Stop the rail cuts. You have two days!

Blackheath new station sign bigger

I wish I’d been home earlier. This appeared in my inbox from The Blackheath Society a few days back, whilst I was too far away to do anything about it. It looks like those wonderful people at SouthEastern Railway have decided that we should have fewer trains during rush hour into London from Blackheath.  Brilliant.

If you think this is a daft idea, please email them and tell them. Also tell your MP – it’s really easy using this website http://www.writetothem.com/ – just enter your postcode, your message, and all the rest is automatic.

I’ve published it in full with some extra links below (I hope they don’t mind – I think it’s a worthy cause). You need to email them now – you only have 2 days left before the deadline!

Southeastern has recently published its provisional timetable for services from December 2009. The main changes are summarised below. The Society is very disappointed with these proposals, which, if adopted, will result in the least convenient service for at least 35 years. However, there is an opportunity to submit comments by 5th June to:

Mike Gibson
Public Affairs Manager
Southeastern
Friars Bridge Court
41-45 Blackfriars Road
London
SE1 8PG
Tel: 0207 620 5430
Fax: 0207 620 5022
Email: Mike.Gibson@southeasternrailway.co.uk

We urge you to comment and would be grateful if you would send the Society a copy of your letter/fax/email. You might also like to copy your message to either Nick Raynsford MP or Bridget Prentice MP, depending on where you live. Ms Prentice will be at Blackheath Station on 5th June to present a Safer Stations Award to staff at 10.30.

Send to:
The Rt Hon Nick Raynsford MP or Bridget Prentice MP
House of Commons
Westminster
London
SW1A 1AA
RAYNSFORDN@parliament.uk or info@bridgetprenticemp.org.uk

Changes are as follows:

Weekday Morning Peak (07.00 – 09.00)
Three less trains to Cannon Street (2 after 08.00); one less to Charing Cross (also after 08.00); one more to Victoria.

Weekday: Evening Peak (17.00 – 19.00)
One less train from Charing Cross (with three service interval gaps of 18 mins and one of 19 mins); however, there will be three, rather than six trains leaving Charing Cross between 18.00 and 19.00; one more from Victoria.

Weekday: Day time to London
On the face of it, there is an improved service, with four trains per hour to Charing Cross, plus two each to Cannon Street and Victoria. However, the intervals between trains mean that the service itself is worse – currently the interval to London Bridge is 13 and 17 mins; intervals on the new timetable are 5, 4 and 21

Weekday: Day time from London
See above.

Weekday: Evenings to London
Still four trains an hour to Charing Cross and none to the other stations after about 19.00. However, the intervals have dramatically deteriorated from 13 and 17 mins to 5 and 25 mins

Weekday: Evenings from London
Here there is a very modest improvement from 3 and 27 minute intervals to 7 and 23.

Saturdays
No longer a service to Cannon Street, but six per hour to London Bridge, of which four go on to Charing Cross. However, there is the same weekday 21 min gap in service every half hour.

Sundays
The best off peak service of the week with 13 and 17 minute intervals as existing.

The full timetable can be seen at: http://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/index.php/cms/pages/view/263

This offering from Southeastern is particularly disappointing because its representatives have said since it took over the franchise in 2006 that, when the services were retimetabled in 2009, it was its aspiration to provide a regular spaced clock face service. This was most recently confirmed in August 2008. The company has also broken several promises to consult with its stakeholders, including the Society, and the Society intends to make the strongest possible representations against the adoption of the new timetable. If you are a regular user of trains to London, we suggest that you should also do so. Remember that the closing date is 5th June (and please send us a copy of anything that you write).

For those interested in the proposed Lewisham gate closure, the consultation period has been further extended until 22nd June. We are in discussions with both Southeastern and London TravelWatch about this and will send another circular nearer the time.

9 Comments

Filed under transport

9 responses to “Stop the rail cuts. You have two days!

  1. Here’s the email I sent, to give you some ideas:

    Dear Mike,

    I’m writing to you about the proposed timetable alterations from
    Blackheath into Central London that were recently published on South
    Eastern Trains website.

    I’m very disappointed with these proposals, which, if adopted, will
    result in the least convenient service for at least 35 years. This
    offering from Southeastern is particularly disappointing because its
    representatives have said since it took over the franchise in 2006
    that, when the services were retimetabled in 2009, it was its
    aspiration to provide a regular spaced clock face service. This was
    most recently confirmed in August 2008. The company has also broken
    several promises to consult with its stakeholders, including the
    Blackheath Society, and the Society intends to make the strongest
    possible representations against the adoption of the new timetable.

    Please let me know what changes you intend to make. Your service is
    incredibly popular, and the railways are run as a piece of public
    infrastructure. I trust that these proposals will be improved.

    I am also copying this email to my local MP.

  2. Also, Twitter user Veritaas writes:

    Similar happened with Ladywell train cuts a couple of years back. Encourage people contact the Mayors office too.

    The email address is mayor@london.gov.uk

  3. Anonymous

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. The idea of less morning trains is ludicrous! I have sent an email to Southeastern/local MP expressing my concerns.

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  6. A quick look at the draft timetable suggests that Blackheath will now be predominantly served by Bexleyheath line trains, and that the two additional hourly trains via Bexleyheath come at the expense of the two that are currently routed via Lewisham/Woolwich/Plumstead, which may cause problems for passengers on the Dartford-bound platform.

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