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September Southern Timetable changes
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Posts: 876
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #1
27-07-2022 02:36 AM

From the 5th September, Southern plan the following changes to our services.

London Bridge to East Croydon axed.
London Bridge to Victoria reinstated.
London Bridge to Crystal Palace on Sundays axed. (Replaced with through Victoria services)

Victoria services will operate 7 days a week with services operating to London Bridge at 2 trains per hour every day. The oddity of 4tph to London Bridge on Sundays ends.

Passengers for East Croydon will have to change at Norwood Junction (or Clapham Junction). Southern's fast Caterham/Tattenham Corner trains will replace the Southern stoppers to East Croydon at NWJ.

This post was last modified: 27-07-2022 02:37 AM by rbmartin.

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Posts: 13
Joined: Sep 2019
Post: #2
27-07-2022 08:46 AM

I am not surprised at it being 2 trains per hour and I fear that 4 trains per hour into London Bridge is now history. Also our line will I suspect continue to be the first line to be pulled for hot/cold weather or any other reason - they will point at the Overground.

Interesting that they have decided to go for the Victoria route rather than East Croydon.

If you are flying from Gatwick and have heavy luggage or mobility impaired then Norwood Junction is a poor interchange as has no lifts. You might even consider going into London Bridge / lifts and getting the trains to Gatwick from there.

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Posts: 876
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #3
27-07-2022 08:58 AM

The reason for our East Croydon service going is so that Southern can cut the London Bridge to Caterham service via Tulse Hill can terminate at East Croydon using the platform used for our trains.

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Posts: 79
Joined: Dec 2003
Post: #4
31-07-2022 06:37 PM

There is something odd about this service.

I've checked the timetable for a weekday in September. This shows that the direct journey from Forest Hill to Victoria takes 42 minutes in some cases. However the 09:42 and 10:42 take over 50 minutes with not only the 6 minutes wait at Crystal Palace which was always part of the direct service (either to change the horses or the rail gauge?), but also a 10 minute wait at Clapham Junction. I haven't checked this through the day.

Can anyone suggest why this is?

The National Rail timetable also shows the journey via Whitechapel and District line as taking 39 minutes at any time. Other routes (Overground, Jubille to Westminster to Victoria, or London Bridge, Jubilee would actually be quicker).

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Posts: 1,374
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #5
01-08-2022 10:47 AM

I have heard that the rail companies add a few minutes to their planned journey times so that when they actually are delayed they do not appear to be late and incur penalties!

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Posts: 13
Joined: Sep 2019
Post: #6
01-08-2022 04:29 PM

I suppose if it is a poor, slow service, fewer people will use it then Southern can cut the service on the basis that it isn't used. Wouldn't put it past them.

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Posts: 79
Joined: Dec 2003
Post: #7
01-08-2022 05:45 PM

You are correct about train companies setting schedules with a bit of slack to avoid penalties. In this case, only half the services take over 50 minutes.

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Posts: 13
Joined: Sep 2019
Post: #8
05-08-2022 07:55 PM

I went to the Zoom with Vicky Foxcroft and Southern back in March (I think) there is a follow on in September 14/9 which I can't go to as am on hols.

Vicky's office has provided an update from Southern:
"We are planning a change to Southern services from Sunday 4th September.
What this means from the Brockley and Honor Oak Park perspective is that the current all-stations London Bridge to East Croydon via Sydenham service will not run, and in its place, the London Bridge to London Victoria service via Sydenham will run.

At a practical level, this will mean more capacity into London Bridge (8/10 carriages vs the current 5). The “clockface” times will also change slightly – e.g. Brockley’s current XX:18, XX:48 pattern past the hour to London Bridge will become XX:03, XX:33 past the hour. It also means the return of direct journeys towards West Norwood, Clapham, London Victoria and similar. It also means more capacity into Victoria for stations such as Gipsy Hill and direct journeys to London Bridge – but appreciate that element is not relevant to the constituency.

However, it does mean that the journey to East Croydon will now be indirect, with a change at Norwood Junction. To reduce the effect, we will be stopping Caterham fast services at Norwood Junction and on the same platform as the London Overground service for most of the day – so for example, a journey from Brockley at circa 10:30, involves catching the 10:32 London Overground departure, arriving at Norwood Junction on platform 5 at 10:48, then at 10:52 from the same platform, the Caterham service provides the connection to East Croydon. This set up has also been designed for the return journey, with both services using platform 1 at Norwood.’"

My feedback to Vicky's office is as follows:
"The information is helpful and it is good that: there will be longer trains, and that there is a same platform interchange at Norwood Junction for those going to Gatwick.

I remain concerned that with 2 trains per hour the cancellation of one leaves a really bad service. So it HAS to be reliable.

