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Trains to/from Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park
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Posts: 321
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #361
02-09-2009 06:46 PM

I work long hours, often up to 13, 14h long days so after 8pm and after a long day it is great to be able to get on a train at Charring Cross and get a seat with only a 21min journey on the train. I never feel safe when I have to wait with sometime a lot of drunk people trying to push in at London Bridge. When you are cold sober, tired after a long day, and really want to get home, the wait at London Bridge for the connection is not a nice prospect and it will add about 15 minutes to my journey and that's if I can get on a train (sometimes I have to wait for the next one as the first one is too full from London Bridge). If after that change it becomes too much I may also have to rethink my commuting completely.

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Posts: 3,243
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #362
03-09-2009 01:51 PM

In the last few weeks the Forest Hill Society and the Sydenham Society have been getting indications that evening peak services will be cut from May next year. This follows the plans to start off-peak evening services from London Bridge rather than Charing Cross.

In May 2010 there will be only 4 trains per hour from London Bridge in the evening peak rather than the existing 6 trains per hour. This is not limited to the evening peak, there will be cuts through the whole day to our services other than at the morning peak, but it is the evening peak that will be worst effected.

At present we expect East London Line services to start running a month after this 30% reduction in services, and Southern seem to believe that this will be good enough. They say that they do not have enough carriages to run these services as they will need to go fast to Norwood Junction and on to Sutton, but they might consider getting some more carriages by December 2010.

Having been awarded their franchise just a few months ago, we now find out what Southern really have in mind - no more late evening services from Charing Cross, and a reduction in all evening peak services. Passengers have once again lost out by the renewal of Southern's franchise and the virtual monopoly they have on all train services in South and South East England.

Rather than cutting our services by 30% from May 2010, they should keep these trains stopping at Forest Hill and other stations on the line until they get enough carriages to cater for their commitment. At least stop additional trains at New Cross Gate so that passengers can change to the ELL rather than having to go via Canada Water on the underground system.

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Posts: 145
Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #363
03-09-2009 03:16 PM

Thanks Michael - an interesting post. Keep up the good work...! I think I might start cycling to work. Would be about as quick and I wouldn't have to pay them more (as it will be by then) for less.

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Posts: 815
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #364
03-09-2009 05:30 PM

I'm not sure you can blame southern for this.
There was always going to be a price for this east london line, and that is less trains to central london, where the vast majority of lewisham commuters need to get to.
Cleansing these direct lines (especially the new cross gate to London bridge section) of local commuters was the key objective of the ellx.

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Posts: 106
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #365
03-09-2009 06:54 PM

What you say may be correct. But there is no excuse or reason for Southern to impose their 30% cuts before ELLX has started service - this service is almost certain to need several weeks of 'bedding-in' before it becomes satisfactory.

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Posts: 86
Joined: Jul 2008
Post: #366
04-09-2009 01:34 AM


Frankly, I don't see anything wrong with taking a "me, me, me" attitude towards the issue - after all, it is "me" who pays for the pleasure of taking this often late, unreliable and already overpriced, pay-as-you-go-we-don't-do service.

And no, the earth will not stand still if the through service doesn't continue. But as it happens, it is the one service I am most grateful for. I use Southern to and from the office most days, but frequently also take one of the late trains after 10.30 from Charing X. Being able to get on the train there rather than going to London Bridge is a real advantage as especially the last 2 trains out of London Bridge can get very crowded. I have on occasion been unable to get on the train. Having to wait around for another half hour on the freezing platform 5 after 11pm is not the most fun experience. I'll probably use the car to go to the West End in the evening more frequently. Not the desired effect, I'm sure!

Don't worry about having to wait around on platform 5, Tinkerbell. By the time Southern have their way our current 2nd rate service, soon to become 3rd rate service, will be starting from the end of platform 15.Cursing

I am so fed up with Southern - anyone know if there is a way to challenge the award of the franchise? I know there are upcoming meetings and the probabilty of a letter campaign, but surely there must be other actions we can take as consumers which will hit their profits? I'm not sure that they'll listen otherwise.

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Posts: 212
Joined: May 2006
Post: #367
04-09-2009 07:53 AM

I came back from St Pancras last night with heavy suitcases, and was very pleased to connect at London Bridge to the Caterham train (for Forest Hill) on the same platform.

This is a situation (assuming the Brighton service doesn't add a stop at Forest Hill) where I'd probably prefer to hang about on LB platform 5 rather than haul heavy cases up and down the steps to get to 13 or 15 - or even take the long 'accessible' route.

I assume a knock on effect of the planned end to the Charing Cross service means that this convenient option would not be open to me?

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Posts: 144
Joined: Jun 2005
Post: #368
04-09-2009 09:40 AM

A quick glance at the current timetable shows what effect these proposed cuts in the early evening timetable from LB will mean. Between 4pm and 8pm, Southern currently provide 23 FH-bound trains from LB.

Their aim is to cut these to 16.

