A recent Lewisham Council meeting has revealed that Transport for London are considering running London Overground trains into London Bridge.
A recent meeting of the authority’s Transport Committee saw operators answer various questions.
In response to overcrowding on the line through Brockley after Southern cut services in half at the behest of the DfT, TfL stated they are considering:
“Operating additional services during peak periods between Crystal Palace and London Bridge, replacing capacity on this routing that has been lost following the reduction to Southern services”.
The other option was for additional London Overground services along their core route in the area.
Both have challenges. TfL warn running more services on their existing could hamper reliability.
They also state that running to London Bridge would “necessitate significant changes to operational arrangements and driver training. Further work is therefore required to establish the feasibility and business case for this change”.
Therefore don’t get too excited but it does highlight opposite approaches from rail companies under the control of central government and TfL.
TfL v DfT
In their response to reducing peak time trains from four to two per hour, Southern state “Our approach is to create the best fit of services to demand by making the most efficient use of the resources and the funding available to us, with the London Victoria to London Bridge service designed to provide capacity for journeys to both stations”. They finish with “We will continue to keep passenger use and feedback under review, but increasing the services from two trains per hour to four trains per hour would require an increase in funding.”
In other words, government need to approve and they won’t.
Various forms of TfL rail transport have achieved far better growth than national rail in London such as Southeastern and Southern.
There’s little apparent aspiration from central government to grow passenger numbers with a vicious circle evident. Cut services so people won’t use it, then use that to justify a lack of improvements.
Compare that to TfL’s approach which was to restore services to pre-pandemic norms, which in turn has seen passenger numbers grow with the London Overground now above 2019 levels over recent months.