Lewisham station’s one-way system in for criticism as overcrowding hits

Lewisham station’s one-way system came in for criticism today as passengers were denied entry in the morning rush hour – even if the platform they sought was empty.

Disruption affected services though commuters seeking platforms away from busy London-bound platforms were still unable to enter as they previously could.

Southeastern introduced a one-way system a number of months ago as numerous towers in the area draw ever more passengers at peak times.

That followed a decision to close an entrance to Platform 4 forcing more people to use existing entrances.

Cramped tunnels at the station

One reason for closing the entrance and exit was safety – though we now have a situation with increased crowding in other areas of the station as all passengers are funneled through one spot. In the event of panic, a stampede or someone falling safety could be compromised.

Staircases at the station

It’s believed one reason to keep Platform 4’s entrance closed was a lack of barriers. Lewisham is one of the very few Southeastern metro platforms that have all barriers staffed. Though even then only until 8pm.

It’s one scenario of many where short-term franchise extensions hurt. No investment into the entrance will be made until there is certainly – and continual short term extensions do not provide it nor specify upgrade work.

Tower plans beside Lewisham station

Another entrance has been mooted beside a new tower underway on the former Carpetright site – though commitments all seem a bit woolly in planning documents.

New entrance to DLR and rail in plans but opening not confirmed

Demolition of Carpetright recently begun and developers seek to use modular construction for rapid building with a 2020 completion date.

The tower will bring hundreds more people to the station – and with no new entrance today’s scenes could increase in frequency.

Another large-scale development was recently approved at the front of the station which includes a cinema:

Gateway Phase 2 tower plan

Whether these buildings or firm commitments to upgrade the station arrive first remains to be seen. Even if a new franchise or devolution is announced later this year (or next), it will take further time to implement.

Grayling’s legacy as Transport Secretary will play out for some time yet.

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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.

One thought on “Lewisham station’s one-way system in for criticism as overcrowding hits

  • Thank you very much for highlighting the chaotic 1-way system at Lewisham station. It was brought in against a tide of negative feedback from passengers and has done nothing to increase ease of use at the station. On the contrary it has increased the time it takes to get to the trains and increased passenger frustration. The vast majority of the time, the barriers that are closed to entry (to Platform 3 for example) are completely free of traffic, while commuters travelling to work are forced to go the long way round. To Platform 1 the situation is even worse for London-bound travellers.

    In the opinion of this commentator the decision to shut the barriers this morning was a completely jobsworth one. There was obviously no safety issue involved with letting 30-40 people onto the station, many of whom wanted to reach the completely deserted Platform 1.


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