Big Southeastern rail changes from August


Final timetables have been released of substantial changes to rail services across south east London from August. Details can be found here.

Significant work day changes occur from Tuesday 30th August. For three working days there are no services to Cannon Street, with Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich and Deptford stations closed throughout. Best to book any leave now.

On other routes, there will be reduced services. And remember, these are normal working days and not the weekend, where it has become the norm. Work has been timetabled to occur on one of the quietest weeks of the year but it will still cause much disruption. However, little can be done to switch the dates given the essential, and wide ranging nature of the work.

Longer term changes

The following week sees long term changes kick off. These will run from August 2016 until January 2018. The big changes are that Cannon Street trains will not stop at London Bridge. Charing Cross trains will once again do so. The Greenwich line sees 4 trains an hour in the peaks head from Charlton to Lewisham, before stopping at London Bridge and terminating at Charing Cross.

These diverted Greenwich line trains means less trains on the Sidcup and Bexleyheath lines can stop at Lewisham at peak times. Bad news if changing for the DLR. It also results in stations from Westcombe Park and Deptford losing some peak time services.

With that stretch seeing a very large number of housing developments completing with others being built, pressure will rise. Deptford alone has seen substantial growth in recent years – often above 10% more passengers every year. The usefulness of the DLR is limited for many as it’s not too close to many residents along that stretch of SE line, and it already has its own capacity issues. The DLR network is growing at 8% per year.

Some substantial peak time gaps appear. Deptford and Greenwich arrivals from central London show a gap of 23 minutes between trains – with a 18:03 arrival at Greenwich then nothing until 18:26. It isn’t much better down the line past Charlton, even with a train from Lewisham added. For example, there’s an arrival at 18:23 at Woolwich Arsenal then a 17 minute gap until an 18:40. It will take one cancellation and very large gaps appear, with passengers very likely being unable to board. With some trains stopping at Woolwich Dockyard they cannot even use 12-car services across the board to help.

Government failings

Once again the Department for Transport, which holds most of the power, has failed the area. They have not provided, or facilitated in previous franchise rounds or extensions, enough stock to ensure all trains will be maximum length, and despite numerous requests from Southeastern, some politicians and passengers, have continued to be very lethargic in coming up with any solutions.

Promised dates for announcements of additional stock, let alone the actual trains, have come and gone. All the time announcing or facilitating plans for more stock at almost every other franchise in the country. Then there’s the ongoing lack of infrastructure work to ensure 12-car trains can run across the network.

There’s lots of details to be derived from the timetables. You can check how it will impact you here.




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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

0 thoughts on “Big Southeastern rail changes from August

  • Sometimes only a car will do.

    At least the one you own is paid for.

    Isn’t it?

    It’s a tough call. Or so they’d have you believe. This is the way the railways are run because this is how they choose to spend the money and don’t forget it’s their money and no longer yours or ours. The primary consideration for a private railway in the UK is profit. That profit is derived from lease and lend for the purchase of trains and carriages. It is the small fortune demanded by bankers for the luxury of leasing railways carriages that determines the severe lack of them.

    Truth be told outright purchase of train components would be a simpler and far more cost effective way to go but simple and cheap just ain’t never the way we do things here in the UK. Big money likes to see big returns and the railways are getting to be just about as big as you can go. Passenger growth is astronomic and so is the railways ability to generate revenue. Take a good look the next time your in a London terminus. Shops, restaurants, bars, stations have become destinations in their own right. Nothing wrong with that if they can make their square footage work then so much the better. You’d think.

    Something tells me all that money doesn’t end up buying gravel, sleepers and platform staff. Sure we all want a fast and reliable train service down at out own personal station but being Richard Branson and running a trainset in the UK isn’t really all about that. That would be missing the point.

    The point is banksters. Well merchant bankers to be polite. Problem is not the entrepreneurs so much as the financiers. Well to be honest it’s the money men and as they’re hardly better than the operators I can see it gets very confusing, but let’s not get side tracked. We might hit a buffer or two.

    The banksters have put in their oar and policy from the Treasury says in it’s likey to stay. So the merry go round of stupendous interest payments, guaranteed by HMG no less, will continue until eternity until someone with sufficient independent Govt backing forces someone else’s hand, Whose hand is to be forced, I have no idea. There’s so many of them.

    If this were to happen and they were made to step aside from their glorious acts of money squandering we might finally get a railway rooted in the business of moving people and not money from one offshore tax haven to another.

    Buying the train kit outright from the manufacturers shouldn’t be an option it should be policy. They don’t do five years neither. They do forever and ever. And then some. It’s worth remem bering the railways never never ever ever get to actually own anything they’ve bought. That’s our takeaway today. No trains. Just lots and lots of pain. Eternally.

    It’s so dreadfully simple it’s simply frightening. No more eternal HP and with all that extra money the railways can finaly get in on reinvesting in the UK rather than skimming profit to the four corners of the globe. As an effective means of providing an all round level of service this would work. Prices for tickets might actually fall in real terms, because one of the “drivers” for price growth in the railway world of today is the return on the money the financiers demand for their “essential” investment.

    So the next time you find yourself waiting yet again for another 20mins for the ‘Marie Celeste’ aka the 8:20, 8:03, 7:46 to Waterloo, ’cause with fewer trains and shorter trains it does happen, it’s worth considering which off shore drain your ticket money might end up in and if enough people do that we might all get to where we want to go.

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