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Southeastern consult on December 2019 timetable changes

Southeastern have begun consulting on timetable changes from December this year.

Considering they didn’t even know a month ago if they’d still be operating in December and are very unlikely to be doing so much into 2020, the changes are predictably minor.

Network South East lives on in places

In a nutshell High Speed and long distance journeys are sped up while Metro routes are slowed down.

There’s absolutely no changes to most lines such as the three Dartford line and Hayes as would be expected.

Continual delays in awarding a new franchise plus blocking devolution ensure no new trains will arrive soon to speed up journeys – and London Bridge rebuilding work was for the benefit of adding Thameslink services and not Southeastern so there’s no capacity at London terminals for any more trains without investment.

London Bridge. New station yet very few 12 car services.

Any new trains would be expected to be slightly faster accelerating and designed for quicker boarding and exiting via wider doors and larger vestibules – but Southeastern are stuck with old stock.

On other routes out of Victoria metro trains are being slowed down to enable more timetable padding. Victoria to Gravesend via Bexleyheath will stop at Peckham Rye for longer. Victoria to Orpington will do the same at stations such as Brixton.

Train condition

I know I go on about this a lot – but time to divert once again to the filthy condition of many trains. It’s often hard to see at peak times as so busy, but off-peak trips shows off how bad some are.

We’ve all seen them – seats falling off

Stickers advising passengers of accessible seating for the disabled, parents and elderly is often ripped off and not replaced. The floors are bubbling again shortly after a legally obliged refurbishment. That was for disability legal requirements – though not all will be done which presents an issue of whether some stock can continue into 2020 – and where capacity reductions will occur.

When it comes to refurbishment, many franchises will take trains back to the shell and install new components. With SE it was the bare minimum. Panels and grills are still filthy and numerous seats loose.

Refurbished train

This is all because no one knows what is happening months down the line.

Southeastern is a franchise badly in need of investment for suburban metro routes but none seems forthcoming anytime soon.  A private company can’t be blamed for not spending big money if they will see no return – in this case the trains owners who Southeastern lease stock from. Neither the train’s owners (there’s two) nor Southeastern are a charity. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

Bubbling flooring

There’s no excuse though for minor things such as stickers for disabled seats not being in place – but again, the franchise system is at fault. Why hire new cleaners or station staff if the future is so uncertain?

The only certainty with this franchise is another Department for Transport mandated fare rise next year.

Click here to view consultation documents.

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5 Comments

  1. Jo

    The trains are nasty. Hard to see any as bad in London that do not have imminent plans to replace. Those out of moorgate were terrible but new air con train introduced there in recent months.

    Maybe it’s just me (or the summer) but lots of station barriers open the past few weeks. Maybe winding down staffing if no hope of a new franchise.

    • Robert

      The stark contrast between tfl runned station Abbeywood and southeastern run Woolwich is a joke. Barriers always closed at Abbeywood and plenty of staff. Woolwich Arsenal, barriers nearly always open and very little staff. Fair evasion at Woolwich must be huge.

  2. CDT

    Department of Transport need to settle the franchise issues and award the new franchise. So South Eastern or whoever will take over the franchise can invest in new trains.

    There also needs to be more funding made available to improve many of the Stations currently served by South Eastern. I totally understand why South Eastern and the Train leasing companies are unwilling to invest too much until they know what the future holds for them.

    As the trains are over 25 years old at some point they are likely to be taken out of service.

    Personally I also think it would help if the Thameslink Trains were scheduled at every 20 minutes (3 trains every hour) during the peak hours and at busiest times of the day. This will certainly be of benefit to passengers travelling to Kent.

    My colleague from work often as to wait for up to an hour to get work and back home in Kent again due to his Thameslink train being cancelled. An extra train per hour operated by Thameslink would help offset some of these delays.

    • Bayles

      Not going to happen since it will mess up the core the only thing I want done to Thameslink is to restore the fast service the current service has too many stations and is too slow

  3. Chris

    Timetable changes require 13 weeks notice to allow time for implementation.

    This can only be playing the game as any changes will be known already,

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