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Thameslink
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michael


Posts: 3,228
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #1
19-01-2012 09:28 AM

For the last few years I have been telling people of the exciting opportunities Thameslink might bring to our local train services. This was a result of the 2008 South London Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS), which suggested 12 carriage trains would run through Forest Hill to London Bridge, Blackfriars, Kings Cross, and beyond.

The publishing of the 2011 London and South East RUS now seems to suggest that we will not get any benefits from Thameslink although there is the following statement that doesn't help to clarify anything:

RUS wrote:
It is emphasised that no decisions have been taken in this regard and timetable development work is ongoing

It is possible that Network Rail are planning to run trains all the way from Brighton to Bedford, stopping at every station South of the Thames, and then semi-fast north of Kings X, but this seems unlikely.

Although Thameslink will still provide a useful link from London Bridge north, it would have been much better for us if we did not have to change at London Bridge. But Network Rail appear to want Thameslink to avoid as much of South London as possible and get out to Sussex (Horsham, East Grinstead, Redhill, Caterham, Tattenham
Corner, Three Bridges, etc) without stopping before Croydon (or possibly Norwood).

The changes are likely to mean that the few remaining trains that go from Forest Hill to East Croydon will run on the fast line and not stop. Anybody wishing to travel to Gatwick will need to change at Norwood Junction and East Croydon.

Today I received confirmation from First Capital Connect that they have no plans to run Thameslink services to Forest Hill after the completion of the Thameslink programme. So it seems that after the end of our services to Charing Cross, Thameslink is being designed to exclude our line from having any future services running north of London Bridge.

After the Olympics we are likely to see a reduction in trains going into London Bridge to allow them to rebuild the station for the benefit of commuters from the Home Counties. As we head towards 2020 and the completion of Thameslink, our lines into London Bridge and Canada Water will once again become some of the most overcrowded commuter services in London. If we are lucky we might see 12 carriage trains if Thameslink allow us to have some of the old Thameslink carriages they no longer need (and money is spent increasing the length of platforms again).

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DerbyHillTop


Posts: 120
Joined: Aug 2008
Post: #2
19-01-2012 12:14 PM

Rather glum news Michael,

I think we need to start campaigning for more capacity. ELL is already struggling with capacity in the morning rush hours.

Any ideas of how to raise this issue further up the priority lists?

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NewForester


Posts: 378
Joined: Feb 2008
Post: #3
19-01-2012 12:28 PM

There is a slight confusion here.

The Thameslink franchise is currently out for bids, with the new franchise starting in September 2013. As part of the new franchise, our Southern service will transfer to Thameslink in July 2015 when the current Southern franchise ends. Bids are being requested based on maintaining the current level of service.

The Thameslink programme which will see 24tph running through Blackfriars and St Pancras (the core section) is due for completion in 2018. As part of this, London Bridge is being remodelled with 9 through platforms and 6 terminating platforms instead of the current 6/9 ratio.

The information in the RUS concentrates on peak trains. We already lose the Caterham service in the afternoon peak (you have to change at Norwood Junction between 16:19 and 19:19 to get to East Croydon). In the morning, none of our services start further south than Norwood Junction, although we have 2tph to Caterham.

So after July 2015, all our rail services will be called Thameslink, we will keep 2 tph from London Bridge to Victoria and we will keep 6tph to London Bridge in the morning peak.

What is unclear is what will happen to our Caterham service, which goes via East Croydon. Will it continue to run to London Bridge, or will one of the planned Thameslink services from Caterham to St Albans and Welwyn Garden City stop here after the morning peak? There is scope for this to happen as the number of trains in the core drops from 24tph to 18tph. It all depends on whether they can get the train onto/off the slow line. Will we keep access to East Croydon in the morning?

What is essential is that we keep a direct service to/from East Croydon; Norwood Junction is a nightmare for those with luggage and we will get connectivity to Crossrail (and step free interchange) at Whitechapel when that is also completed in 2018.

This post was last modified: 19-01-2012 12:35 PM by NewForester.

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lacb


Posts: 624
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #4
19-01-2012 12:58 PM

Just trying to think positively here: just because FCC have no plans to run to Forest Hill, doesn't mean that they have planned not to.

