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Final Southeastern rail timetable for May 2018 released

The final Southeastern timetable for May 2018 services has been released after three years of disruption due to London Bridge rebuilding work.

Consultation was undertaken last year which the site covered here.

So what’s changed from then? Well, it seems that on the Greenwich line evening services are cut from what was proposed.

In the consultation evening trains were every 10 minutes until 11pm (four Southeastern and two Thameslink as seen above) which has now been cut to four an hour (two Southeastern and two Thameslink).



That leaves irritating 20 minute gaps which is below the level expected for an inner London turn-up-and-go service interval of 15 minutes.

It appears to be another example of the Department for Transport and Govia-run Southeastern not understanding what incentivises people to travel on public transport.

TfL run frequent tube, London Overground and DLR services up until midnight and do not knock it off substantially after 9pm.

A quiet Woolwich Arsenal station at night when service levels reduce

It doesn’t bode well for the future Southeastern franchise, which the DfT and Transport Secretary blocked from being devolved to Transport for London despite an agreement made with Grayling’s Conservative predecessor Patrick McLoughlin.

On the bright side six trains an hour are restored to Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich and Deptford after three years without., and the last train of the night on the Woolwich line leaves London Bridge at 01:07 instead of 00:51 in the consultation.

Sidcup line

In other areas much is the same as what was proposed. The Sidcup line gains an extra two trains an hour off-peak though many in Medway wish this wasn’t the case.

Moving two trains an hour semi-fast services from the Abbey Wood and Woolwich line (replaced by two an hour Thameslink) to the Sidcup line means there’s no net increase to connect with Woolwich DLR and Crossrail.



One of Crossrail’s big selling points in the past has been quicker journeys from Kent to various parts of London through a change at Abbey Wood, though now there’s no net increase from the low two trains an hour service level coming to the station from Medway.

Slower journeys?

On the Woolwich line the Gillingham to Charing Cross via Lewisham service is now truncated to Dartford. Extra stops will be welcome to some but it does slow down journeys. The expectation is many will instead switch to faster Crossrail routes.

Southeastern make a big play of faster services from Dartford to London Bridge but this is a bit disingenuous, as they’re comparing compromised and slowed-down services from current timetables impacted by rebuilding work. Looking back before 2015 shows there’s no faster services.

As covered previously, Thameslink services are as slow as (or even slower) than all-stopping Southeastern services from Dartford to London Bridge on the Woolwich line even though they avoid stopping at Erith, Belvedere and Woolwich Dockyard.

Bexleyheath line

Trains from Victoria to Dartford via Denmark Hill are now extended to Gravesend off-peak. After Dartford they run fast to Greenhithe and the Gravesend.

The Sunday service looks pretty terrible at just two trains an hour.

You can view the new Southeastern timetables here.

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4 Comments

  1. Jon

    Well spotted with the late night frequency drop. This wasn’t mentioned by Southeastern (and indeed http://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/timesarechanging speaks of Woolwich Arsenal et al getting “8 trains per hour all day “).

    The 01:07 last train is only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays have the 00:51 service and the last service on Mondays appears to be the 23:59 from London Bridge.

    It’s generally a good timetable for my home station of Plumstead, but once again the off-peak service is much better than the peak. During the day, Plumstead gets 8tph, but at peak time there are some annoying 20 minute gaps, such as between 18:20 and 18:40 from London Bridge.

  2. Chris

    I have received a Tweet from Thameslink that states their trains will run from day 1 despite the rumours.

  3. Mr_Chas

    Back in the 80’s , if memory serves, there were off peak non stop trains from London to Dartford! I certainly travelled on one and I remember the slam doors!

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