Tag Archives: timetable

Blackheath Train Time Table from 1889

Just spotted The Blackheath Society newsletter in the local library (you can pick up a copy for free in there). Lots of good stuff, including an attempt to hold SouthEastern to account for their overcrowded trains. One particular gem is this copy of the railway and “omnibus” timetables:

1889 Train Timetable showing Blackheath trains and buses from Blackheath Local Guide and District Advertiser

The Society makes the point that in those days there were several trains direct to Finsbury Park and King’s Cross. The first train to Charing Cross was much earlier (5:17 instead of 5:46 as it is now). However, there were fewer trains in the mornings overall to Charing Cross. (I counted 9 trains between 5am-10am, whereas we now have 18).

The newsletter is also appears slightly bruised over the criticisms of the proposed Library Square. They point out that they are not property developers, and are only interested in improving the character and environment of Blackheath. Overall, from the tone of the newsletter, they seem to be having a rethink.

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SouthEastern Trains make their sorry excuses

SouthEastern Train Revised Timetable at Lewisham Station during the snow

As pointed out by @AdamBienkov, SouthEastern have provided an explanation of why they ran such a poor service during the inch or so of snow that fell last month in the South East.  I’ve tried to convert it into text, but the hopelessly blurry, badly scanned PDF file provided at the london.gov website made it even less comprehensible.

Here’s a quick summary, if you haven’t got time to read the real thing:

Why did you run a revised timetable, finished at 8.30pm throughout the piddling quantity of snow that fell?

We realised that we’d have to pay lots of money out to our customers for our lousy service, unless we under-promised and over delivered, so rather than try to put on as many trains as possible, we figured out that we could stick up some dirty A4 sheets of laser-printed Times Roman warnings, and this would allow us to wriggle out of our obligations – like this one!

Why won’t you be offering refunds to season ticket holders?

Because they’re a bunch of mugs!  Why on earth should we?!  They pay £1000 a year, and we don’t even have to give them a seat on our cattle trucks!*  Are you high?  If we started giving them their money back, we wouldn’t be able to make £61.5 million in profits!

Now that we live in the age of the internet, maybe you could make it easier for your customers to request compensation?

Yeeeassss… That’s a greeeat idea… Maybe we’ll make a little iPhone app for each of our customers?  And you can click on Charles Horton’s beaming face every time you get squeezed into a carriage, and sit waiting at London Bridge for 20 minutes on  a Monday morning?  That’d work.  If it’s all the same with you, we’ll stick with arcane system we have right now, thanks.

See also:

All aboard the Gravy Train for Network Rail Bosses

* Cattle trucks = “franchises focused on high density, urban commuter markets.”

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Filed under blackheath, snow, transport

“Interchange Opportunities” again

I’m taking advantage of our Interchange Opportunities again today. At Lewisham, as there are no trains from Blackheath. But never fear, our local conservative councillor Spencer Drury knows whose fault it is:

“As a Parliamentary Candidate for Greenwich and Woolwich and Leader of the Conservative Group, I will be campaigning to reverse these changes which seem to be a side-effect of a set of central government requirements to run an all day Orpington service via Lewisham. In the short term, the more feedback that we have about people’s difficulties, the more we can use to sort out the problems, so please encourage everyone to feedback their problems and we will use this to back up our views during the timetable review next year.”

He then added (inside my head):

“I mean, who split up the railway anyway- what were they smoking when they thought that would work? How can you have a free market mechanism when there are only one set of rails from A to B?!”

Except he didn’t say that last bit. In other news, all public transport is now free, and 4x4s are now outlawed, unless being pulled on a rope by Boris Johnson.

And when the train announcements say “we are operating a revised timetable today”, do they mean revised for better or worse?

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Filed under politics, transport