The very last rush hour to see trains from Charing Cross along the Woolwich line is now underway, with all trains on the line set to only serve Cannon Street from Monday.
After much controversy a new timetable is set to begin this coming Monday 12th December.
The current Charing Cross to Dartford trains via Lewisham run every 30 minutes in the peak period slotting between those from Cannon Street and Thameslink. Southeastern state a desire to reduce cross-overs in Lewisham lay behind the change.
Another change from Monday is the reduction of peak hour trains on the lines leaving sizable service gaps, including 21 minutes through Greenwich and 24 minutes at stations such as Erith further towards Kent, which Thameslink do not serve.
Removing those services is a separate issue as they already ran from Cannon Street.
Removed trains are the 16:43, 17:34, 18:04, 18:34 and 19:04 from Cannon Street leaving certain stations on the Greenwich and Woolwich line to lack a turn up and go service pattern.
Not great for areas such as Greenwich that have a major university nearby, major centres of employment and tourist custom alongside a rising local population.
Southeastern state a reduction in peak time passenger numbers lay behind service cuts, though other forms of urban transport such as the tube and DLR are showing far better levels of passenger growth.
That leaves the question of why Southeastern Metro failing to match growth in other forms of transport in London, and do these changes ensure a spiral of decline?
The Elizabeth line should explain reductions in passenger numbers in the Woolwich line, but for most passengers past Woolwich it’s less convenient. It’s also debateable whether that justifies such long service peak time service gaps regardless.
Southeastern also claim other Metro lines are struggling to regain custom despite serving areas of major growth such as Kidbrooke and Lewisham.
Does a generally neglected Metro network, minimal staffing and poor quality trains help explain it?
The 24 minute service gap to stations such as Erith from Monday also ensures those who depart the Elizabeth line at Abbey Wood could face a lengthy wait for connecting trains.
These changes are hardly entice people to use or return to rail. Increase service gaps and yet more people turn away, leading to calls from the Treasury, Department for Transport and Southeastern for further cuts down the line.
Other major changes include the rounder services from the Sidcup line being change to the Bexleyheath line, severing connection to Abbey Wood for the Elizabeth line for some.