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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.