How SouthEastern plan to stop your trains to Charing Cross and Victoria


As you may have heard, SouthEastern and the Department for Transport are considering innovative approaches to radically enhance your interchange opportunities.

I thought it might be worth going through their consultation document in a little more detail.

If you suspect SouthEastern trains and the DfT are off their collective rockers, there are three things you can do about it.  Let’s have a look through that lovely PDF

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Oh yes Chris, I couldn’t agree more.  I’m all ears, even though you thought it was ok for gay people to be turned away from hotels, and you blocked Sadiq Khan’s attempts to take our trains away from disastrous SouthEastern and give them to TfL.

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Yes.  Trains are not new technology.  Elon Musk can land a reusable rocket on a drone ship from space.  Trains are Victorian.  The reason they don’t work is idealogical.  They work in Europe.  They’re cheap in Europe.  They’re (mostly) nationalised in Europe.  Do you get me Chris?

In fact, SouthEastern is part of a massive transport company called Keolis part-owned by the French Government.  Just let that sink in.  Our leaders believe in market forces so strongly, that they think the best solution to out transport problems is to let a nationalised French railway company run them. In 2015, Keolis made 33 million Euros in profit, which they gave to their shareholders (70% of whom are the French government).  Not reinvested into our infrastructure, or some such bollocks.  Go-Ahead Group is the other part owner, and they made £157m in profit, up 16%.  So the French can run a profitable nationalised railway company, but we can’t, because Chris Grayling says so, and my ticket costs £1548 a year.

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This is a great idea.  Thanks to Oyster, SouthEastern and DfT know precisely where and when we get in and out of the transport network.  And do they use this data to automatically reimburse us when they’re outside their terms of service?  Not on your nelly.  But, have no fear, Chris is to the rescue!  He has an innovative plan!

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Instead of being allowed to fill out a form when your train is 30 minutes late and pop it in a post box, he has a truly 21st century solution!  He’s going to let you fill out a form when your train is 15 minutes late… Maybe…

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Oh, thank God – that’s what we’ve all been crying out for!  We don’t need cheaper tickets, no no, we want Wi-Fi!  You see, commuters don’t have mobile phones with data plans… What we really want is to give the train companies another excuse to “reinvest our money” into another pointless scheme.  Crappy non-working wifi for everyone!  And stop calling it a fleet.  Fleets are elegant, and move in formation.  Your trains don’t.

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Oh Chris… Is it complex to run your little trains?  Do you want to give us simpler opportunities?  My work is tricky too.  Maybe I’ll make it simpler and still get paid the same… That sounds lovely.  Or maybe, you know, just figure out how to get your shit together… You’ve had since the 19th century to figure it out.

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Hang on, haven’t you been messing with our journeys into London Bridge for the last TWO YEARS to solve precisely this problem?

Please make sure you go and have your say on his proposals.


Filed under blackheath, trains

6 responses to “How SouthEastern plan to stop your trains to Charing Cross and Victoria

  1. Matt Nixson

    Great article, many thanks for highlighting. I’d missed. Trains into London Bridge already screwed up, with no sign of improvement even though works there heading for completion, and dreadful to hear Blackheath may suffer a similar fate.

  2. Hi, just a note to say Southeastern aren’t behind this plan. It’s the Department for Transport and Network Rail carrying out studies and consultations. They decide the franchise spec and then the winner must follow it. If Southeastern win (or rather the parent company GoVia) they would probably welcome it as it simplifies services for them, but they would be following DfT rules, much as with fares, timetables, train numbers etc.

    It’s one of the great perks of privatisation for the govt – keep power but defelct the flack.

  3. HTFB

    This change doesn’t add any extra trains! Shuffling the trains around would mean they don’t get in each other’s way at Lewisham and delays on one line won’t infect the others.. But the passengers on those trains won’t disappear: people on the Blackheath line who currently go to Victoria will still want to go to Victoria. And that means the passengers *will* get in each other’s way, as Lewisham couldn’t possibly cope with everybody switching trains there.

    Which would mean *another* huge station rebuild, at vast expense and more years of massive disruption. There must be cheaper ways to make the trains a bit more reliable.

  4. Private ownership seems to work fairly well in some countries: only when there is an obligation to re-invest profits. The fact is, the government allow their corporate friends to siphon off billions of pounds, often paid to the franchise operators in taxpayer subsidies.
    A public-operated system would be much more responsible and accountable. Please see my own article on this:

  5. BT

    Perhaps we should all get back on the roads as we would certainly get to London quicker. Travelling from Sidcup to Charing Cross is like going to hell and back, all change at Lewisham, all change at Hither Green today. If I wanted to see hither green or Lewisham I could always pop over at the weekend or move! First we have to contend with the way the wind is blowing as to whether or not there are any trains or, for that matter any drivers. Then there is a constant battle over the microphones apologising because the next train has been delayed for 5 mins, 10 mins, 15 mins – then the expected ‘held at a red light’, but will be here shortly, Yippee.. but no, this same train that was but a traffic light away almost within touching distance has suddenly been cancelled without any explanation whatsoever. Obviously trains running on time so as not to get bad press, is all the companies involved care about and if this means cancelling the odd train or two what the hell lets do it. Total disregard for passengers who have to get in at certain times. The cherry on the top of all this, is you will then have 1-2 train loads of passengers who will then be told the next train will be formed of 8 coaches or less, so now you can make friends with everyone as almost half of you will be standing anyway. In my opinion trained monkeys could run these trains quicker and more efficiently.

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