Thameslink 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.