Southeastern to switch Kent trains to Gravesend from Woolwich line to Bexleyheath line

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.

Thameslink and Southeastern trains at Greenwich station. Removal of SE services there has seen substantial gaps between services

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.

Stone Crossing station could see direct SE link to Abbey Wood removed

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While services were withdrawn, timetables were not altered to mitigate leaving long service intervals.

Demand for Elizabeth line services at Abbey Wood is high

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.

Kent services

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.

Thameslink at Maze HIll
Thameslink at Maze Hill. The station should see better-spaced train from June 2024

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.

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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.

    3 thoughts on “Southeastern to switch Kent trains to Gravesend from Woolwich line to Bexleyheath line

    • As an erith user, I find this incredibly inconvenient since thameslink just rolls right past erith so my 4tph has been reduced to 2. Great work southeastern 🙄

      • Same on Belvedere. It’s ridiculous! And they are supposedly going to build up these areas. More housing less transportation smh. I’m fed up!

        • I live equidistant between Slade Green and Erith stations but I never use Erith station because the service is so poor.

          When commuting to zone 1 I use the 180, 229 or 469 bus to reach the Elizabeth Line because, although the journey time to Abbey Wood is longer, the waiting time is rarely more than 5 minutes. It also means fares are capped at the zones 1-4 rate.

          The trains east of Abbey Wood have gone to shit.


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