Thameslink launch consultation on 2018 timetable

geograph-1888302-by-pam-frayThameslink have launched a consultation on their 2018 timetable, including the Bat & Ball service and the new service to Maidstone East.

It’s open for 12 weeks until 8 December. There’s a 71-page consultation document and an 87-question survey. It’s good to see Thameslink giving so much detail, an explanation of their thinking, and some open questions on which they genuinely seem to want our views.

We’ll be studying the document carefully and responding fully. However on a first read key points we noted included:

The new service from Maidstone East to London and on to Cambridge

  • Two trains an hour each way from Maidstone East to London Bridge  during the peaks and the day Monday to Friday.
  • Four morning peak trains will run from Ashford and Bearsted to London via Maidstone East, and two evening peak trains will run beyond Maidstone East to Bearstead and Ashford.
  • Only one train an hour each way in the evenings. (Comment: disappointing.) Three of these trains to Maidstone East will extend to Bearsted and Ashford.
  • Two trains an hour each from Maidstone East to London Bridge during Saturday daytime, but only one train an hour each way in the evening.
  • No Sunday service between Maidstone East and London Bridge.
  • Trains will serve Swanley or St Mary Cray, but not both due to insufficient time. Views are sought on which option should be chosen.
  • Other stops at St Pancras, Farringdon, City Thameslink, Blackfriars, London Bridge, (St Mary Cray or Swanley), Otford, Borough Green, West Malling, Maidstone East, Bearsted and Ashford only.

Bat & Ball service

  • Two trains an hour each way from Sevenoaks via Bat & Ball to Blackfriars all day Monday to Sunday. (Comment: this is a slight reduction in the number of peak hour trains.).
  • Calling at Sevenoaks, Bat & Ball, Otford, Shoreham, Eynsford, Swanley, St Mary Cray, Bickley, Bromley South, and then stopping on the Catford Loop to Peckham Rye, Denmark Hill, Elephant & Castle and Blackfriars.
  • Direct trains only go beyond Blackfriars in the Monday to Friday peaks to City Thameslink, Farringdon and St Pancras. (Comment: disappointing – means no daytime direct trains Sevenoaks to St Pancras for Eurostar or the North.)

New Orpington service

  • Two trains a hour from Orpington to Kentish Town via the Catford Loop and Blackfriars all day Monday to Saturday.
  • No service on Sundays.

We would be interested to hear views of travellers not only from the Sevenoaks and Borough Green areas but also from Malling and Maidstone and from other areas. Please let us know what you think.


Thameslink launch consultation on 2018 timetable — 3 Comments

  1. Once again Swanley commuters look like being short-changed by fewer stopping services to the City, due to ineffective lobbying on behalf of their constituents by West Kent councillors, to the benefit of high-speed services in East Kent.

  2. @alan

    It’s certainly important that every level of elected official lobbies to protect the Swanley stops – Michael Fallon, Sevenoaks District Council, Kent County Council and Swanley Town Council.

  3. As a Swanley commuter I welcome your proposals for a new all day service from Maidstone East to London, planned from 2018, semi-fast from Maidstone East, via Otford, Swanley and Blackfriars, then on to Cambridge.

    This service, which will provide both additional capacity and new transport links, is important. By linking up with Crossrail at Farringdon it will give much better access across London. But to help regular travellers from Swanley – which is a large town in North West Kent – it really ought to a twice-hourly service. The service as proposed in your consultation stops twice an hour at Borough Green and Otford, which are much smaller population centres than Swanley.

    Swanley has a good service to Victoria, but fast trains to the City – and access to Docklands – are less good. This needs to be addressed, as many London jobs are moving east – thanks to the regeneration work in Docklands, and the deliberate policy of the GLA to enlarge the traditional employment areas of London. People in Swanley who work in key industries in our capital need at least as good access to London as those in Sevenoaks.

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