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Posts: 212
Joined: May 2006
Post: #369
04-09-2009 09:42 AM

This is a reply just received from Southern after a query using their web contact form two days ago.

Thank you for your email.

I don't like to be the bearer of bad news but I am afraid that this rumour is true and will come into effect as of December. The background to the change is the new Southeastern timetable for December 2009 (incorporating the new high speed service between Kent and London) and the new Southern franchise which starts on 20 September.

During the development of the new Southeastern timetable, it was identified that in order to make it workable, there would be significant limitations on the 'through London Bridge' pathways available to other train operators. There are implications for the First Capital Connect service, particularly in the peak at London Bridge, and for Southern off peak services to Charing Cross and Waterloo East.

As a result, the Department for Transport did not specify that Southern should operate through to Charing Cross from December 2009. Subsequently scrutiny of the off peak timetable by Southern has confirmed that it is not possible to run Southern services through London Bridge into Charing Cross given Southeastern's timetable specification from December.

The level of service between London Bridge and Charing Cross will be maintained by Southeastern. The DfT has specified the train services over the next franchise period and details can be found at the following link:

If you would like to contest the decision then you will have to contact the Department for Transport.

I hope this information has been helpful for you and clears up why we wont be able to run the evening service into Charing Cross. Thank you for contacting Southern.

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Posts: 212
Joined: May 2006
Post: #370
04-09-2009 09:46 AM

Sorry - I messed up the post layout a little bit.

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Posts: 212
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #371
04-09-2009 11:11 AM

Speaking as someone who would rather bite off her own leg than spend five minutes on platform 5 at London Bridge after 11:00 pm - doesn't this mean that late night services to Forest Hill will now run from the main station - platforms 8-16?

I guessing that since there will be no through train to Forest Hill then there will be no Forest Hill train at platform 5. I would welcome switching to platforms 8-13 if if means I would only be transferring (very quickly) off of a platform 5 train from Charing Cross late at night.

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Posts: 361
Joined: Dec 2007
Post: #372
04-09-2009 11:53 AM

Foresters - thank you much for the update!

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Posts: 271
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #373
04-09-2009 01:59 PM

Whilst it would be logical to make New Cross Gate or FH an interchange between fast trains and the ELL, I doubt this will be possible given the fast track / slow track issues which blight us whenever there is a problem with the tracks.

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Posts: 38
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #374
04-09-2009 03:44 PM

PVP, New Cross Gate has platforms on the fast tracks, so can be used for interchange with fast trains, whereas stopping fast trains at Forest Hill is not possible because of the need to change to the slow line to stop there. There were apparently once fast platforms at Forest Hill, but not for many years...

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Posts: 1,394
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #375
04-09-2009 04:01 PM

New Cross Gate seems to be a logical station for fast trains to stop to connect with the ELL and ultimately Canary Wharf.

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Posts: 144
Joined: Jun 2005
Post: #376
04-09-2009 05:06 PM

Let's hope a crazy idea like this doesn't ever catch on.

Stopping fast trains at New Cross Gate would mean commuters from half of south-east England clambering on and off the new ELL at a comparatively small station. It would make the ELL (with its four-carriage trains) the most overcrowded tube line in the capital.

We've spent years getting our own new "tube" line - let's keep it!

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Posts: 815
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #377
05-09-2009 01:05 AM

An interchange at new cross gate sounds logical but it would be the fast trains that would get over crowded as the abandoned 30% of sydenham branch commuters piled on to them.
OK they could provide more fast trains to cope with the congestion, but the LB track is overcrowded.....which is where we started.

double decker trains is a potential answer to the problem.
And extending the bakerloo line.
One day maybe.

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Posts: 144
Joined: Jun 2005
Post: #378
09-09-2009 09:41 AM

From 13 December 2009, the following timetable increases will come into effect:

Blackheath to LB - off peak services to be increased from 4tph to 6tph
Hither Green to LB - Total number of trains during morning peak to be increased from 23 to 25 trains; off peak services to be increased from 6tph to 8tph
Grove Park to LB ? off peak services to be increased from 2tph to 4tph
Lewisham to LB ? Total number of trains during morning peak to be increased from 34 to 39 trains; off peak services to be increased from 10tph to 12tph

So whilst we are being offered a wholescale downgrading of our services to LB, other commuters just a few miles away are being offered the exact opposite.

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Posts: 89
Joined: Nov 2008
Post: #379
10-09-2009 09:48 AM


No more Charing Cross service? This is crazy. They realise just how much busier London Bridge will be, right?

I cannot see the logic in this move. Not at all.

To echo eariler comments, London Bridge at night is a horrific experience.

I feel we need to kick up a stink over this, I really do.

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Posts: 203
Joined: Feb 2008
Post: #380
10-09-2009 09:54 AM

Can I just ask what the general plans are here for action?

I am happy to help flyer / help inform people about the proposed changes. I think that there not enough voices at the moment as not many people are aware of these changes at all.

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