Timetable changes from 11 December

There are significant changes to the timetable for services from Sevenoaks, Dunton Green and Otford from 11 December. The detailed timetables have been published at https://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/travel-information/live-travel-information/december-timetables and Southeastern kindly gave us a briefing on the concepts behind the new timetable and the main features. We have looked at the timetable in detail and these are our main observations.

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Maidstone East Fast Service: will DfT’s alternative be good enough?

The Department for Transport will shortly propose to local MPs an “alternative” Maidstone East service instead of the through Thameslink service original promised from December 2018. We understand that it will be based on the existing Southeastern peak service that runs about hourly to and from Blackfriars.

Any alternative proposal for the Maidstone East line needs to be tested against the benefits offered to the community by the original proposal that is already over two years overdue.

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Nine days of longer journeys and diversions

Starting this Saturday, 25 July, and for the whole of next week there will be nine days of changed times, longer journeys and diversions to Southeastern services from Sevenoaks.

Basically on the off-peak pattern fast trains on the Ashford/ Ramsgate route will be diverted to Victoria (journey time from Sevenoaks to Victoria around 35-40 minutes) and fast trains on the Tunbridge Wells/Hastings route will go to London Bridge and Charing Cross via New Beckenham (journey time around 35-40 minutes). Times of departure from Sevenoaks have changed a bit, and times of departure from London need to be checked.

Peak hour services appear a bit more complicated and need to be checked.

This is due to a major signalling switch-over at Hither Green. At least it is getting done while fewer people are travelling!