It seems that there is a new franchise in this and actual stations served is yet to be decided:

Quote:
the Government has not yet specified which routes will be linked to the future Thameslink timetable that comes into force in 2018 and receive the new Thameslink trains. This will be determined following a period of consultation by the Department for Transport in 2012.

source: New Thameslink Franchise Announced

This post was last modified: 19-01-2012 12:58 PM by lacb.

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rbmartin


Posts: 879
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #5
19-01-2012 06:13 PM

While it'd be nice to have through services to Blackfriars, St.Pancras, City Thameslink etc, the preservation of the current services to London Bridge and East Croydon is essential, along with the RUS suggestion for 5 car ELL trains and extra ELL peaks from Crystal Palace in the mornings, along with the ever pressing extra late Mon-Sat services to Forest Hill on the ELL which is still shambolic, even if they run trains past midnight to NXG which connect with the 0036 from London Bridge.

One of the reasons why Thameslink may have left Forest Hill behind is the ELL extension which has given us a much improved train service compared to before May 2010.

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lacb


Posts: 624
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #6
20-01-2012 11:34 AM

Agreed re London Bridge-East Croydon service. Am already concerned that this is being prepared to be axed owing to the way the service is restricted during the evening peak.

When the London Bridge terminus is reduced in size some services will be lost for sure, unless Thameslink can replace them.

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rbmartin


Posts: 879
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #7
20-01-2012 04:09 PM

Ideally the service pattern after the Thameslink programme is implemented should be the same peak pattern as now with LB services starting from north of Croydon, an increase on the ELL peaks with 5 cars and the 2tph to East Croydon/Caterham and Victoria.

Off-peak is where at least 2tph from Caterham should stop at FH/HOP using the Thameslink line with the other 2tph from Victoria terminating at London Bridge as now.

However if the current Caterham service pattern is kept, they'd be no Thameslink during the morning peak into London and none towards East Croydon during the evening peak.

If we don't get Caterham trains after 2018, there's a possibility that Tattenham Corner services which run on the fast line could switch to the slow as they'll terminate at London Bridge. This is the current arrangement on Sundays.

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lacb


Posts: 624
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #8
20-01-2012 05:43 PM

Quote:
LB services starting from north of Croydon


Sorry if I'm being dense, but what does this mean?

e.g. North of Croydon is East Croydon or some point North of it, like Norwood Junction for instance?

This post was last modified: 20-01-2012 05:43 PM by lacb.

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rbmartin


Posts: 879
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #9
20-01-2012 07:36 PM

Yes, the morning peak services to London Bridge start from Norwood Junction, Streatham Hill, Victoria or Crystal Palace.

Before the ELL was extended, Southern would run services from Surrey which led to even worse overcrowding by the time the trains would arrive here.

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michael


Posts: 3,228
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #10
23-08-2012 10:50 PM

The Forest Hill Society response to the franchise consultation can be read at http://www.foresthillsociety.com/2012/08...chise.html

Summary of Our Recommendations:
1. Thameslink stopping service on the Sydenham corridor as outlined in the 2007 Route Utilisation Strategy.
2. Continued connections from Forest Hill to East Croydon.
3. Plans for the introduction of 12 carriage trains on the Sydenham corridor.
4. Minimum services frequencies of 4 trains per hour at Crofton Park.
5. Inclusion of minimum specification for off-peak services, including maximising the central Thameslink corridor beyond the primary Thameslink routes.

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Medley


Posts: 87
Joined: Nov 2011
Post: #11
24-08-2012 05:24 PM

Excellent response by the looks of it, but was never sure why you were so confident that we'd get Thameslink.

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rbmartin


Posts: 879
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #12
24-08-2012 05:36 PM

Considering that we've known that the Wimbledon loop is set to become a standard Blackfriars terminating line, the only people in South East London set to benefit are those who live on the Sevenoaks line such as Crofton Park and Peckham Rye.

It seems the sell to the outer London and Surrey/Sussex commuters is we'll get you straight into Central London without picking up those inner London commuters on the way up, making your journey faster.

I'm sure those Guildford/Dorking commuters who used to travel up to LB prefer not having to pick up passengers at FH and Sydenham as in the past pre ELL.

I wouldn't be surprised if once the franchise goes through, they'll give us less trains, but extend the platforms to 12 carriages to cram us on to the remaining trains to London Bridge. The ELL seems to have made it harder for us to bargain considering we now have more trains than some parts of South London not on the tube.

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