TfL plans to swap Victoria service for Phase 2 of East London Line

Yesterday, Transport for London released this media briefing:

TfL examines Thameslink East London Line 2 plan

Phase two of the East London Line extension could be built and financed as part of the Thameslink Programme, according to minutes from a recent Transport for London board meeting.

Senior figures from the Department of Transport and TfL are discussing the possibility of funding ELL phase two as enabling works for the Thameslink scheme in order to mitigate against service difficulties posed by the remodelling of London Bridge station. The situation has arisen following the disclosure by Network Rail that capacity for the current half-hourly stopping service between London Bridge and London Victoria will no longer be available once London Bridge station has been remodelled to provide additional through platforms for Thameslink services. Network Rail has proposed that the current trains could be replaced by a half-hourly Victoria to Bellingham service but this would mean stations between Wandsworth Road and Peckham Rye would lose their rail connection to the City while Queen's Road Peckham and South Bermondsey stations would see a reduction of two trains an hour, directly conflicting with the Mayor of London's aspiration to increase metro service frequencies.

However, TfL argues that bringing forward ELL phase two would provide a better solution. This would see the current London Bridge to Victoria service replaced by four trains an hour running from Clapham Junction and the core ELL route with its connection to the City and Docklands, via stations between Wandsworth Town and Queen's Road Peckham. It also provides an opportunity for TfL to secure the cash it needs for the currently unfunded ELL phase two project. Construction powers have already been secured under the ELL phase one scheme, which is scheduled for completion in June 2010. London Bridge station is due to be rebuilt with additional through platforms by 2015.

So, a direct swap - Victoria service for East London Line 2, which will run from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction, serving the likes of Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill, but not Victoria itself.

Our understanding of this issue is that the extension would cost only £75 million, which is a relative pittance in rail infrastructure terms and it would form the final part of the London Overground loop around London, so it's almost certain to go ahead, one way or another.

2015 is a long way away, but how do you feel about this? If anyone from Forest Hill is reading this - what's your reaction?

53 comments:

Hugh said...

By 2015 I will be dividing my time between Chelsea and St Moritz.

Brockley Nick said...

Your loss!

Anonymous said...

Is this a good thing for brockley or not - i know nothing about the east london line 2. Does this mean we're losing trains or gaining?

Richard Elliot said...

Definitely good news. Integrating Brockley into the Tube / London Overground network will give us all more options and flexibility.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

But can someone clarify, does this mean brockley station will be served by less trains to london bridge?

Maggie said...

I'm completely confused too. Can someone figure out and post exactly what this all means?!

Anonymous said...

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/ell-route-map.pdf

Latest PDF.
Note Crossrail connections added.

Brockley Nick said...

Will it mean fewer trains from and to London Bridge? Yes, I believe so - the elimination of the Victoria service, which is in operation after morning peak time.

Network Rail appear keen to shed services. TfL are suggesting that a possible reduction could be offset by the creation of an extension of the East London Line to Clapham Junction.

Personally, I think ELL2 is a certainty to go ahead anyway, since it would represent the completion of the London Overground loop around London, which is a key part of their future transport strategy. So I'd rather it was acheieved without the loss of Victoria services as London Bridge is a fantastically useful station and any reduction in frequency to that station is a backwards step.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how they can call it 'off setting' when the services don't complement each other. If we lose the London bridge to Victoria via Brockley to get home, we can't then use the new ELL 2 extension????
PJ

deekers said...

in my meagre understanding of all this, I think you will still be able to get to Brockley from Victoria, if you switch to the ELL at Clapham Junction, and again at Surrey Quays? (so, add journey time, hassle etc). If you're going from Victoria to London Bridge, you'd just switch at Clapham Junction.

I don't see why they bother making this stuff public when its almost impossible to understand. A map of all the relevant lines labelled with the frequency of the different services would help so much. But I suppose if they did that, they'd start hearing from people... & that's probably the last thing they want.

