Southeastern cut many trains on Bexleyheath line to Charing Cross

A major rewriting of the timetable across Southeastern for this coming December sees the Bexleyheath line lose direct trains to Charing Cross for much of the day.

Peak time see the retention of some trains though off-peak loses the direct link. Passengers will have to change at the rebuilt London Bridge, a change which has long been an aspiration to simplify Metro routes.

Another change is Bexleyheath gaining rounder service to the Woolwich line and connection with the Elizabeth line at Abbey Wood.

Journey times are pretty slow between Bexleyheath and Abbey Wood via Slade Green at 16 minutes negating many speed advantages once changing and on an Elizabeth line train.

The 301 at Abbey Wood having arrived from Bexleyheath.

It’s not the fastest once connecting and changing at Abbey Wood. In addition, a train to Lewisham for the DLR or to London Bridge for connections to rail and tube makes that slow crawl to Abbey Wood via Slade Green seem a waste of time.

Also they are prone to being cancelled en route if running late, and at just two an hour that’s a long wait when it happens.

Southeastern changes

In many ways the rewritten timetable appears to have a whiff of Southeastern giving up on Metro lines given the advent of Crossrail – even though much of the metro area is too far away to benefit.

You may have thought they had for many years anyway, with chronic lack of staff at stations resulting in open barriers – – if they exist at all – and closed ticket offices at many alongside clapped-out 30 years trains being the bedrock of the Metro fleet.

Open barriers at Lewisham

My last journey in one was the usual. Dirty, broken seats, barriers open at Woolwich Arsenal and all-round not a pleasant way to travel. Getting people to ditch the car? Little chance with that standard of public transport.

In the background to all this is demands from the Department for Transport and Treasury for heavy cuts across the rail network.

Southeastern Metro has seen a reduction in passengers like many areas since 2020, so the DfT may feel they can cut though some parts of the area is also in line for the highest housebuilding levels in the country.

Blocks alongside rail line

Near Woolwich Dockyard station, for example, is Morris Walk estate rebuild recently approved and the first homes of a possible 8,000 in the Charlton Riverside masterplan area.

Kidbrooke continues to grow quickly with thousands of homes either side of the station underway.

New homes rising beside Kidbrooke station

In recent weeks I’ve covered plans for major development in Belvedere.

Deptford also has thousands of homes under constructed or planned.

Sun Wharf in Deptford – a short walk from Deptford station

The danger is in haste to cut there’s no plan for when residents move into new developments across the network.

More changes are expected to be revealed soon.


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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.

    2 thoughts on “Southeastern cut many trains on Bexleyheath line to Charing Cross

    • Any word on whether the Woolwich line keeps Charing Cross trains off peak?

    • Anything on the Woolwich line? bit worrying that we could potentially lose Charing Cross trains, in four years the Woolwich line has had a shoddy service, from slow Thameslink trains that have ran 1tph for most of its existence to possibly losing rail links to Blackheath, Lewisham and Charing Cross off peak, the Blackheath service is the most popular service and is often busy, far more than Thameslink is, overall it’s not looking good considering this change ignores the fact that there should be more trains from Medway and Gravesend to Abbey Wood for CrossRail, this is all to do with the Lewisham junction which has been fine for ages now, do you have a document or consultation for this?


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