9 September 2009

Off the Rails

I'm a supporter of the East London Line - but am frankly appalled at the prospect of the significant reduction of services to London Bridge for no apparent reason - other than presumably the level of funding available.

In April 2008, Network Rail published a FAQs about the South London Route Utilisation Study explaining:

"The 2010 timetable is being developed to the following weekday peak period specification (shown in trains per hour - tph)

6tph stopping services via Sydenham to London Bridge

4tph fast services from Norwood Junction to London Bridge

Up to 10tph to the East London Line

2tph stopping services from London Bridge to Victoria via Crystal Palace
Based on arrivals into London Bridge between 0800-0859 these are the changes relative to today:

New Cross Gate would maintain today’s 6tph in the high peak to London Bridge

Brockley and Honor Oak Park would each see an increase from today’s 4tph to 6tph in the high peak to London Bridge

Forest Hill and Sydenham would each see a reduction from 7tph to 6tph in the high peak to London Bridge, but see below.

Penge West and Anerley would each have 4tph to London Bridge, approximately double the service today.

Norwood Junction would have 4tph running fast to London Bridge, with an improved spread of services to today, plus the stopping services.
The slight reduction into London Bridge for Sydenham and Forest Hill is seen as unavoidable and is based on the maximum number of trains that can be fitted onto the network. Whilst this is a small overall reduction at these two stations it would be offset by:

Originating these services from much nearer to Sydenham. At present they start from places as far away as Caterham. By starting them much nearer, we expect there to be more space available on them

Diversion of an increasing level of the demand onto the East London Line services
The Sydenham line will also gain from 12-car trains to London Bridge and, from 2015 onwards, the indicative Thameslink train service proposal shown in the RUS has a 4tph all stations service from the Croydon area to the Thameslink network."

This clearly demonstrates that the line can carry both the ELL and London Bridge services. The RUS explains that in general off-peak services are a matter for the franchising arrangements.

We have already seen the cancellation of the Victoria - Bellingham services - the reduction of services to London Bridge when the ELL opens risks will inconvenience many local residents before they have time to charge up their Oyster cards.

The next full Council meeting is 24th September and I'm hoping that by then we will have a suitable consensus across all parties in Lewisham expressing our concern at this cynical move.

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