Lack of Southeastern/Thameslink co-ordination adds 26 minutes to Sevenoaks to Maidstone return journeys

The new timetables from 20 May have a serious adverse effect on journey times between Sevenoaks and Maidstone. This is an important journey for those who have to go to our County Town, for instance for jury service or to go to the Kent Council offices. Average weekday round-trip journey times for a return trip are increased by 26 minutes – with the extra time spent waiting on the bleak southbound platform at Otford that has no amenities apart from a basic shelter.

Table: Bat & Ball to Maidstone East via Otford / Maidstone East to Bat & Ball via Otford – typical daytime Monday to Friday journey pattern

Journey Current Timetable New Timetable
Bat & Ball
Maidstone East
d xx.03
a xx.07
d xx.28
a xx.55 (52 minutes)
d xx.55
a xx.59
d xx.30
a xx.57 (62 minutes) (+10)
Bat & Ball
Maidstone East
d xx.33
a xx.37
d xx.56
a xx.18 (45 minutes)
d xx.25
a xx.29
a xx.58
d xx.20 (55 minutes) (+10)
Maidstone East
Bat & Ball
d xx.10
a xx.32
d xx.37
a xx.40 (30 minutes)
d xx.04
a xx.26
d xx.48
a xx.51 (47 minutes) (+17)
Maidstone East
Bat & Ball
d xx.33
a xx.00
d xx.07
a xx.10 (37 minutes)
d xx.29
a xx.56
d xx.18
a xx.21 (52 minutes) (+15)

Source: Southeastern Railway journey planner


The waiting times at Otford are unlikely to encourage people to use rail services for this journey. The worst journey is as follows: –

Bat & Ball to Otford = 4 minutes

Wait for connection at Otford = 31 minutes

Otford to Maidstone East = 27 minutes

A 62 minute journey with 31 minutes spent on Otford station waiting for a connecting service!

The lack of co-ordination between Southeastern and Thameslink is obvious – the trains from Bat & Ball arrive at Otford just before or just after the trains to Maidstone East depart. It seems too much to expect Southeastern to hold their trains for a minute to allow people to cross the footbridge.

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