Tory MP celebrates almost complete failure to restore Southeastern cuts by government

A Conservative MP has today celebrated an almost complete failure to reverse service cuts forced through by his own government.

Louie French (MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup) has today put out a story celebrating the restoration of just *two* trains out of many dozens cut in recent years.

He claims that “a year of hard campaigning” and “many meetings with rail bosses” led to the change.

Busy Abbey Wood station as many wait longer for SE trains after service cuts

There will be just one extra morning train – the 06.31 Crayford to Charing Cross – and one rounder train from the Sidcup line which is the 08.04 from Cannon Street to Cannon Street via Greenwich and Sidcup calling all stations except Lewisham. Other changes he mentions are existing trains making an extra stop at Alabny Park during a short morning period or starting slightly earlier.

This would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. Sidcup lost it’s all day two trains per hour rounder services shortly after the Elizabeth line begun hampering links for many to the new service.

Crayford station

At the same time Southeastern – under orders to cut from the Department for Transport who now directly run the company and Treasury who gain all ticket revenue directly – reduced services from Kent to Abbey Wood which again hampered connections.

That left four trains from Kent (two Thameslink and two Southeastern rather than four Southeastern and two Thameslink as before) with extremely uneven spacing, with two trains within three minutes at Abbey Wood for connecting passengers then a 27 minute gap often negating the advantage of Crossrail.

A year on from that change and nothing looks set to alter with the timetable. Here’s trains from Abbey Wood to Kent –

Courtesy realtimetrains. Current timetable is badly thought out

Various other Metro routes saw cuts including two trains per hour along the Bexleyheath line to Charing Cross each hour during the day. That was partially restored to one per hour with no further improvement planned.

Station cuts

Station employees have also not been replaced for some time when departing roles across the network and so there’s chronic short-staffing across the network. Last week up to 90 stations across Southeastern had issues on a given day with most being a lack of staff.

Controversial ticket office closures proposed elsewhere in England have in effect already happened across much of Southeastern by the back door. Yet staff havn’t been moved elsewhere as the Transport Minister claims will happen. At Southeastern there’s simply no staff at many stations all day.

New Eltham station closed on the Sidcup line

As an example today Southeastern state they’ll be no ticket office open at New Cross, Mottingham and New Eltham where the lift is also broken. Ticket machines are broken at Bexley. Lifts are not working at Lewisham.

Even Dartford ticket office will be closed.

Whether disabled or someone needing advice there’s often no one around.

No one around the man ticket gates either. No staff to keep an eye on safety and anti-social behaviour.

And that’s the thing with what the Department for Transport and the Treasury are doing with a rush to cut; cutting off their nose to spite their face.

Ticket office closures have in effect begun on Southeastern some time ago. No staff seen elsewhere

It’s *costs* revenue as it’s pretty much a free railway. Why pay? Most stations have no staff and *all* Metro trains have no passenger-facing staff on board

It reduces safety with no staff at stations so that again puts some off using the network. Couple that with service cuts and either government are actively trying to hamper recovery or havn’t the first clue what they’re doing.

While TfL have taken the approach of restoring services to grow again, which they are with some forms of transport such as the London Overground now at pre-pandemic level of passenger numbers despite the Elizabeth line now running, Southeastern are floundering at the foot of national tables for recovery.

DLR back to 80-90 per cent of pre pandemic levels. SE far below after cuts

Louie French MP doesn’t mention this but instead puts out rather sad press releases showing how ineffective he is in the face of his bosses (hoping poor outlets like the News Shopper copy and paste with no knowledge or scrutiny of the network) yet until he and other Tory MPs actually push for change the network won’t even begin to recover to where it can and should be.





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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.

4 thoughts on “Tory MP celebrates almost complete failure to restore Southeastern cuts by government

  • Embarrassing for local Tory politicians holding this meagre change up as something great.

    Complete paucity of ambition. No wonder those above ignore them

  • Careerists who couldn’t care less for the area they serve. No one who ever uses this service would think this a result.

  • French has always come across as a lackey since being elected. Sucking up to Sunak on the regular.
    Sunak hasn’t a clue of course about a normal 9-5 as he swans around in his helicopter.


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