The Bakerloo Line will see a reduced service from today as TfL makes cuts in provision.
The cuts are mainly focused around off-peak provision with frequency between Queen’s Park and Elephant & Castle reducing from 19 trains per hour to 16 trains per hour off-peak on weekdays and in evenings. TfL’s reasoning is “additional time allocated for trains and train operators to turn around at the end of the route to help improve reliability”.
Weekends see further revisions, including 16 trains per hour between Queen’s Park and Elephant & Castle all day (previously 15 trains per hour in the morning and 18 in the afternoon).
In a sign of changing travel patterns, during Saturdays there is no change to the 20 trains per hour service between Queen’s Park and Elephant & Castle.
To the north, services between Stonebridge Park and Queen’s Park will be reduced from 9 trains per hour to 8 trains per hour and services between Harrow & Wealdstone and Stonebridge Park will be reduced from 6 trains per hour to 4 trains per hour at all off peak periods, which includes Saturday and Sunday.
Cuts may seem odd the day before substantial opening of parts of the economy, though the Bakerloo Line is often one of the quietest lines. This is due to its truncated nature given it ends south of the river in Zone 1. For nearly a century numerous plans to extend into south east London have been scrapped. The latest plan to Lewisham looks like it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Trains on the line are also some of the oldest at 49 years old with maintenance a factor. Much as an extension is again kicked into the long grass, plans for new trains look like being pushed back, so trains may well run until 60 years old or beyond.
None of this has stopped major growth around Lewisham and plans along the Old Kent Road for many thousands of new homes.
There is no definite date for a return to normal service levels. TfL state they will monitor passenger numbers. In addition, the make up of the next funding deal from central Government will play a sizeable role in what services are funded and whether cuts become widespread.