-storey car park via a footbridge and also to the nearby Ashford Designer Outlet by a signposted footpath.


The present station was opened by the South Eastern Railway (SER) on 1 December 1842, and became part of the Southern Railway during the grouping of 1923. The station then passed on to the Southern Region of British Railways on nationalisation in 1948.

Another station (Ashford West) was opened by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway on 1 July 1884 for services via Maidstone East to London. This only lasted 15 years until 1 January 1899 when passenger services were diverted to the former South Eastern Railway station. Remarkably the complete station (buildings and platforms) survived for handling freight and engineering trains until it was closed and demolished around 1999 for construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

When sectorisation was introduced in the 1980s by British Rail, the present station was served by Network SouthEast until the privatisation of British Rail.

Ashford station before rebuilding by British Rail

Ashford station has been rebuilt on two occasions in recent history. The station layout up until the early 1960s consisted of two through tracks, two through platform loops and two bay platforms accessible from the east for terminating services.

For phase two of the Kent electrification scheme in 1962, the two bay platforms were converted into through platforms whilst the main station buildings on either side of the line were replaced by an overbridge including a booking hall, newsagent and catering facilities.

Although most of the original station was swept away during the early 1960s rebuild, two substantial platform canopies dating from the South Eastern & Chatham Railway (SECR) era were retained, albeit without their original wooden valence until the later rebuild of the 1990s. The supporting columns of these canopies were stamped with the date 1908.

The previous station entrance, dating from the 1990s

The station was rebuilt as Ashford International during the early 1990s for international services from mainland Europe; this included the addition of two platforms to the north of station (the original down island platform had been taken over by international services).

The majority of the overbridge and platform buildings from the early 1960s rebuild were destroyed during the rebuild of the early 1990s. A small section of the 1960s overbridge does remain however, as an emergency exit between the up island platform (platforms 1 and 2) and the up side car park.

Ticket vending facilities

There are ticket office windows in the domestic booking hall, as well as ticket vending machines.[2] There is a domestic ticket office window in the Eurostar station, staffed during morning peak only. The international ticket counter in the Eurostar station is only manned for part of the day.[3]

International services

Eurostar services

0:00 London St Pancras London Underground National Rail
0:14 Ebbsfleet International National Rail
0:29 Ashford International National Rail
0:31 British portal
Channel Tunnel
0:51 French portal
0:55 Calais-Fréthun SNCF
1:22 Lille Europe Lille tramway Lille Metro SNCF
2:01 Brussels-South Brussels Metro Deutsche Bahn TGV

2:16 Paris Gare du Nord Paris Métro RER Transilien SNCF

2:40 Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy RER TGV
Seasonal and
extended services
4:41 Lyon-Part-Dieu Deutsche Bahn Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles SNCF
5:49 Avignon TGV Deutsche Bahn Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles SNCF
6:27 Marseille-Saint-Charles Deutsche Bahn Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles SNCF
7:12 Moûtiers SNCF
7:30 Aime-La Plagne (set down only) SNCF
7:51 Bourg-Saint-Maurice SNCF

Times shown are fastest timetabled journey from St Pancras.

International services started on 8 January 1996. Before the completion of High Speed 1 in November 2007, twelve Eurostar trains a day called, heading to Paris (7 trains) or Brussels (5). However this number was reduced because of the opening of Ebbsfleet International station to 3 trains to Paris and a daily service to Disneyland Paris. A direct train for Brussels was reinstated in 2009. From May 2015 a new all-year service to Marseille runs up to five times a week. Seasonal Ski trains also run in the winter months to Bourg-Saint-Maurice in the French Alps. It is not permitted to use Eurostar services for domestic journeys to and from London;[4] however, a high-speed domestic service operated by Southeastern to London St Pancras began on 29 June 2009.


As of 16 September 2015, the typical off-peak timetable is:

Preceding station National Rail Following station
Ebbsfleet International   Eurostar
High Speed 1
Ebbsfleet International   Southeastern
High Speed 1
  Canterbury West
High Speed 1
  Folkestone West
Pluckley   Southeastern
South East Main Line
Ashford to Ramsgate
(via Canterbury West) Line
Charing   Southeastern
Maidstone Line
Terminus   Southern
Marshlink Line
  Ham Street
Disused railways
Pluckley   British Rail
Southern Region

South Eastern Main Line
Hothfield   British Rail
Southern Region

Maidstone Line

See also


  1. Eurostar Press Release, "Eurostar celebrates 10 years at Ashford International"
  2. "Station facilities for Ashford International". National Rail Enquiries. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  3. "Ashford International". Eurostar. Eurostar. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  4. "Eurostar". Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  5. "Book 1 - London to Tonbridge, Ashford International, Canterbury West, Dover, and Margate". Southeastern. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  6. Table 189 National Rail timetable, December 2014
  7. "Timetable Core destinations" (PDF). Eurostar. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  8. "Continental connections and Disney timetable" (PDF). Eurostar. Retrieved 16 September 2015.

External links

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