Lewisham station may see changes according to Southeastern

Lewisham station may see alterations including ticket gates moved according to Southeastern.

Answers given to a Lewisham Council committee set to meet this week see the Department for Transport-owned company state:

We are working with the DLR to move the gate line on Platform 1 into the concourse area next to the main entrance to improve passenger flow and reduce crowding around the current gates on Platform 1

Lewisham skyline around station

This comes as station is in the midst of large-scale developments on all sides.

One recent tower included provision for a new station entrance built as part of a major development beside Platform 1 but has not opened. The wording of Southeastern’s statement suggest it will continue to go un-utilised.

Towers to left included station entrance in design. Never opened

On the other side of the station, an entrance to platform 4 was closed in the 2010s and never reopened.

Permanently closed

In response in a document before next week’s meeting, it’s claimed that private land at the base of the ramp prevents ticket gates and there’s no consideration mentioned of any at the top.

Now that same area has Lewisham’s tallest tower almost complete alongside smaller-scale blocks.

New tower beside platform 4. Mid rise block seen alongside. Entrance to station beside this site remains shut

A short distance away hundreds more homes have been built with hundreds more now under construction as two estates have been redeveloped.

Courtesy Google. Latter phase of redevelopment now underway

Compounding that it was recently announced that the Tesco supermarket will be rebuilt as a mixed-use development.

Open barriers at Lewisham

Southeastern and Network Rail state some smaller-scale tinkering may occur but will not be opening these entrances and exits – or building a new one beside platform 4 and new housing.

We are submitting a bid under the forthcoming National Rail Recovery Fund to relocate staff offices and accommodation to create new space for enhanced passenger facilities, including new toilets, climate-controlled waiting rooms, and retail facilities whilst improving passenger flows in and around Platforms 2 and 3 and the subway leading to Platforms 1 and 4.

Substantial change would mention a new bridge or opening a new entrance. None of that is here. Toilets? Waiting rooms with climate control? Nice, but not the biggest issues by some way.

Lewisham station’s narrow subways

Changes require Network Rail to fund and Southeastern to staff. With government cuts to rail, serving major areas of housing, employment and leisure growth is proving difficult.

The station’s cramped subway is hardly going to be expanded given how expensive and disruptive that would be.

Lewisham Gateway opening this autumn beside station

More shops are hardly important. Lewisham Gateway is opening next to the station this autumn and includes a new Sainsbury’s.

It also sees a new cinema that could have widespread appeal for people who may arrive by train.

Southeastern struggling

Passenger numbers across the country were released last week covering January to March 2023 which saw Southeastern floundering with worse recovery than most other Train Operating Companies and sitting second bottom in the UK.

They’re also languishing far behind TfL modes of rail such as London Overground (88 per cent versus 62 per cent for SE compared to 2019 passengers numbers), DLR (now at 92 per cent) and the tube (between 80-90 per cent) despite Elizabeth line services now in operation.

Unfortunately it doesn’t break down data by SE Metro serving areas of major growth and long distance routes to Kent.

New builds seen from Lewisham station. Towers on right included station entrance that hasn’t opened

Enforced cuts to services from government, barely (or unstaffed) stations and failing to cater towards new residents at major new developments across the network all appear to be hampering recovery. SE Metro though also has no staff on trains in addition to many stations.

Each day dozens of station lack staffing which was listed on their website until last week.

Open gates at Lewisham station

As predicted, Southeastern have now stopped listing staff shortages on their website thus passengers will now not know in advance if ticket offices or staffing is available.

In recent weeks, to give a comparable to other areas, one of the country’s newest stations opened in Reading. It only sees three-carriage trains every 30 minutes but is staffed with ticket gates.

Tower under construction beside Lewisham station (City Beam train can be seen)

In Southeastern-land, places like Kidbrooke is one of London’s major areas of housing growth – though Southeastern don’t seem to realise. Or rather the DfT won’t allow them to hire staff for the station.

Over 5,000 homes being built around the station yet it’s frequently unstaffed with ticket gates removed from the plan post-approval.

Homes around Kidbrooke station two stops along from Lewisham. Tickets gates plan removed before opening

It’s also telling that a number of questions about Lewisham and other stations put before Southeastern and Network Rail go unanswered at the Lewisham Council meeting to be held this week.

In particular is an extract (question 6) and then the lack of an answer:

Two costly feasibility studies have been undertaken (in 2017 and 2022) on user trends and options for a major upgrade of Lewisham station, but neither has been made public or acted on

To which there is no response.

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Lewisham station may see changes according to Southeastern

  • It’s pretty crazy how network rail and south-eastern aren’t keeping up with changes around stations though its nothing new. It seems to limp on and has for many years now long before the covid related issues. If I understand correctly this still just see people still funnelled to the same area at the front of the station rather than use land elsewhere for new access points to disperse passengers. People in the new towers next to platform 3/4 will have to walk all around to the station entrance to join the queues.

    Same at platform 1. It’s maddening as when leaving the train there’s a staircase/lift down and it’d really not be hard to link that to the new tower which has a station entrance/exit apparently contained within. Instead passengers must walk all the way around. This all creates a congestion point at the station entrance.

    What it needs is entrances either side and a pedestrian bridge. We know there’s plenty more towers going up in future in Lewisham as already being planned! The retail park and shopping centre to name but two. Still no long term thinking. Blaming covid etc is a handy excuse as there’s been little station planning for many years and its been getting worse for many years.

    Reply
  • I think SE and NR are being somewhat disingenuous about it not being possible to open P4 entrance that was closed. What they mean is it requires some modest investment.

    At the top of the ramp there DOES appear space for ticket gates as it’s the widest part of the platform. Even if they don’t want to staff it all the time they could use CCTV and do things remotely and help people when needed. That does however require paying for staff…but given it’d make life easier for thousands of people both existing residents and new people moving in then is surely worth it?

    As things stand its as though they’ve given up and actively pushing people to use the DLR! Odd that this government who hate TfL are working to make their own service worse and drive passengers away. Don’t the Tories believe in competition?

    Reply
  • Perhaps though I’m not sure narrowing the platform is wise as its busy with people changing from DLR to rail.

    With Tesco set for a rebuild I’d imagine talks between the developer and Lewisham Council will be underway now or soon. That’s the time for SE and NR to feed into discussions to seek some related funding for improvement work before any S106 is signed. Ideally this would have happened years ago firstly when the estate rebuilds begun increasing homes from 500 to 1,200 or when the tower started, but there’s still plenty more coming.

    Question is, given how poor SE and NR were at engaging with planning process long before covid, after cuts do they have any ability or input?

    Reply
  • Owned by the Govt
    You wanted it

    Reply
  • That’s irrelevant. All TOCs now tow the government line. SE always needed subsidy whether private or public so was hit hard by Covid, and the govt won’t give it any more. Hence they are forcing it to cut costs instead by slashing staff to the bone and reducing the number of services running. The govt isn’t interested in public transport, and certainly not a loss making railway that has no prospect of bringing in revenue for the treasury.

    Reply
    • Isn’t a major issue that HS1 has such high rail access fees it acts as a drag on all other services?

      Reply
  • It’s more than 5000 homes either complete or being built around Kidbrooke station. That’s just the Berkeley Kidbrooke Village site. Beyond that is another 1,500+ at sites with different land owners

    Reply
  • Something should be done about the scary gaps on platforms 2 and 3.

    Reply

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