SRTA comments on Southeastern December 2019 timetable

The SRTA has been reviewing Southeastern’s proposals for changes to the December 2019 timetable.

We welcome the agreement to assist with connections at Swanley for Darenth Valley line users. That’s how a joined-up railway should work.

However, SRTA has a significant concern with one of the proposed timetable changes. This concerns the change to the stopping services, 1726 from Charing Cross and 1739 from Cannon Street. It appears to us that the proposal totally ignores the interests of the large number of passengers who travel from Cannon Street to Chelsfield and beyond.

Our concern is that, in order to maintain their present service, passengers using the current 1739 Cannon Street service will be forced to change trains once to reach Chelsfield and twice for stations beyond Chelsfield. We believe that the current number of passengers travelling on this service beyond Orpington is around 250-300, approximately half alighting at Chelsfield and the remainder continuing towards Sevenoaks.

As we see it, the proposal is neutral for Charing Cross passengers who would continue to have their existing same platform connection at Chelsfield for stations to Sevenoaks. However for the Cannon Street passengers many will face two changes. It is proposed that they catch their existing 1739 from Cannon Street to London Bridge, where they have 10 minutes to change to join the regularly “full and standing” 1744 from Charing Cross to Chelsfield, where they have a same platform change to the 1726 from Charing Cross all stations to Sevenoaks.

It seems to us that:

  • Imposing two changes in place of a through service for up to 200 passengers imposes an unreasonable burden on them and especially any with accessibility issues
  • Having up to an additional 300 passengers changing trains at London Bridge in the peak of the evening rush hour is highly undesirable for all station users
  • Adding up to 300 passengers to the 1744 semi-fast to Tunbridge Wells is either highly undesirable or physically impossible
  • Breaking the clockface pattern of peak time services by switching one service from Cannon Street to Charing Cross is contrary to good railway practice as promoted by the DfT and is unjustified except in exceptional circumstances for which Southeastern have not made a case.

More generally, we were once again disappointed at the lack of any material change to mainline services to reduce journey times or increase capacity.


SRTA comments on Southeastern December 2019 timetable — 11 Comments

  1. Is the proposed timetable effectively confirmation that the maidstone East to cambridge thameslink upgrade is not going ahead again (following previous delays)?

  2. The 1744 would have more space if they removed the ridiculous 1st class sections. There is no need for such segregation on a semi fast commuter service travelling such a short distance. I took this train yesterday from London Bridge and it’s not just the train that’s full. There’s no room on the platforms. So overcrowded yesterday.

  3. On Maidstone East service there appears to be a delay beyond December 2019. A new depot is required at Ashford. The story as of January 2019 can be read at
    SRTA has been told there is a delay in buying back the land previously sold off by Network Rail!
    SRTA have been seeking a meeting with Thameslink about what is happening. So far GTR have not come back with a date.

  4. The new franchise, pushed back to April 2020 by DfT, requires First class to be abolished.

  5. Retime the 17:22 from Victoria to Ashford so that it arrives at Otford after the 17:59 Sevenoaks to Blackfriars service to give me an alternative to the 17:38 Blackfriars to Ashford service. At the moment the train from Victoria arrives at the same time – it only needs to be 2 or 3 minutes later at Otford for the connection to work.

  6. Retime trains to provide better connections at Otford for passengers travelling from Sevenoaks and Bat & Ball heading for destinations between Otford and Ashford International via Maidstone East. A half an hour wait at Otford for a connecting service is quite common.

  7. Latest position on the proposed Thameslink Maidstone East to Cambs service here. In short, nothing before May 2020 at the earliest, and even then, a single service going in either direction morning & afternoon.

    There is a silver lining in the news somewhere, but right now I’m struggling to tell the difference between silver & grey.

  8. What was Southeastern’s response to our concerns re. the removal of the 1739 Cannon St service ?

  9. SER said they considered our submission but felt on balance that they would implement their change and monitor what happened.

  10. I asked one of the managers about this at the Meet the Managers event week before last. He couldn’t help me and, in the absence of the ‘Timetable Manager’, took my details to get somebody to get back to me.

    I haven’t heard anything so have chased this up via the new WhatsApp service – which is probably worth a post in its own right, guys :).

  11. An unsurprising response below. Was there really no protest from Cannon St travellers about this ?

    “ Thank you for attending our Meet the Manager session at London Cannon Street recently. I’ve been passed on your email by our Social Media team, and they have asked if I can look into your comments further.

    I understand you spoke to one of our Senior Mangers about the 17:41 service from London Cannon Street to Sevenoaks, which has been removed from our timetable.

    Having liaised with our Timetable Specification Manager, Stuart, I’ve been advised that this would be the previous timetabled 17:39 Cannon Street service, which ran to Sevenoaks until December, but now terminates at Orpington. This service is replaced by 17:26 Charing Cross to Orpington service which now extends to Sevenoaks instead.

    We know how important it is to capture the views of passengers and stakeholders across our network, so ahead of every timetable change (bi-annually), we consult with our stakeholders and passengers for their feedback on what we had proposed, to ensure that the revisions we make to our timetable deliver continued improvements.

    The proposals we put forward provide new benefits for our passengers in a number of areas: shorter journey times on many Highspeed services; shorter journey times on many Mainline services and; more efficient planning of our train timetable to increase reliability.

    That said, proposals for 17:39 service were included in our Public Consultation for December 2019 timetable change and was done to improve the efficiency, reliability and performance of services during peak time.

    More information can be found on our December 2019 Timetable report, which you can download by visiting the link below.

    Thank you again for taking the time to stop and speak to us. I hope the above information helps answer your query, but please do let me know if I can be of any further assistance.”

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