Tag Archives: southeastern

Blackheath station updated

before-after-small
I can’t read architectural drawings. As several people have pointed out, there is no plan at all to stick a whopping great shutter over the front of Blackheath station. Instead the plan is to keep the external windows and entrance unchanged, but to reduce the size of the newsagents at the upper floor, and to shift the ticket office to the right, which will make more room for ticket machines, as well as revealing the windows on the other side overlooking the tracks. Above is a before and after animated gif, to show the changes more clearly (hopefully). Sorry… I’ll get my coat…

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Rolling shutters – just what Blackheath station needs

shutters, blackheath station

UPDATE: There is no plan to stick a great big shutter over the front of Blackheath station. I got it wrong. See the comments below, and this updated post.

Following on from the News Hopper’s piece today about the station improvements, below are some images from the plans. You can see the full set of documents on the Lewisham planning portal.
Blackheath station shutter proposed

I don’t know about you, but nothing says “this area is dodgy” like a roller shutter with graffiti on it. That appears to be what’s been approved for the station following renovation work (minus the graffiti to begin with).

cafe

A spot of colour in one of the planning documents:

Unusually, the track in the bay remains in situ, although it is now heavily overgrown
and otherwise obstructed. The area to the north (now a car-park) was formerly an
area of railway sidings, where commuter trains were stabled when not in use.

The bay platform used to come into its own when a circus was taking place on
Blackheath. Many of the animals would arrive in train vans. The circus would then
process through Blackheath Village on to the heath. There is a local legend that on
one occasion an elephant took exception to a passing bus — and the bus lost!

proposed cafe serving are downstairs

£420,000 of our money spent on tinkering with the station again. Bear in mind the lifts took nine months to be installed last time. Looking forward to the grand opening in 2035!

Artist’s impression of (badly photoshopped) Blackheath station with a shutter based on an image by Onnola on Flickr.

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World class customer service

“Can I have two tickets from the boundary of zone three to three bridges please? I’ve got an annual gold card.”

He gives me two tickets from Blackheath, costing over £18, instead of £13.

When I question it, I’m told its because I’ve only got one annual gold card.

“But my wife has one too- she’s travelling with me!”

“If I can’t see it, you can’t have it. It’s policy”.

So I cancelled both tickets, go and get my wife’s card, and finally buy the correct tickets.

Why can’t I choose the start and end location of any ticket I choose to purchase? With a single annual gold card, I’m entitled to up to three off peak discounted tickets if the other people are travelling with me.

We pay £2,800 a year to the train companies to be treated like criminals.

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The gravy train

photo (20)
You remember the little bit of wind we had a couple of weeks ago? All the train companies in the South East switched to emergency timetables just in case, and havoc ensued. My train was massively late, so I filled in the Delay Repay form on the Nationalised French Rail Operator’s website.

Of course, it’s not really the nationalised French rail operator. I mean, we all know that free markets win out, and that the railway companies in the UK were privatised, so how could that possibly be true?

Except that it kind of is. Your season ticket for £1,424 goes to SouthEastern. SouthEastern are owned by Govia. Govia are owned by the Go-Ahead Group (65%) and Keolis (35%). And Keolis (keep up at the back) is majority owned by SNCF, the French equivalent of what used to be British Rail.

I’ve just paid £1,424 for a season ticket – that’s more than most people pay for a month’s rent in London. Then I receive a token for £1.10, which I can ONLY redeem with SouthEastern trains, and will be valid for exactly 12 months. It’s not even redeemable online.

How is this going to encourage the only train company that I use regularly to improve its service? In the notoriously left-wing rag City A.M., Alister Heath laments:

There is sadly mass support for nationalisation and price controls

There is also huge support for the nationalisation of the railways, at 66-23; again, not surprising given the weird public-private mish-mash that characterises the industry, the subsidies, the lack of transparency and accountability (who is in charge? Network Rail? The train firm?), the awful service and the lack of choice. We need a new deal for our railways – but state ownership was a disaster during the decades when it was tried.

Here’s the full YouGov poll.

Yes Alistair, it was a catastrophe… Except that Britain now has the most expensive fares in Europe, says the Telegraph.

