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High-speed Javelin arrives early

29 June 09 08:33 GMT

The UK's first high-speed commuter train has arrived in London one minute early, reaching London St Pancras 36 minutes after leaving Ashford, Kent.

The 140mph Japanese-built "Javelin" train was running on the Channel Tunnel rail link, known as High Speed 1.

The Hitachi Class 395 train left Ashford at 0648 BST with about 150 passengers and stopped at Ebbsfleet before arriving at 0724 BST.

The journey takes about 80 minutes on a conventional train.

Commodity broker Mike Hussey, who travelled from Ashford, said: "It's absolutely brilliant. It's the way travel should be."

Businessman Martin Brown, 52, also from Ashford, said: "It's a very good train.

"We should have had it years ago rather than travelling in cattle-class".

Monday's service was the start of a weekday only, limited "preview" of the new trains ahead of full service introduction on 13 December.

At present the javelins are running only as far as Ashford but by the end of the year they will be getting to Canterbury in 59 minutes, Folkestone in 57 minutes and Ramsgate in 80 minutes.

In 2012, the javelin trains will whisk spectators from St Pancras to the Olympics site at Stratford, east London, in seven minutes.

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