Brockley Nick said...

PJ - "offset" was my non-technical term, not theirs. I mean that TfL are arguing this is a way of alleviating pressure on the transport system going west-east on the south side of the river. Really, the main benefit from ELL2 would be for people who want to get from Clapham Junction to the city or Canary Wharf, taking pressure off routes along the district line, for example. It's not much use for people who want to get from Brockley to Victoria (but then, speaking as someone who is going to have to make that journey on a daily basis next year) the current service is pretty useless too, if you have to get to work by 9am. In fact, if anyone has any suggestions about the best way to do that journey (other than cycling) please let me know!

Anonymous said...

sorry nick, I can't help with the Victoria connection (other than to confirm what you doubtless already know: don't attempt to take the bus). However I thought you cyclists might like to know that a scheme called Connect2 has just gotten the go-ahead. It includes provision for improving the pedestrian and cycle route through Bermondsey. See maps here (a close-up of what the project will do):
http://www.southwark.gov.uk/Uploads/FILE_31050.pdf
and here - how the project links with other cycle routes:
http://carbon.sustransconnect2.org.uk/files/projects/15_pdf.pdf

Hope it helps.. not being a cyclist myself, I'm not sure how it will affect routes out of brockley.

Anonymous said...

I used to get the train from Brockley every morning, but it was too stressful, if the train did come on time there were rarely enough carriages. I now walk down to St Johns and get the train to Cannon Street. Easy change for the District line, home to work in just over an hour.

GT said...

Nick, there is a Victoria service from Lewisham (also stopping at Nunhead) which might be useful to you.

Anonymous said...

When the funding for the East London Extension (ELX) was announced 1-2 years ago it was discussed on the SE23.com website.

It was presented as increasing the number of trains serving Forest Hill, Brockley etc. It was omitted that the number of trains to London Bridge would be reduced.

Even Len Duvall was not aware of the proposed reduction.

I think there was some discussion about the length of the trains on the ELX, due to either the length of platforms or the 'flyover' required at New Cross.

Reading recent local newspaper reports there seems to be pressure from residents of South West London for a connection to Canary Wharf, rather than live in South East London.

Anonymous said...

More fool them. By the time 2015 comes around (5 years after the east london line extension phase one - remember this is an awfully long way off) Brockley will be rocking like never before.

Tamsin said...

Remember train companies like long distance commuters - who pay more money. The Forest Hill Society is actively vocal about how much worse the service will be in the future.

The closure of the East London Line and the new services thereafter are an unmitigated disaster for those living in New Cross. Currently New Cross and New Cross Gate are quite well served. The ELL trains start from there so you can get a seat and you can usually squeeze into the trains into London Bridge because of those getting out to move across to the East London Line.
While the ELL is closed those people will obviously stay on to go through to London Bridge rather than getting off to take the alternative (!?!) bus route and the railway companies simply cannot be made to see that this will lead to dangerous overcrowding on the platforms. Until someone is killed or seriously injured it is simply not their problem. They will not even consider re-timetabling the current fast trains that go through half empty to stop (admittedly adding an extra two or three minutes on the journey) to help mitigate these difficulties.

Even after everything re-opens we will have the ELL trains full of those coming in from further out and a reduced service into London Bridge and no direct service into Victoria.

What really galls me is all the transport moguls trying to promote it as a good thing for the area.

The Mole said...

Rail is complex bussiness believe me.

It's not like a buss service where you can play around with the timetable and see how it goes, especially with the old signaling systems. Making existing half full trains stop so 'two or three minutes on the journey' may just not be possible. Some bods in my office have been working on Ken's promise to move ehngineering hours by an hour at the weekends to serve the pub 'n' club crowd. Bet he thought it was a great idea, just shift the clocks by an hour. The signalling Engineers are having a right old chuckle about that one. Some one ought to put a question to the Assembly about how much Ken's manifesto promise actually cost, I would but I'd be sacked!

