Southeastern to restore some off peak Charing Cross trains

Trains to Charing Cross are set to return on the Bexleyheath line during off peak periods from May according to Conservative MP Louie French – though just one per hour.

His announcement this morning partly reverses alterations introduced as part of cuts to save £10 million pushed by his party who run the network from the Department for Transport.

The line retained a choice of terminals during peak periods so whether it makes much difference during busy times when London Bridge overcrowding occurs remains to be seen.

London Bridge

As yet there’s no word on whether trains through Greenwich will be enhanced after Southeastern cut services from four to two trains per hour in December 2022.

Remaining trains run very close to Thameslink trains in effect reducing services from every 10 minutes to every 26 minutes during peak periods. Further down the line at Abbey Wood it also ensures long gaps from those alighting the Elizabeth line to make a connection towards Kent.

New homes rising next to Lewisham station

Another sore point after December’s change was the Sidcup line losing rounder services to Abbey Wood to connect with Crossrail. That doesn’t look like changing.

Further cuts last December saw evening frequencies reduce hampering the night-time central London economy.


If changes are limited only to the off-peak period on one line it’s unlikely to have a great deal of impact on crowing during the peak period, and in particular the evening peak where any external problem sees passenger numbers quickly build up due to more needing to make enforced changes at London Bridge alongside reduced services.

On a wider level there appears little change in demands from the Treasury and Department for Transport who have embarked on cuts nationwide while passenger numbers return.

In London the cuts have also coincided with large-scale housing developments. Some stations will see thousands of residents move into new homes near stations over the summer. Kidbrooke residents moving into this development later this year will benefit from the changes.

Residents set to move in during 2023

Other major developments are underway beside Lewisham station which is another place more now change.

Tower rising beside Lewisham station

But as things stand there’s no improvements to those moving to, say, Deptford. Coming months will see hundreds of homes complete near the station, to give one example.

The next timetable change is to be introduced from 22nd May 2023.

UPDATE: Southeastern have released a press release with no mention of any other changes including at peak times. It also makes it very clear cuts are coming from central government who control the rail company.


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7 thoughts on “Southeastern to restore some off peak Charing Cross trains

  • Welcome but at just one an hour it’s barely worth it. No sign of many of the critical issues being addressed. That’s people having to change at London Bridge after 5pm and wait longer for a train which is causing crowding.

    In terms of housing this is a major problem. Transport for London are closely engaged with housing changes and the entire planning process feeding in throughout. Network Rail and especially Southeastern are not and seem caught unaware of changes along their lines. That needs reform. Property developers are also selling homes based upon links to certain stations and destinations now removed.

  • They need to also restore Charing Cross trains on the Woolwich line too!

  • This is truly welcome, albeit not that significant a change. Will at least give an option now if arrive at the right time! Sincerely hope this includes weekends, which has been a huge list for west end trips. At least this small u-turn also indicates a level of admission from SE that got this wrong. Hopefully with further pressure from all sides this opens the way and sets a precedent for maybe a second hourly service next time round timetables are changed, and changes on other lines to restore chx services. Here’s hoping!

    • I would hope to see evening trains at least from Charing Cross to the Woolwich line resume. Post 10pm there’s little risk of delays at Lewisham due to fewer trains running yet it was massively useful for getting home from the West End. Now it’s a train to London Bridge to change to one from Cannon Street which are reduced in frequency so a long wait can result. At least at Charing Cross we could generally sit in train waiting to get home.

  • Wouldn’t be just to please a Tory MP would it? Funny how they had a news story ready to go.

    Many of the downsides recently have hit areas without Tory MPs while longer distance routes with Tory MPs did well. Now a small change and a Tory MP tries to claim credit when the whole cock up is due to the very same party cutting the rail budget in the first place.

  • I agree. Already seen the Tory spin on the next door app and everyone applauding. It’s almost like people forget it’s this government that took away the services in the first place!

    • Many don’t know that government run Southeastern, and that even they were a franchise Government set fares, what trains run (Southeastern own none and lease them all) and much else besides. The company is a handy middle man to take the blame of decisions coming from Westminster.


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