Sunday 17 July 2016

Changes to Deptford train services from August onwards

It's come to my notice on Twitter that a lot of you haven't really been paying attention the last couple of years about this whole train situation. For those whose local stations are Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich or Deptford, there's a shitload of inconvenience coming and you probably need to try and get your head around it before it actually happens. Or you might want to think about getting a bike.

Cannon Street/Charing Cross
I shall say this only once (although it won't be the first time I've said it..)

No more direct trains from Deptford to Charing Cross or Waterloo East. Ever.  They won't be coming back after the Thameslink work at London Bridge is finished, they are gone for ever.

Not gone like Boris Johnson, but actually gone. Direct trains into town are never going to be going anywhere other than London Bridge or Cannon Street.

But that's not all I'm afraid.

No direct access to London Bridge until January 2018
For the last couple of years we've been putting up with having to change at London Bridge in order to get to Waterloo, the West End and beyond by underground. From the end of August this option will not be available as trains on the Deptford line will not stop at London Bridge again until January 2018.

Trains on the Greenwich line will go direct into Cannon Street meaning that if you get on a London-bound train in Deptford your next stop will be Cannon Street.

Think of Monopoly when you get the 'go to jail' card.

Go to Cannon Street. Go directly to Cannon Street.

Unfortunately you can't bypass what's effectively a massive pain in the arse by walking to New Cross. They are getting the Go to Cannon Street card as well.  

If you want to travel to London Bridge, Waterloo East or Charing Cross stations from Deptford, your ticket will be valid on specific underground and bus routes and you will not be charged extra.

The approved routes are shown above and full details can be found by clicking this link. If you use an Oyster it's automatically calculated - and has been working fairly smoothly during the works the last couple of years - and paper tickets should be accepted on these routes. Unfortunately they are not particularly direct.

There's more bad news I'm afraid - especially if you need to commute during the August bank holiday week.

End of August commuting omnishambles
There will be NO TRAINS AT ALL from Deptford station from Saturday 27th August to Thursday 1st September inclusive. Buses will replace trains on the Greenwich Line and trains that normally go through New Cross to London Bridge will be terminating at New Cross.

As far as I can work out, there WILL be trains from Lewisham on the weekdays (Monday 29th to Thursday 1st) so if you do have to travel your best bet would probably be to get the DLR to Lewisham and then travel into town by train from there. But as that seems to be the only route into town from the southeastern metropolitan lines, I suspect Lewisham is going to be very busy.

For those in the north of Deptford you might opt to get the bus to North Greenwich or Canada Water and get the Jubilee Line. Whichever route you take, it's going to be a pain.

There's a lot of information on the Southeastern site although most of the useful stuff is hidden away and some of it is downright pointless; the video on this page for example. But there's no information about ticket acceptance for this week, so it's probably worth asking ahead, particularly if you have a season ticket.

This page is probably the most useful for individuals as you can create your own pocket timetable for a specific station and specific date/time if you are unable to get your head around what's happening.

More shit. 
Blogger fromthemurkydepths has trawled the new timetables that will kick off after the August Omnishambles and discovered that the Greenwich line will also suffer a reduced level of services in evening peak hours from September onwards due to some trains being diverted via the Lewisham line. Normally Deptford has 11 train services between 5pm and 7pm (and Greenwich has 13 including those that run fast through Deptford).

From September both stations will be served by just 8 trains in the same period - a cut of 27% for us and 38% for Greenwich. Nonsensical when you consider how quickly passenger numbers are rising as new developments become inhabited around this area. It will only add to the misery for travellers I'm afraid.

But on the bright side...
If you can ride a bike and have somewhere to store it, you should give it serious consideration, especially now that London's first Quietway has opened, and conveniently it runs all the way from Greenwich to Waterloo (via Deptford).

Much of the route is along traffic-calmed and traffic-free routes and some of the junctions are specially designed to be easier for cyclists to use. It's not perfect but it's a massive improvement on most of the city's cycle infrastructure and has certainly improved my regular bike commute.

If you are nervous or unsure about taking to the road, I recommend getting involved with a local cycle group such as Lewisham Cyclists or Greenwich Cyclists. They can offer advice and help, they organise regular rides around London and surrounding counties, and may even be able to connect you with a 'cycle buddy' who can help you find a commuting route.