Regarding TfL using the opportunity to fund ELL phase two out of Network Rail money. That's just the kind of game that has to be played I'm afraid. TfL are funding a whole heap of stuff at the moment, ELL phase two would not be high on their list I should imagine so Network Rail dosh would be a god send.

Bobblekin said...

If you can use either Brockley or St Johns then I think Brockley is a fantastic commuter location for the City and Central London. Quick overland trains that are quite adequate for most trips to town at most times.

We must protect London Bridge, Charing Cross/ Cannon St routes. The Victoria option is only useful in that its an extra train from London Bridge. We don't really "deserve" to be linked to that area and we are not (directly).

Has anyone noticed the reduction in services to St Johns since last weekends timetable change? NOT GOOD.

The ELL extension is interesting as that area (shoreditch etc) is orientated towards licensed trades and artistic & cultural trades. Will people that work in that locale be attracted to our area as commuters? Who knows. But could influence the profile of our area...

What IT IS NOT is a link up with the tube network. It is a lengthy and useless link. I don't use it at teh moment and I'm closish to New Cross. So unlikely to find a use when it goes to Brockley other than a night out in Shoreditch. I'd always use overland late night services to Lewisham from Charing Cross/London Bridge when in those areas.

So we need greater overland services not replacement ELL services!

Monkeyboy said...

I could be wron but I think one of the reasons for the ELL and the 'orbital' overland service is to reduce presure on central london rail hubs for interchanges. We'd all like our local station to go straight to london Bridge/Kings Cross/Victoria/Charing Cross/Liverpool Street/Gard Du Nore but perhaps that's not realistic?

I dunno..??

Anonymous said...

It's not unreasonable for Brockley to want and expect a continued direct service into London Bridge.
A quick commute using London Bridge, is one of the main benefits Brockley offers the young professional. It's kind of the whole point of living in zone 2. You make the trade of living further out in arguably a more salubrious area, despite Brockley's increasing charms for a fast commute.

Anonymous said...

Users of Hither Green station have been discussing the recent timetable changes and the problem of overcrowding. As some of you seem to use St. Johns or Lewisham you may be interested in the reponse from Ian Davies, Southeastern, Customer Relations Advisor part of which I reproduce here....

"Passenger-loading devices are being installed on to all of our newer trains. Also as part of our franchise agreement, by December 2009 passenger-loading devices will be installed on to 25% of the oldest stock that we operate. This equipment aids us to collate data about the number of passengers using particular services. This in turn will enable us to make certain that our services meet the passenger demand adequately.

We will also continue to carry out manual passenger counts on our trains that do not have passenger-loading devices. These passenger counts are carried out in the Autumn when the most amount of passengers are travelling on our services and, are done after the last stop a service makes before reaching London. Once we have the results of our passenger counts any necessary adjustments to the stock formation would be carried
out as required."


http://www.hithergreen.org.uk/forum/phpBB2

Matthew said...

"Adjustments to the stock formation" sounds to me like corporate-speak for cutting off-peak services.

Monkeyboy said...

oooohhh...you're dreadfull cynic. Just means they will adjust the number or carriages.

and the London Bridge thing... The connection is staying, not sure what they're doing with the frequency though.

Anonymous said...

Frequency has a tremendous effect on how you use a service. I lived in Greenwich back before the DLR and Jubilee line extension (DLR used to end at Island Gardens). They cut out some of the trains to London Bridge, but as I remember it, they were always less frequent than the current Brockley-to-LB service. Over time, everyone started depending more and more on the DLR-to-CanaryWharf link onto the tube system -- not because it was a quicker way of getting where you wanted to go, but because it was more regular, dependable, and predictable. I think something similar will happen re: train & ELL use from Brockley. (though there will also be differences to the Greenwich example because the ELL is - as pointed out - an orbital and not a district-to-centre route).

nitoda said...

