Rail passengers in south London only found out today that they will bear the brunt of service cutbacks, when Govia Thameslink Railway published revised timetables on its website this morning.
The timetable changes apply from Monday, and the worst affected are routes into London Bridge.
A railway passenger watchdog described the service cuts as “disappointing”.
GTR says that the reduced services are because of “duplication with TfL”.
The Tulse Hill corridor through Peckham Rye is reduced to half-hourly and only from Selhurst and Streatham into London Bridge, with services from Beckenham Junction via Crystal Palace withdrawn, and the Tattenham Corner and Caterham via East Croydon service cut back to only run from Selhurst. This is in addition to the already withdrawn extra peak hour services to and from the Wimbledon loop and Epsom.
Similarly the London Bridge to Victoria via Sydenham, Crystal Palace and Balham is also now non-existent.
There is also a reduction in Thameslink trains of one train an hour between Peterborough and Horsham.
London TravelWatch director Emma Gibson said: “It is disappointing to hear that those in south London will bear the brunt of rail service cuts on GTR from Monday, particularly those travelling into London Bridge, with many services reduced to every half-hour.
“People living in south London get a really raw deal when it comes to public transport links and we are pleased to see Transport for London say today that they want to work with the government to improve National Rail in South London. It can’t come a moment too soon.”
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From being a daily Coulsdon to London Bridger paying a significant amount per week for many decades in employment, to ( in retirement) a regular freebie-loving-Over-60’s Oyster pass-user (a frequent flyer to London Bridge / Victoria/ St Pancraser), I am now a zero-user. But am looking forward to being a very regular Freedom Passer-after-vaccination-er when the Covid tide has retreated down the beach.
I can’t blame the railways for cuttting back services if passenger numbers have slumped, but it is important that the key passenger needs are not buried : the needs and isues are not just frequency, but also connectivity, hubs (allowing easy changes from one line to another) , minimising the need for changing trains, and for a reasonable journey time and even-ness (no big gaps in the service times|). These need to be kept very much in mind.
My guess is that the art and science of devising sensible railway timetables is one of the most testing of all human tasks. I hope that with Covid, the best timetable devisig brains have not been made redundant. I wonder if there is a College of Timetablers?
One of the good things of the 2 decades 1995-2015 was the sharing of the lines from West Croydon going Northwards to London with the “Overground” , making service frequencies from places like Anerley to New Cross Gate more frequent. Stations which were in the doldrums in the 1960’s and 70’s seem to have had a new lease of life, with young people eager to live in South London, and commute to such places as trendifying East London and Canary Wharf.
Thameslink, allowing effortless access for Croydonites up to London and Bedford / Peterbrough/ Cambridge , and down South to Brighton, is a truly fantastic thing, as is the reward of Operation London Bridge, after years of agony.
Problems that remain are the absence of a quick link between East and West Croydon, means that the bleak Norwood Junction station remains the inconvenient place where people have to change trains between the Brighton line and the Sutton line, and where passengers from East Croydon have to change and wait for a train up the hill to Crystal Palace and West Norwood.
It will never happen, but it would be great to have an underground metro to link East and West Croydon Stations, with a stop for the Whitgift Centre. How about extending it to Streatham via Broad Green, Croydon University Hospital, and all points north ?
With the rise in the Elephant and Castle as a residential area, which will no doubt soon become a leisure hotspot, as it was before WW2, it would be great to have a regular direct service from East Croydon that actually stops at Elephant. In fact, the time taken to travel by train from central Croydon to the whole area of South London to the North of Crodon , between the E Croydon- Victoria and the E Croydon – London Bridge lines, (Crystal Place, Upper Norwood, West Norwood, Camberwell and Peckham area) is ridiculously long. A slow boat to and from “South London between the Lines) would be far better than having no service, which happens or doesn’t happen at present for much of the day .
We in the Croydion area are inheritors of the public transport decisions , and indeed, their creation of an amazing infrastructure of stations, lines, bridges, embankments and cuttings, of our Victorian predecessors, focused on the termini of Victoria and London Bridge.
We are also inheritors of an ancient, Celtic, Roman and Saxon road sytem based on spokes of a cartwheel, which meet at the Elephant and Castle, and Stockwell.
In the post war years up to the 1980’s, it seemed that the trains were routed and scheduled to get the daily London commuter from Croydon / Surrey / Sussex up to London very fast, but at the cost of connectivity within South London .
Connectivity has improved, but I hope that, in the past Covid decade, many more trains can be routed to “South London between the Lines” from East Croydon.
That means more capacity at East Croydon, and the widening of the Windmill Bridge.
I still think we need a South London Underground to link a half-circle of centres from Lewisham and Catford to Croydon and Sutton, and Kingston. This would provide a rim to link the spokes of the cartwheel. But that is probably 60 years away. Until then, we will continue to be dominated by the Romano-Celtic cart wheel effect.
OK, as this is South London / Croydon, more like a Chariot wheel with a revolving knife blade at the hub. What ever. It limps along without a rim. Not bad for a 2000 year old rimless wheel, but a rim would be useful now..
The person who schedules and plans the routes is an idiot. The only way to get to West Norwood from London Bridge is now to go to Tulse hill…and walk or get the bus but if you are a parent or wheelchair bound then you have the problem that there’s no wheelchair access at this station. (despite thames link constantly gloating about how they accommodate differently abled passengers on linkedIn. *slow clap*