Friday, 28 April 2017

Deptford train service levels set to dwindle further

Local transport campaigners are protesting to Southeastern Railway about its failure to honour a commitment to reinstate train services to the frequency the line enjoyed before the Thameslink work at London Bridge began.

The Greenwich Line Users' Group has been examining the proposed timetable changes due to come into force in January next year when trains on this line will finally begin calling at London Bridge station again. According to chair Mike Sparham, despite Southeastern Railway committing to restore services to pre-2015 levels, the service is actually set to be reduced.

When Greenwich line trains resume stopping at London Bridge next January, it will inevitably result in a rise in passenger numbers on these trains, the group believes. But Southeastern has no plans to increase services to address this, and GLUG points out that the Greenwich line absurdly has more frequent off-peak services than it does in peak hours.

"In the height of the evening peak hour, there is one gap in service of 22 minutes (17.28 – 17.50) followed by a further gap in service of 24 minutes (17.50 – 18.14). In the off-peak hours there would be five trains in such a 46-minute period, compared with only three in the peak hour. To add insult to injury, the 17.28 has only six carriages" the letter says.

In 2014, GLUG points out, there were 17 trains leaving London Bridge for Greenwich in the two-hour evening peak from 16.30 to 18.30, with a total of 126 carriages.

In the 2015 timetable, this was reduced to 13 trains and by August 2016 it was reduced even further to just eight trains (from Cannon Street) with only 62 carriages - less than half the number three years ago.

GLUG acknowledges that this decline was accepted as a temporary measure, but stresses that the reasons for the reduction will no longer apply after January.

"In our response on the August 2016 timetable, we sought an assurance that the full peak hour service would be restored...but [proposals suggest] the evening peak service....will still be well below the previous service. There is no increase at all in the morning peak up to London."

The letter repeats a point which is frequently made across this part of southeast London, that the service plans also fail to consider the huge level of development which is under way in the region. Passenger numbers are rising steadily and will continue to do so as the developments planned for Deptford, the Greenwich peninsula and Charlton riverside come to fruition.

However GLUG is well aware that with Southeastern's franchise due to finish at the end of 2018, little is likely to change in the short term.

Speaking of which, the rather bland 'consultation' document about the new franchise is available online if you are interested - consultation open until 23 May. Or maybe you've got some paint to watch dry over the weekend.


Anonymous said...

There was a separate consultation from Govia Thameslink Railway some months back that offered the possibility of running Thameslink services on the Greenwich line. Another 2 trains per hour that would go further through central London and beyond would be welcome (and far more useful than Cannon Street). Let's see what comes out in the wash.

Stuart Collings said...

Interesting detail. After speaking to the manager at one of the Cannon Street Southeast days held in 2015, the New Cross service will also be reduced post 2018 with the removal of any direct Charring Cross service.
As you point out with all the large scale developments in the Greenwich Peninsular, Deptford Wharf and Deptford Foundry the train service will be standing room only between the carriages or walk to London Bridge!!
This lack of service will only cause greater problems in the near future and only get worse.
Thank you for bringing this matter to the general public attention.

Anikó Szabó said...

Is there in petition about this yet?

DDKK said...

@aniko petitions are not answer to everything although I realise lots of people like the convenience of 'objecting' by simply clicking a button. If you set one up feel free to let me know and I'll share it here.