Full services of the 140mph Javelin trains has started on the London to Kent lines operated by the Southeastern train company. But passengers have to pay more to use the Japanese-built class 395 trains. A peak-time Ashford-London return will be £48.70 (normal fare £40.60), and London-Folkestone will be £52.50, up from £44.40. Even those Southeastern customers not using Javelins will find their fares going up by more than the national average in January.
The arrival of the new trains, as well as other improvements, was anticipated when Southeastern's franchise deal was worked out.
While all regulated fares - including season tickets - for train companies are set at the RPI rate of inflation plus 1 per cent, the formula for Southeastern is RPI plus 3 per cent.
With the January 2010 annual rise being based on the RPI rate the previous July, Southeastern season ticket holders will face new year increases of 1.6 per cent.
The company has also announced that some unregulated fares, which include some off-peak journeys, will be rising by as much as 7.3% in January.
Transport Secretary Lord Adonis and double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes will help launch the new service when they travel in one of the Javelin trains tomorrow morning from St Pancras station in London to Rochester in Kent and back.
The train they will be on has been named after Dame Kelly and is one of 29 which will operate with Southeastern.
Other famous Olympians after whom these trains have been named include Lord Coe and multiple gold medallists Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Chris Hoy.
Come the 2012 London Olympics, the class 395 trains will whisk spectators from St Pancras to the Games site at Stratford in east London in just seven minutes.
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