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Southeastern to get another two year extension if Tories win election?

Negotiations are underway between the Government and the Southeastern franchise’s operator GoVia for another extension to the franchise – and this time for two years from April 2020.

This would be the latest short-term extension since the franchise was supposed to end in 2014. Each failure to secure a long-term future for rail services means investment put on hold.

30-year old networker trains lack full refurbishment due to continual delays

Back in early 2016 the Transport Minister at the time publicly agreed to transfer Southeastern services to TfL. By September 2016 it already seemed Whitehall was trying to block devolution after Chris Grayling took over as Transport Secretary. he publicly stopped it shortly afterwards – but the short term extensions to Southeastern’s franchise continued.

 

In 2015 then Chancellor George Osborne also announced an annual £700 million cut to TfL finances which hampered the ability to takeover operations. TfL have been further squeezed since then by declining bus passenger numbers and Crossrail delays.

The Southeastern franchise process was formally cancelled this year.

Labour have stated they will take rail into public ownership once franchises end. With the current Southeastern franchise due to end in April 2020 some could move under TfL control. The Conservatives are looking to retain private franchises – though say they will reform the system.

 

 

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11 Comments

  1. Graham

    At the very least Southeastern need to refurbished the carriages during this time.With TFL having cash flow problems there is no guarantee that they would not introduce cuts to services once the service was handed over.

    However, tonight our thoughts must also be with the victims of the London Bridge attack, Our brave emergency services Police and London Ambulance Service and the members of the public who went to their aid and fought the attacker before the already terrible situation got worse.

    You all deserve to recognised for your outstanding bravery,

    With no direct bus service from London Bridge to the Borough of Greenwich and or neighbouring Bexley providing an alternative for commuters,

    Commuters who would normally catch their train from London Bridge Station face a long journey home on an overcrowded underground train or several changes. This situation has been made worse with TFL cuts to Central London bus services.

  2. David

    Do you think the potential 2 year direct award is to allow time for the planning & implementation of devolving some of the current services to TFL? If it’s not I would have thought, given Williams Review completion, they would look to strike a longer term agreement with investment requirements etc.

    • fromthemurkydepths

      That’s what people thought after extension 1, 2, 3 and maybe 4. Each has gone nowhere. Any faith the next one will?

  3. CDT

    If TFL take over the Southeastern franchise I would like to see more services re-introduced to operate in and out of Charing Cross Station on the Greenwich/Woolwich line along side the existing Cannon Street and Thameslink services.

    • Charles Calthrop

      As I recall the Charing Cross services were originally changed to Cannon Street to get around the penalties imposed for missing timetable targets: a train can’t be late if its withdrawn from the timetable entirely. The Bermondsey Underpass was supposed to put an end to direct Charing Cross trains but I don’t see that the way is actually blocked. I agree: I”d also like to have the option to reach the West End again: I think its foolish to deprive thousands of workers, shoppers and sightseers easy access to the heart of London.

      • BlackheathZak

        The tracks no longer connect the Greenwich line to those into Charing Cross, its ridiculous to allude thousands of people are unable to reach the West End, it’s a 5min (if that) change at LBG.
        The change to the lines has actually meant Cannon street Station is open Sunday’s plus other benefits.

        • tony g

          Its easy for you to say that ‘BlackheathZak’ – living in Blackheath you have direct trains to Victoria and CHX…

  4. fromthemurkydepths

    Charing Cross trains won’t be coming back. Too much chance of messing up other services on the approach to London Bridge.

    That bottleneck has now moved down to Lewisham where work needs doing – and whatever happens some will be angered by it but the network is creaking badly.

  5. CDT

    So the people of Greenwich and Woolwich have lost our link to the West End (Charing Cross)by Train. So we have to now take a us to North Greenwich Station which dependent on where you live in the Borough can take 30 minutes on a good day even longer on a bad day.

    Crossrail as became a joke and can still be two years away (2021) if not longer from opening and hugely over budget with more money now needing to be ploughed in to the project.

    Yet TFL and the current Mayor of London still went ahead with central London bus cuts including route 53 which has now been cut back to County Hall. This route used to run as far as Camden Town, Oxford Circus and Whitehall over the years.

    It is one busy route TFL and the Mayor of London continually cut back leaving the Royal Borough of Greenwich with out any Central London Bus links.

    This is very bad news for the people using the Greenwich and Woolwich line. Which includes the elderly disabled and other vulnerable people that find it very difficult to keep changing trains and buses,

    • Chris Nash

      You’ve only lost direct Charing Cross services along the *Greenwich* portion of the line – the stretch from Westcombe Park to Deptford. Direct CHX services run from Woolwich Arsenal (and beyond) via Blackheath and Lewisham.

      Also, Embankment is only a few stops away from Cannon Street or Blackfriars on the District Line. Why are you torturing yourself by going to North Greenwich? The Jubilee Line hasn’t stopped at Charing Cross since 1999!

  6. Graham

    Well said CDT good on you !!

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