The Go-Ahead Group (such a dumb name) which Southeastern is part of, made pre-tax profits of £82 million last year, and proposed to give a share dividend to investors of 81p per share. They’re doing just fine.

Keolis, the French part of South Eastern, made profits of 287m Euro in 2012.

Our rail system was a national asset. The market for rail companies isn’t working for anyone except its shareholders, more than 30% of which in our neck of the woods is now owned by the French government, and run for a profit, which is extracted from your pocket, into the French government’s.

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Snowy Blackheath

It snowed. In case you haven’t looked out of the window. God knows how we’ll cope tomorrow, what with SouthEastern and everything. I really want to build a network of igloos on the heath, so here’s hoping there’s more snow… If you’ve got any nice pics of Blackheath, send them this way! Happy snowdays!
Here’s one from Philtocapacity on twitter:
Philtocapacity snowy blackheath

And from David Boyle, an antisocial snowball:
Antisocial snowball by David Boyle

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Longer platforms at Blackheath?

Another interesting story on the Blackheath Village Residents Group site:

Network Rail has distributed this letter to residents living close to the station, advising that work will shortly be underway to lengthen the platforms to take 12 coach trains.

Didn’t they extend it to take 12 cars back in 2010?

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Destination unknown

This morning Mrs Bugle’s train to Charing Cross mysteriously became a train to Victoria.  The driver apologised for the  “total mess causes by this, on behalf of the company”.

I’m starting to think that the fireworks conspirators may have a point…

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Touching


No trains today. Angry line of “customers”. They’ve all touched in, because there is no sign on the oystercard reader. Touching out again will cost them £1.30. “Why don’t you put a sign on the reader?”

“The management don’t want us to.”

There is no independent thought within the Borg.

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Met the managers

I went to meet the managers. A nice bloke from National Rail wrote down my problem with the sliding door on a piece of paper, and said he’d tell someone. The person I spoke to from SouthEastern trains said that they don’t have a Passengers Panel. They suggested filling out the web-form on their site, or writing a letter. On paper. In 2011!

Fixmytransport.com need an email address to send things to – they can’t work with webforms yet. They mentioned Passenger Focus and London Travel Watch as possible alternatives, and gave me the email address of the head of communications – sarah (dot) boundy (at) southeasternrailway.co.uk

Dear Sarah,

Please could you find a way to allow fixmytransport.com to contact SouthEastern Railways directly?

It’s a great site, designed by the people who make the democracy-based writetothem.org theyworkforyou.com and fixmystreet.com

The reason I’m asking is because there are more than 30 people at Blackheath Station who would really like SouthEastern to reopen the sliding blue door on the ramp up from the Kent-bound platform!

See below:

http://www.fixmytransport.com/campaigns/lets-get-southeastern-to-re-open-the-sliding-blue-

Many thanks,

Blackheath Bugle

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Meet South Eastern face to face tomorrow morning

Sliding Blue Door that SouthEastern have decided to lock
As pointed out on the newly formed myblackheath blog (hopefully not run by estate agents), SouthEastern Trains are holding a Meet The Managers morning at Charing Cross station on Thursday (tomorrow) from 8am-10am. This is a monthly event whereby the SouthEastern managers stand around explaining that very few things are their fault, most things are either due to the government’s reduction of state subsidy, or Network Transport’s problems.

Please try and speak to them tomorrow if you can… A few things to consider:

* SouthEastern are owned by Govia. Govia is owned by Go-Ahead Group and Keolis. These two companies made a profit of £23.5m and £93m (€106m) respectively last year. These figures are both up from 2009. For bittersweet irony check this out: Keolis is majority owned by France’s nationalised state transport provider, SNCF. So France is allowed to have a nationalised rail system, but takes profit from our privatised system.

* Network Rail own Blackheath station, but it is managed and run by SouthEastern (see how nothing is one organisation’s fault?)

* If they wanted to open the bloody door, they could! Please sign up to the request to open the sliding door!

* They don’t like speaking to bloggers or press at these events. They also don’t like tape recorders. Go as an individual. Here’s an idea: wear your iphone headphones around your neck, and hit record before you wander up…

* Ask them how fixmytransport.com should contact southEastern. So far they don’t seem to be responding to any messages!

Here’s how it went when I met them last year.

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