Southeastern changes: No extra trains on Dartford lines

Last night Southeastern stated they will be running additional trains next week due to numerous problems since a new timetable was introduced in early December.

Today they’ve revealed that two extra services will run – though none on the three Metro lines to Dartford or to Hayes.

The additional trains are the 1736 & 1805 from Cannon Street to Orpington.

They have also mentioned additional carriages though no news on what service as yet. Southeastern have been contacted for comment.

Timetable problems

The new timetable has a number of flaws which I’m continually reminded of. Today was the lopsided services through Abbey Wood linking with the new Elizabeth line.

Consider that the £18 billion new line was built to link to the existing Abbey Wood station for easy connection to existing railway services into Kent, and the recent changes are a tad baffling.

Just one month after full through running begun on the Elizabeth line, Southeastern cut peak services in half through Abbey Wood to Dartford and beyond.

Timetable poor for connecting journeys

The remaining two Southeastern trains are timed to run just three minutes apart from two Thameslink trains. What this means in practice is that when arriving at Abbey Wood on the Elizabeth line and travelling on into Kent, you could be waiting up to 27 minutes.

Reducing services would have less impact if remaining services were evenly spaced rather than bunched.

27 minute gap

So much for extra journey opportunities for residents in Kent opened up by the new line. For time gained on faster services passengers run the risk of long waits for connecting trains.

Four lines running to Abbey Wood. Arriving passengers on Crossrail can face 27 minute wait for next train to Kent. Not Metro standard

Then there was moving the rounder trains from the Sidcup line to the closer Bexleyheath line, when buses are generally quicker from Bexleyheath.

Passenger numbers

Another point revealed yesterday was that evening peak passenger numbers have been higher than Southeastern expected.

This seems odd given that TfL modes of transport in London are around 80 per cent or above compared to 2019.

Tower under construction beside Lewisham station

Why would an urban Metro network serving areas of high population and new housing in SE London lag that far behind?

It couldn’t be said that the Elizabeth line would make that much difference, as the DLR continued to see growth on par with other forms of transport even after it opened.

Anyway, there’s plenty new homes coming around Southeastern stations that should continue to provide passengers, such as Kidbrooke.

New homes beside platform in Kidbrooke


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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 changes: No extra trains on Dartford lines

    • Unbelievable at a time we need an increase in South Eastern services to serve local residents and the large amount of new residents due to move in to the many new developments currently under construction in South East London including at Woolwich, Kidbrooke and Lewisham. Another raw deal when it comes to public transport improvements in South East London.

    • Given Abbey Wood is the only direct station interchange for the whole of Kent between the existing railway and the Elizabeth line who thought it a good idea to have that timetable?

      Perhaps they want to keep the lucrative HS1 crowd in Medway and towns such as Dartford/Northfleet and putting revenue above convenience. But as anyone in Dartford knows, they aren’t doubling back to around Ebbsfleet to then change as time advantage is lost.

      In effect it ensures more people stay on trains to central London to then change forward travel rather than use sparse connections at Abbey Wood which exacerbates the London Bridge issues recently seen.


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