Murky Depths

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Southeastern passenger numbers released for every station and line

Numbers are out this morning showing just how many passengers used Southeastern stations in 2017/18.

Today I’ll look at the Woolwich line. This data covers a period of continual disruption with the line closed almost every weekend throughout the entire year due to a combination of completing London Bridge rebuild work alongside Crossrail related closures at Abbey Wood.

Despite this, figures are all over the place with some strong growth then sharp falls at adjacent stations.

Abbey Wood, for example, was up 5% to 3.1million.

Major station yet few staff and open barriers after 8pm

Woolwich Arsenal was up 5.5% to 3.8 million.

Yet Plumstead in the middle, was down 15% to 1.1million. The ORR blame this on London Bridge works yet all stations were generally affected equally, and in fact Crossrail closures were more persistent.

DLR v Southeastern

Another statistic that has long puzzled is why Woolwich Arsenal’s DLR growth is exponentially higher than rail. Rail usage has barely changed since 2012 at the station – rising from 3.7m to 3.8m. The DLR meanwhile has gone from 8.8m in 2012 to 14.7m in 2016.

Are three and half times more people using DLR than rail? Or are numbers not being calculated accurately?

Greenwich

One area where London Bridge works did have a major impact throughout the year, and not only weekends, was Westcombe Park to Deptford where frequency was vastly reduced especially during peak weekday hours as trains diverted from Charlton to Blackheath.

Greenwich station

Greenwich saw a 10% drop to 2.5 million passenger journeys a year. Westcombe Park was down 7% and Maze Hill down 4%. Deptford saw a fall of 3%.

Charlton, which retained a decent service as more trains were diverted via Lewisham, squeezed a 0.3% rise to 1.5m.

Outer London

Further out and heading past Abbey Wood and towards Kent we have both Erith and Belvedere stations with 5% growth and Slade Green up 4%. Dartford was up 7% to 4.2 million.

Overall then it was a mixed bag along the line but numbers held up despite continual disruption. The figures only go as far as the first quarter of 2018, so almost a year old now.

Since then figures for Q2 2018 show growth across Southeastern at 2-3%, though that data isn’t broken down by line or station.

I will cover other lines in coming posts. Click here to see data.

9 Comments

  1. Paul SuperUnknown

    I see the DLR as the easiest option, rather than take the bus to North Greenwich, to catch the Jubilee Line.
    It’s fair to say, once the Elizabeth Line opens (in 2050) I will be availing myself of its swift locomotion.

  2. Jon

    I suspect there is some Plumstead -> Abbey Wood usage transfer here. I am a Plumstead commuter but was advised to get an Abbey Wood season ticket as it’s the same price and why not have an extra station on the ticket’s validity?

    Similarly with Maze Hill and Westcombe Park: why not buy to Charlton instead?

  3. Tim Scott

    If Belvedere and Erith have a 5% rise in usage, indicating high demand, why aren’t Thameslink trains stopping there? They stop at Slade Green, which has a lower usage percentage.

    • Will

      No thanks the Thameslink is slow enough! The last thing it needs is more stops! 6tph is not a bad deal in the Greater London Area, Surburbis cannot reasonably expect more trains to stop at the detriment to those who live well beyond the M25

      • Tim Scott

        Sorry, I should have been clearer. What I meant was that it seems daft for Thameslink trains to call at stations with a low percentage of usage and not call at those with higher percentages. They could stop at places like Belvedere and Erith but miss out on those like Plumstead and Slade Green where the indication is that the need is not so great.

        • Will

          I see your point, and yes I agree it’s even more stupid when it stops at shacks and farms like Northfleet, Swanscombe and Stone Crossing yet as you say skips busy Belvedere and Erith, Slade Green has less things going on yet that now has 8tph and Plumstead yes while it is a busy station is within the catchment area of Woolwich CrossRail and I strongly suspect people will make their way there in future.

          • Jon

            There’s an element of “I would say that” as it’s my local station, but Plumstead is at least as busy as Charlton in the morning and evening peaks, and more so than Westcombe Park and Maze Hill.

  4. AD

    You can probably attribute part of the difference between rail and DLR usage to open barriers and fare dodgers on the rail.

  5. Plumstead Resident

    It would be useful to see this data across peak and non-peak times. The morning trains into London Bridge certainly look busier than in the past due to new housing and commuters in the area.

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