Southeastern Railways changed their timetable on December 11th.

https://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/travel-information/live-travel-information/december-timetables

In summary this means:

  • A reduction in morning peak from 13 to 8 trains on the Greenwich line
  • A reduction in the evening peak from 12 to 6 trains on the Greenwich line
  • The maximum gap increasing to 23 minutes twice an hour between off peak services towards central London on the Greenwich line resulting in a very uneven service with trains running 23 and 7 minutes apart.
  • No improvement in the gaps of 10 and 20 minutes in the off peak services from central London.
  • Loss of most Charing Cross services from Blackheath

There has been NO consultation despite other operators consulting on their proposed changes and despite strong opposition to similar changes to the distribution of Charing Cross and Cannon St services when proposed in 2017.

Snow, strikes and the Christmas/New Year holidays mean many won’t feel the real effect of the new timetable until after January 9th when hopefully rail services will return to some sort of normality albeit with the new timetable.

If the changes affect you we encourage you to write.  Details of who to write to can be found further down this page.

At the Royal Borough of Greenwich Transport Scrutiny on 20 October, the Southeastern Managing Director, Steve White, and his colleagues answered questions from Councillors and residents for over 3 hours.  Unfortunately despite cross party opposition from MPs, Councillors and residents across southeast London it looks like the changes will go ahead.  However, Steve White was apologetic for the lack of consultation and the reduction in services on the Greenwich Line.  He said that this is only one stage of timetable changes and undertook to listen to feedback and take it into account when making future changes.  That being said, the impression we have is that they will only listen if enough people write in.

Southeastern say the changes will mean:

  • Space on trains where it’s needed most 
  • A more consistent timetable throughout the day 
  • More trains on time

We find this hard to understand when timetable gaps on the Greenwich line are increasing and peak hour services were only increased earlier this year to cope with overcrowding.

Pre covid the Greenwich line had six evenly spaced services every hour on the Greenwich line in each direction.  This was a service where one could ‘turn up and go’ because of the regular 10 minute gap.  Since covid we have been down to 4 off peak services each way unevenly spaced and the new timetable worsens this.  If there must be only 4 trains an hour they should be EVENLY SPACED i.e. every 15 minutes.

The Westcombe Society and others have already asked Southeastern Railways and the Department of Transport to do the following:

  • Delay the implementation of changes to allow for CONSULTATION
  • Retain the additional peak hour trains introduced earlier this year on the Greenwich line
  • Improve the off-peak service on the Greenwich line with EVENLY spaced timing, preferably six an hour as the service was pre-covid.
  • Retain Charing Cross services via Blackheath

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Answer – Sign the following petitions and also write.

Write to:

Southeastern

Steve White
Managing Director
SE Trains Limited
Second floor
4 More London Riverside
London, SE1 2AU
steve.white_MD@southeasternrailway.co.uk
please also copy to George Patterson and Toby Wilkes
George.Paterson@southeasternrailway.co.uk
tobias.wilkes@southeasternrailway.co.uk

Department of Transport (Southeastern is currently under DfT control)

The Rt Hon Mark Harper MP
Secretary of State for Transport
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Rd
London SW1P 4DR

mark.harper.mp@parliament.uk

The Rt Hon Huw Merriman MP
Minister of State (Rail and HS2)
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Rd
London SW1P 4DR

huw.merriman.mp@parliament.uk

You may also want to copy to the following:

Transport Focus
Anthony Smith Esq,
Chief Executive
Transport Focus
Albany House
94-98 Petty France
London SW1H 9EA.
anthony.smith@transportfocus.org.uk

London Travelwatch
Ms Janet Cooke,
Chief Executive
London TravelWatch
Europoint 5,
11 Lavington Street
London SE1 0NZ
janet.cooke@londontravelwatch.org.uk
info@londontravelwatch.org.uk

Greenwich Blackheath Westcombe Ward Councillors
Fletcher Leo Cllr Leo.Fletcher@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Mariam Lolavar Mariam.Lolavar@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Christine St Matthew-Daniel2 Christine.StMatthew-Daniel2@royalgreenwich.gov.uk

Royal Borough of Greenwich
Averil Lekau  of Greenwich’s Transport Strategy averil.lekau@royalgreenwich.gov.uk

Lewisham Blackheath Ward Councillors (re Blackheath train services)
Cllr Juliet Campbell Juliet.Campbell@lewisham.gov.uk
Cllr Amanda DeRyk amanda.deryk@lewisham.gov.uk
Cllr Luke Warner Luke.Warner@lewisham.gov.uk

MPs

Matthew Pennycook, Greenwich and Woolwich matthew.pennycook.mp@parliament.uk

Janet Dalby, Lewisham East (re Blackheath train services) janet.daby.mp@parliament.uk,