Southeastern are set to make changes to services next year which will impact users of the Woolwich and Bexleyheath lines plus those in Kent.
Further details of changes for Southeastern services are coming to light after comments from the company’s Managing Director that from June 2024 Southeastern trains on the Woolwich line will only run as far as Dartford while those on the Bexleyheath line from Victoria will run past Dartford towards Gravesend.
The rationale is to more evenly space trains on the Woolwich line where service changes last year led to uneven spacing and long gaps which will benefit passengers and those heading to and from the Elizabeth line at Dartford.
Thameslink services will remain and thus services from north west Kent from stations beyond Dartford to Abbey Wood and connecting with the Elizabeth line will reduce from four to two if additional services are not added.
Those wanting to reach Abbey Wood can either take the twice hourly Thameslink or make a – hopefully decent – connection at Dartford.
Cuts last year
Cuts to services last December resulted in long gaps in services along the Woolwich line and from stations in Kent to Abbey Wood.
While services were withdrawn, timetables were not altered to mitigate leaving long service intervals.
Changes to timetables take a substantial period of time to draw up and implement. The complex process is normally required in tandem with other operators given how services are interlinked.
It appeared to be a quickly introduced cut at the behest of the Department for Transport who own Southeastern with timetables not altered in advance.
If stations in Kent do see services switched from heading to Abbey Wood and instead go towards the Bexleyheath line they will lack connections on Southeastern towards the Elizabeth line however do gain a service to Victoria.
To reach Abbey Wood the twice an hour Thameslink service will be it, though as stated given how both are currently spaced perhaps not the biggest change.
However it does raise the question of whether in time four evenly spaced trains per hour from stations such as Dartford, Stone Crossing, Swanscombe, Greenhithe and Northfleet directly connecting to Abbey Wood would be introduced in time.
That’s for another time but there’s plenty of homes now being built between Dartford and Gravesend. A post on those new developments soon.