Plumstead station rebuild revealed
Network Rail have submitted plans to partially rebuild Plumstead station including improving accessibility with the addition of lifts to both platforms.
The program is funded by the Department for Transport under the Access for All scheme.
Though very welcome it’s a shame not to incorporate the existing main Victorian bridge span. Also, the scheme is pretty limited in scope. No work is planned on the main building.
Passenger numbers have recently risen above 1.5 million a year yet staffing at Plumstead is minimal and the station lacks ticket gates so official numbers are likely an underestimate.
The plans do not address staffing or gatelines. A lack of staffing sometimes closes the ticket office at peak times. No additional staffing would not aid with helping people in the lifts or preventing vandalism.
Not addressing staffing levels alongside work is due to the convoluted web of management under the UK’s franchised rail network aside from exceptions such as TfL’s Overground network. The DfT fund upgrades but only set staffing at franchise award time. Southeastern follow what they say.
One of the hopes for a TfL takeover was a unified system with London Overground running trains on the line to Dartford. TfL could increase staffing levels and times to protect revenue and reduce fare evasion and do so in a more flexible and responsive manner than franchises let by the DfT.
Now Chris Grayling has blocked a TfL takeover of the line in 2018 the DfT will once again set the franchise for up to 10 years. They will dictate staffing and gateline installation, or not. They’ve previously shown minimal interest in Southeastern suburban routes.
And if demand spikes three years into a franchise? There’s little chance of flexible responses.
As for improvement work outside the station relating to the Housing Zone announced years ago? Well, still no word.