Patrick McLoughlin said that "electrification was at the heart of the programme for Control Period 5, and we want to go further, so I am asking Network Rail to look at electrification for Marshlink". "We are now firmly on the journey to vastly improved rail travel to and from Hastings" said Amber Rudd, the Member for Hastings and Rye, who has been spearheading the campaign to upgrade rail services for Hastings and revitalise the local economy.

Network Rail’s Route Managing Director for the South East Dave Ward committed to develop the project during the coming investment period and to build the partnership with stakeholders needed to deliver the project soon after 2019. High-speed Javelin trains running between London St Pancras and Bexhill via Ashford International will achieve a journey time between London St Pancras and Hastings of just 68 minutes, compared to over 100 minutes via Tonbridge in the peak today. The new service for Hastings and Bexhill will also reduce crowding for passengers on the line through Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks.

Roger Blake of campaign group Railfuture welcomed the news: "This is a phenomenal success for East Sussex, which will stimulate economic growth in Hastings. With our support, the County Council have secured the first of two priorities in their new Rail Action Plan within six months of publishing it. We will continue to work in partnership with East Sussex, Kent and Brighton and Hove, and the Local Enterprise Partnership, to ensure that this promise is delivered and to achieve East Sussex's second priority of electrifying the Uckfield line and reopening from Uckfield to Lewes , enabling through services from London via the Weald to Brighton and Sussex coast destinations. That will reconnect communities, boost their economies, improve links to coastal colleges, and reduce passenger crowding by increasing capacity with an additional capital-coastal route".

Railfuture and the St Leonards and Hastings Rail Improvement Programme (SHRIMP), a member of the East Sussex Rail Alliance of local rail user groups, have been campaigning for electrification of the whole Marshlink line between Hastings and Ashford International, to accelerate services and improve reliability and capacity. Currently electrified track from Hastings towards Ashford only reaches as far as Ore, the first station.

To enable the new service, Network Rail plan to electrify the Marshlink line between Ore and Ashford, raise the line's maximum speed, extend the passing loop at Rye, and remodel the western junctions at Ashford to create a connection between the Marshlink line and High Speed One. The prolonged closure of the Tonbridge line has highlighted the limitations of that route for much improvement, whereas the planned step-change upgrade of the Marshlink route for a new Javelin service has a strong business case.

Railfuture commissioned their member Mike Turner, a Hastings resident and member of the Guild of Railway Artists, to paint a picture of a high-speed Javelin train at Hastings station. Amber Rudd presented Patrick McLoughlin with the 'Shock and Ore' picture to celebrate his announcement. She said: "I love the picture! It’s a vision I share and will be transformational for the town". Railfuture's Roger Blake then presented her with a model of a Javelin train, generously donated by Hornby Hobbies of already Javelin-served Margate.