Looking at the 40% train cuts to Greenwich, plus Charing Cross tube link shuts

Things don’t seem to be going too well since service changes a couple of weeks ago. Not only have the number of services been cut by 40% from 5 – 7pm running to Greenwich and 30% to Deptford, Maze Hill and Westcombe Park, but Southeastern have cut train lengths to just six carriages on many services.

Coupled with the 40% cuts in the numbers of trains, the reduction in lengths of those remaining mean a total capacity cut of 50-60%.


Here’s a table I produced back in July showing the service reduction.


Southeastern planners were hoping many Cannon Street passengers would head to Charing Cross, Waterloo East or London Bridge so longer trains run through there. Maybe they will in time. But in an unfortunate case of timing, the tube connection to the station at Charing Cross, which Southeastern hope many will use, is to close today (26th September 2016) until July 2017.

I’m not sure if Southeastern really thought a 50-60% cut in capacity in the evening peak was feasible. If they did they just aren’t looking at rising population and house building. But then surely their own station figures should help.

Deptford’s growth, for example, is very strong and the tower block and retail development right next to the station completes right about now. Many of the new shops and bars in the arches are currently being opened.


It’s likely that if Transport for London operated Southeastern trains there would be better co-ordination to avoid these issues. And if they had been awarded the franchise in 2014, when Southeastern were given an extension, they would likely have secured more trains by now to mitigate the effects.

Or at least altered the interiors to accommodate more passengers. The DfT didn’t ask and no franchised operator is going to splash out as they’d never recoup their investment over two years.

Many still seem under the misapprehension that Southeastern own the trains and can order more. They are owned by train leasing companies, and will only be able to secure more if the Department for Transport agrees.

There also seems a disconnect in transport planning and transport capacity which needs looking at.

Anyone travelling the line can see the thousands of homes now completing or underway. Just look at how it looks when crossing the Creek. I wrote about it here and here.

Here’s a brief list of developments completing soon along that stretch:

Westcombe Park:

Greenwich Millennium Village Stage 3. Further blocks complete 2017.

Maze Hill:

  • Greenwich Centre. Various stages in progression.
  • Various smaller scale around east Greenwich. Covered here.
  • Enderby Wharf. Progressively completing. 2016/17.
  • River Gardens block 3. Complete Autumn 2016


  • Gramercy opposite Wetherspoons. 2017
  • Caledonian Wharf. 2016
  • Faircharm. 2017+.
  • Kent Wharf. 2017+.
  • Essential Living tower. 2018


  • Deptford Market Yard. 2016.
  • Childers Street warehouse conversion. 83 flats. 2017.

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J Smith

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.

4 thoughts on “Looking at the 40% train cuts to Greenwich, plus Charing Cross tube link shuts

  • As a passenger on the 17:50 and 18:14 services I can vouch how overcrowded they are and the reason is simple: they are only 6 cars in length despite being peak time services! Does anyone know how quickly Southeastern can get extra cars?

    The services are also now frequently delayed. What I don’t understand is why Network Rail can’t communicate to its customers better. I always try to check Journey Checker before I leave for the station and the website instead of showing that none of the trains could actually arrive at Cannon Street due to signalling problems and that they had better find an alternative way home they let passengers arrive onto an overcrowded concourse!

  • Received an email from Southeastern today headed “Beautiful competition | The Railway Upgrade Plan | Dover and more”.
    Looking at the ‘over £50bn’ Upgrade Plan it seems all we can look forward to with Southeastern is a deep clean of the trains! Plus the current reduction in services, and termination of through trains Greenwich-to-Charing Cross of course.

  • Thanks for the post. From what I have seen, however, I don’t think the overcrowding on the Greenwich line in the evenings is any worse than that on the Sidcup line, which has suffered the same for years and years. The overcrowding on the Orpington line is also pretty bad, plus now some these trains are also stopping at New Cross & Lewisham which slows the journeys down.

    If/when TFL take over in 2018 we should see some immediate improvements (and more customer-focused decision-making) but I think it will be at least 2 years after that before we get new rolling stock, assuming the order is made immediately after the franchise transfers. So that’s at least 4 more years on the old Networkers.

  • Pingback: Have your say on Southeastern trains tonight | fromthemurkydepths

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