Rail passengers on busy commuter routes will get their first taste of new 140mph "Javelin" trains later this month - but will have to pay more to use them, it was announced today.
On 29 June, the Southeastern train company is starting a limited "preview" service of the Japanese-built, high-speed trains between Ashford International station in Kent, Ebbsfleet International in Kent, and London's St Pancras International.
On this service, a single fare from Ashford to St Pancras which now costs £22,20 will go up to £26.60, although all first-class ticketholders will travel at no extra cost.
Introduction of the new trains will mean Ashford-London journey times will come down to just 37 minutes, from about an hour and 20 minutes, while Ebbsfleet-London will now take 17 minutes.
The full Javelin train service, which will operate on the Channel Tunnel high-rail link line which is now known as High Speed 1, will start on 13 December.
Southeastern managing director Charles Horton said: "The fares that we are announcing today are for the preview service only and we feel they offer value for money for passengers."
The Javelin trains will be used to whisk spectators from St Pancras to the 2012 Olympics site at Stratford in east London in just seven minutes.