Loop line Southeastern trains from Sidcup line to Elizabeth line returning – but only in peaks

Loop line trains from the Sidcup line heading round to the Greenwich line calling at Abbey Wood Elizabeth line services are set to return – but only during peak hours.

While welcome news to many hoping to reach the Elizabeth line on Southeastern services, the change is not happening until December 2024.

New homes beside Sidcup station

Loop line services were switched from the Sidcup line to the Eltham line in December 2022 as part of a raft of cuts on rail demanded by the Department for Transport. Southeastern is wholly owned by the DfT and all fare revenue goes to the Treasury.

Those cuts, which saw various services reduced, appear to have hampered recovery. We saw a chicken and egg situation arise with Southeastern – under demands to cut costs from government – stating that improving services couldn’t be done as passenger numbers were lagging, yet passenger numbers appeared to be lagging due to a poor service.

Southeastern lagging

Afterall, while Southeastern Metro’s recovery has been sluggish due to reduced services and cut frequencies, other modes of transport in London not under DfT and Treasury demands bounced back far quicker where services did not see the axe. The Docklands Light Railway and London Overground are two examples.

London Overground was already surpassing pre-pandemic levels by 2023 and the DLR has exceeded recovery forecasts, even though both expected to see a hit due to the Elizabeth line which has also been a great success.

London Overground have recovered strongly as service levels retained

Perhaps belatedly – and because an election is due – the government has realised a slash and burn policy to save in the short-term simply reduced passenger levels and custom over time and makes little financial sense. Let alone the impact to the wider economy.

The starkest examples of that short term policy was cutting trains linking to Abbey Wood mere weeks after full Elizabeth line services to Paddington, Heathrow and Reading commenced from the station.

It seemed pretty clear that people would want to reach Abbey Wood station on Southeastern services either via other Metro lines or from north Kent for onward connection using the Elizabeth line. Instead loop line cuts from the Crayford and Sidcup line were enacted plus some of the longest gaps between services for decades introduced both to and from Dartford.

These forthcoming changes will be welcome though its already clear that certain MPs in the Conservative party are trying to claim credit for the partial restoration of services – when it was their own party demanding Southeastern cut to save small sums.

Abbey Wood an interchange between Southeastern and the Elizabeth line

In reality those cuts were foolish short termism from a government that saved little and hampered recovery.

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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.

3 thoughts on “Loop line Southeastern trains from Sidcup line to Elizabeth line returning – but only in peaks

  • The tories are taking us for mugs. My socials are full of them gloating about their great work on this when it’s their own party that cut them!!! Do they think voters are that thick? It’s not even a full restoration anyway. I can’t stand labour but not voting for a party that think voters have the memory of a goldfish. Jokers. Seen it time and again. Cut back, make stupid decisions, partly restore then try to make out doing a bang up job. What a shame we’re so short of decent parties to vote for.

    • What is it about the main opposition party for 14 years, who haven’t wrecked the number one health service in the world et al,is it you don’t like exactly?

  • They should restore our Charing Cross trains, utterly ridiculous that these services haven’t been brought back yet!


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