To brockley nick: to get from Brockley to Victoria I would recommend going to London Bridge, changing there to a service to Waterloo East, then taking the 507 bus which runs from there to Victoria. I do this daily but get off the bus at Lambeth Bridge and it's a fine route.

Transport is a game of strategy said...

Hmmm the laissez-faire attitude at the prospect of a deteriotiing Brockley to London Bridge service is worrying. If the people of Brockley aren't bothered, why should the rail company be. A good (fast), frequent service into London Bridge is essential to Brockley's continued vitality. Any deterioation of the current London Bridge service is a retrograde step inspite of any ELL offerings. It will adversely affect how Brockley is perceived. This area is not some sleepy backwater, where we can be nonchalant about our rail links. There are people here with young families, large mortgages that need to be paid for and much of that relies on getting into jobs in the city. Many of these are (or are married/partnered to) the same people that support the delis, organic food shops that are so loved.

Anonymous said...

Quite: but don't confuse 'laissez-faire' with a very strong feeling that rail passengers have no influence, even collectively. Network Rail is a private entity, not a public body; and it has a complete monopoly. Even if the people of Brockley ARE bothered, Network Rail still won't give a cr*p (pardon my language). They don't respond to customer pressure because we are a captive market. If anyone can suggest otherwise, I'm all ears.....

Hobnob said...

Don't mean to split hairs but Network Rail is a private company entirely owned by the government so it's not the same as British Airways and the like.

Maggie said...

What's a passenger-loading device?? A cattle prod? People hired to push us all on like on the Japanese metro?!

max said...

Nothing so sinister, just a key component of ballistic transportation.

Brockley Jon said...

Tamsin, very good point about the closure of the East London line. So far I had only thought of it as inconveniance in that I couldn't use it as my emergency shuttle when the trains are up the creek, but as you point out, all those people who get off at New Cross will now remain onboard and stop me from getting on. And the trains I get (usually the 8.55 @ NX) is already full to absolute capacity. Time to roll the bike out methinks.

Bobblekin, I would argue a lot of those arty types who work in Shoreditch and surrounds are already living in Brockley/New Cross - that's one of the reasons why we have such a creative little community here.

The ELL extension is far from 'useless' for me. Working in the Old St. area, it means I could have a 5 minute walk at each end, and potentially even get a seat. It also means I can quickly get to Islington and vice-versa, where a lot of my (renting) mates live!

Anonymous said...

In an adjournment debate today Jim Dowd a Lewisham MP has raised the matter of the local train services and reported assurances from Network Rail....

Network Rail has some concerns about a number of factually incorrect comments about the South London RUS which are currently in circulation and which may be causing…unnecessary worry.

Some of the issues which concern us, and which we would like to clarify are as follows:

It is not true to state that ‘the draft RUS would result in a 25 per cent. cut in existing Sydenham Line peak period services to London Bridge. The draft RUS proposals for December 2009 would in fact:

Result in exactly the same number of trains as today from Sydenham/Forest Hill arriving at London Bridge between 0700 and 1000 on weekdays”

and

“Result in an increase from today in the number of trains from Anerley, Penge West, Honor Oak Park and Brockley arriving at London Bridge between 0700 and 1000 on Weekdays”.

It goes on:

“It is not true to state that the draft RUS proposes an even greater cut in off-peak services from Sydenham to London Bridge. The draft RUS makes no comment whatever on the level of off-peak services to London Bridge. It is also not true to state that the draft RUS proposals will result in the loss of the loop line service to Clapham junction and Victoria.”


http://andrewkbrown.wordpress.com/2007/12/19/jim-dowd-on-trains-hospitals-and-email-accounts/#respond

Monkeyboy said...

According to this looks like the Brockley service is safe and may even get longer trains at some point? Don't know about the Victoria service, only tried it once. Better off going via central London from Brockley anyway.

