For the last two Sundays all Charing Cross-bound trains have been diverted to Cannon Street because of engineering works. That happens on 5 of the next 7 Sundays as well, and will keep happening as the London Bridge rebuilding proceeds. However, through a lack of joined-up thinking and passenger focus by Southeastern and Transport for London, no arrangements have been made to open the Cannon Street Underground station.
For passengers wishing to travel to Charing Cross Southeastern provide a shuttle train from Cannon Street to Charing Cross every 15 minutes. That’s less convenient than the Underground to Embankment – a tube train passes Cannon Street every 5 minutes or less.
What’s more, for passengers want to get somewhere else on the Underground – such as the museums in South Kensington – having to wait for the shuttle train adds up to 15 minutes each way to the journey unnecessarily.
As often in today’s railways, it appears that this is a matter of “who pays”. When we asked Southeastern, they told us that they have asked TfL to open the station – and to allow Southeastern ticket holders to use tubes and buses. But Southeastern want the Department for Transport to pay TfL the extra costs of doing so.
This is even though that, with the Underground station open, Southeastern should be able to save the costs of the shuttle train and of keeping Charing Cross and Waterloo East railway stations open. We do not know the figures, but it is hard to believe that opening Cannon Street Underground takes as many staff as keeping Charing Cross railway station open.
In addition it’s not clear why the question of “who pays” for the consequences of London Bridge rebuilding has not been sorted out before the work starts.
Meanwhile it is the passengers who suffer.