I still have concerns that when there are issues like very hot weather, the stopping service to London Bridge seems to be frequently withdrawn. The cancellation record on weekends (leaving aside strikes!?) is not great."

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Posts: 79
Joined: Dec 2003
Post: #9
06-08-2022 06:31 PM

Interestingly, the September timetable is now showing both the 12 and the 42 minutes services as taking 42 minutes to Victoria. There is no extended wait at Clapham Junction.

I suspect that there has been a bit of 'shoe horning' needed to accommodate this service.

It's also interesting that the National Rail website gives the route via Underground from Whitechapel which is slightly faster than the direct train.

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Posts: 876
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #10
08-08-2022 06:11 PM

I believe one of the reasons it's been reinstated is because Southern are stopping the Victoria to West Croydon service via Crystal Palace after 8pm. So it gives passengers from Gipsy Hill, West Norwood etc 4tph to Victoria for most of the day and maintains a late night service at other times.

Gipsy Hill and West Norwood also get 4tph back to London Bridge, 2 from Victoria and 2 from Beckenham Junction via Tulse Hill.

This post was last modified: 08-08-2022 06:12 PM by rbmartin.

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Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2015
Post: #11
Today 12:39 PM


I did attend the zoom call with the Southern people last week. I wanted to ask why my journey from Honor Oak to Brighton on a line originally called the London to Brighton line has gone from 58 minutes with one easy 10 minute change, to two or three changes, with a minimum time with three changes of 1 hour and 34 minutes, even if those tight connections were met, so more likely over two hours each way.

Southern came up with all sorts of PR about ridership and revenue gaps, and hoped we would not realise they are on a cost plus guaranteed profit for no risk model, with revenue going to Treasury. Its clear they intend to have only two trains into London Bridge, with regular cancellations like last night so my other half waited almost an hour, to force people onto the OverCrowdedGround, and then they will say we cant run the two trains as no one uses them. We will be the only part of Zone 3 with non direct and convenient access to the centre of the City.

I followed up with this email to Vicky Foxcroft on 15th September:

Dear Vicky

Thanks very much to you and your team for arranging the meeting with Southern and for your time yesterday.

It seems clear that they wont change anything and will of course make decisions that prioritise profits over service.

Ignoring all the PR nonsense around ridership, which conveniently averaged out the usage across a week and ignored the new reality that Tuesday to Thursday trains into London are almost as busy as pre pandemic and more packed as service and length halved (so quarter capacity), and the absolute red herring of revenue which goes straight to the Treasury, I had some questions to follow up please.

Perhaps you could ask the Secretary of State for Transport (whoever that is these days!!!) to comment on the service deprivation:

1) Did the Department reduce Southern’s SNCF profit subsidy (or whatever PR term they use for it) and by how much? I think Southern have had a strained relationship with statistics over the last 20 years based on my passenger experience so I would prefer to hear directly from the Department what numbers are involved.

2) Did the Department specifically mandate that Southern run only two trains an hour from your constituency to London Bridge, and that a journey on the direct London to Brighton railway mainline should now involve three changes and take almost two hours? Or did the Department make a general cut and then Southern made the decision to discriminate against your constituents as one of the other call attendees identified? This is crucial to understand who made the key decisions and who needs to be lobbied for change.

3) Did the Department and/ or Southern consider their responsibilities to make reasonable adjustments for disabled users under the extant law (I believe it’s the Equality Act 2010 now) when unreasonably introducing extra changes where there are no lifts, and increased dependency on station staff being available and correctly getting the message that they need to deploy the ramp to help wheelchair users exit trains? My own Mum will now struggle to visit me in Honor Oak Park because of Southern trains profit driven decisions.

4) Did this excuse of a railway operator consider that Gatwick airport was built to serve South London and now there are two changes involved to get there, including changes with no lifts as above? I cant imagine Gatwick will be too happy to hear that its now easier for us to get to Heathrow!

5) Did this operator consider that due to poor reliability, all these tight changes have a high chance of being missed and a passenger being delayed upto another 30 minutes minimum.

6) Can we get a cast iron guarantee from the Department that they will not sanction Southern’s likely long term plan to abolish all our trains and force us onto the OverCrowdedGround with its terrible interchange in Zone 2? There really is some awful tension there in morning peaks as people squabble to get down the only escalator (I always go up and down to avoid this as its so tense, but most don’t do this or don’t think to do this).

Some of your other constituents made excellent points about chicken and egg, and what is the point having a smaller house in Zone 3 with a worse train service than you can get further out. I stand by my observations that this enterprise seems to think its a great private company, constantly promising innovation and improvements for 21 years, but seems to make profit with worse service and with zero risk guaranteed by the taxpayer from a monopoly. If its really that hard for them to make "difficult decisions" then they should hand the franchise over to the Operator of Last Resort, which seems to have worked well elsewhere for unfathomable reasons to do with serving customers rather than shareholders.

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