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%20documents/rus%20documents/route%20utilisation%20strategies/south%20london/south%20london%20rus%20faqs.pdf

It's Friday, will be slipping away for a 'meeting' at 3:00.....

Anonymous said...

After doing some investigating I notice there is no contingency to make Brockley an 'access for all' station even with the planned improvements due by 2010. This is an utterly ridiculous decision which effectively bars anyone in a self powered wheelchair from using the service. It's not as if there are even one or two steps to negotiate - it's a stair case! When will someone see sense and put an access point at street level from the west side!!!

Can Dean Walton look at this problem??

Michael.

Monkeyboy said...

Will be part of TfL SFA (Step Free Access) programme I should think. Hate to bring up the spectre of money but not every station in london will be step free, it's simply too expensive. It's an ongoing issue, especially with an ageing population. They may argue that Forrest Hill and New Cross will be step free so the existing bus services can get people to those stations if they need access to the ELL or Network Rail service?

Not ideal I know.

Brockley Nick said...

Thanks Monkeyboy - re proposed train service levels, this is what I have been wrestling with. The document you link to looks very promising for Brockley - more trains as well as the ELL. Of course, that's unless plans change (which some people fear will happen) and of course, this relates to their plans for 2010, not for 2015. The issue for 2015, as I understand it, is that the redevelopment of London Bridge as a result of the Thameslink project will lead to a further reconfiguration of train services and Network Rail want to cut the Victoria loop.

Anonymous said...

There are 71 stations getting revamped to allow for wheelchair users - I struggle to imagine 71 stations across the entire network less accessible to someone in a wheelchair than Brockley.

Plus the issue of west side access - countless times I 've had to direct someone trying to find their way onto a train because of the nonsense way it's been arranged. Who are the fools that designed it?

Monkeyboy said...

This is a Brockley website so obviously we're all keen to improve Brockley assets. But believe me there are LOTS of stations that are far worse than Brockley. Also you have to look at transport as a whole. Not every suburban area has several bus routes joining up adjacent stations. Like I say hardly ideal but we're better off than some of the outlying stations.

Anonymous said...

'hardly ideal' is such a throw away line when the issues don't affect you...

It's simply not good enough.

Monkeyboy said...

Not meant to be throw away. I'm just trying to make the point that the vast majority of stations in london do not offer step free access. There is a programme to improve things, in fact the ELL extension will mean that several more stations are being sorted out. Which station access project would you like to be be stopped in order to allow Brockley to go ahead? I'm sorry but 'it's not good enough' is not an argument even if it does affect you directly.

Michael Abrahams said...

With the ELL extention phase 1 they will be benefits for people in Brockley. My understanding is that the reduction in service for Forst Hill that is discussed in the RUS should not impact Brockley in the same way. At present there are fast trains that miss out HOP and Brockley so the overall effect of trains from Brockley to London Bridge is not likely to be significant. This cannot be said about Forest Hill or Sydenham (although Network Rail did say this in the letter to me quoted by Jim Dowd - see above).

There are two LB to Victoria loop lines. There is one that goes through Brockley and another that goes through Peckham. There has been a campaign to save the service via Peckham, not least because it removes the connection between King College Hospital and Guys Hospital (Denmark Hill to London Bridge).

From Brockley there will be an increased number of trains (on ELL) to Crystal Palace where you can change to Victoria services. It is still unclear whether the off-peak service to Clapham/Victoria will be kept. So it would at first sight appear that Brockley will be better off in 2010 when you have the ELL. However, with less trains running from Forest Hill and Sydenham to London Bridge it is very possible that overcrowding will increase during peak times and Brockley passenger will be forced to use the ELL rather than getting a direct train to London Bridge (it is already very difficult for passengers to get on the trains to London Bridge at Brockley during peak times). I have not done any projections on the exact impact on Brockley passengers, but if I had to guess, I would say it might be marginally positive overall for Brockley passengers (but negative for Forest Hill and Sydenham). Of course many people will be badly affected while others will benefit depending on your destination and travel times.

