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.
They have also mentioned additional carriages though no news on what service as yet. Southeastern have been contacted for comment.
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.
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.
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.
Then there was moving the rounder trains from the Sidcup line to the closer Bexleyheath line, when buses are generally quicker from Bexleyheath.
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.
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.