With phase 2 of ELL trains will run on what I believe is the current Peckham loop to Victoria, but there will be no central London termini. What is a shame is that there are no plans to link the trains at Clapham to services to Victoria or to 'Overground' services to Kensington and Shepards Bush, creating a real orbital tube service (an outer circle line).

Another alternative would be to make the Brockley line continue to Victoria (via FH and Crystal Palace) at peak times rather than building a new railway line for Surrey Canal Road at the cost of £73m just to complete a loop that has no real value to commuters.

What most people in South East London would really like is a connection between the Bakerloo Line and DLR (Elephant to Lewisham via Crofton Park). This would significantly reduce demand to London Bridge by providing a direct route for passengers going to the West End, Paddington, or Canary Wharf. Apparently most if not all of the tunnels and viaducts actually exist already and the Bakerloo line is almost the only one with spare capacity.

Anonymous said...

If most stations don't allow for wheelchairs then that is a truly embarrassing 'fact'. Just because that happens to be the way it is doesn't make it right.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Fine, well then if you can find XXX millions to improve all stations then you have my vote.

Monkeyboy is right, It is simply a numbers game, trying to benefit the many at the cost of a few. Very political indeed, thats why we have a democracy.

Monkeyboy said...

Anon...don't get your point? I work in rail for a company that would actually BUILD the step free schemes. I want them to go ahead, it pays my wages. There are quiet a few happening, including several being up graded on the back of the ELL (yay!!) but not all (booo!). I wasn't being a smart arse when I said which one would you like cancelled to include Brockley. It's exactly the kind of question that has to be addressed.

How about running fewer ELL line trains to pay? or keep the old trains and use the money saved? or leave out Forrest Hill? I could go on.

Anonymous said...

Or reduce the wages of those working on such schems, I'm sure Hugh could negotiate a fair deal. Maybe MonkeyBoy could make a new year resolution to do the work for nothing?

In fact generous local philanthropist Hugh will undoubtly cough up for the work to be done at all stations.

Let's raise a glass to these local heroes and next year using the local fund build a statue to them?

As Hugh tosses another waif on the fire and Monkeyboy roasts his nuts, it brings a warm glow to the streets at this time of goodwill to all.

Monkeyboy said...

A radical but briliant idea! Perhaps the Blue Dandelion could donate some free organic ciabatta to feed me?

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

and me!

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

and me!

Nicola Name said...

It's impossible to understand what they are really trying to do. (Appalling indictment of education if civil servants cannot write better English. Groan)

Anyway, the principle stands: in order to regenerate SE London (one of the Govt's stated aims) transport needs to improve, not just stay neutral with give and take.

Furthermore, what has become the the main road to the Channel Tunnel is ridiculously overcrowded - any plans for a widening scheme?

max said...

Is there a need to widen roads in the South East?
I went to Blue Water on Saturday and although it's Christmas weekend once outside of Lewisham the traffic was flowing both going out and coming back.
An alternative and in my opinion better way to improve on road congestion would be for people to stop buying ridiculously big cars - the road would feel immediately wider.

Aunty Kate said...

Regarding Brockley/Victoria connections...Any update on the BCAG campaign to open up the old "Brockley Lane" platforms on the Lewisham to Victoria line which goes through Brockley on a viaduct?http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/stations/b/brockley_lane/index.shtml

Anonymous said...

And any views on the idea about lobbying Thameslink to add a stop between East Croydon and London Bridge? Thameslink currently misses out a huge swath of SE London. It would make sense for it to stop at one of the ELL stations, which could reduce demand on the already overcrowded London Bridge.

If the stop was to be Brockley, this would also add to the argument to have the High-Level Link reopened, which could then become a great connection point in SE London, opening up surrounding areas such as Nunhead, etc.

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