The Passenger's Dilemma

Dean Walton reports that Lewisham Council has "unanimously passed the motion" calling on the Mayor to write to Southern rail, Transport for London and the Secretary of State for Transport to defend stations on the Brockley line from service cuts.

While BC fully supports the campaign and regard the proposed cuts as an unacceptable betrayal of the promises made by TfL and the DfT, it's important to put the cuts in some context and address some of the more outlandish criticisms that have been made. We hesitated to do so, because we don't want to undermine the campaign, but we'd like to try and clear a few things up:

Will this cut the number of trains to London Bridge in the morning peak time?
No. There are no changes planned.

Will the interchange at Canada Water for the ELL be a nightmare?
The only time that Canada Water suffers from overcrowding is in the mornings, on the east bound platforms. Since morning journeys are unaffected, you will still be able to travel to London Bridge in exactly the same way you already do. Or you can try the Canada Water interchange via the ELL, which will be quicker to get to from Brockley and closer to Canary Wharf. Both interchanges are currently problematic in the mornings, but work to increase the capacity of the Jubilee Line (the cause of the current weekend engineering disruptions) should have been completed long-before the ELL starts running.

Overcrowding on peak time trains from London Bridge in the evenings will be even worse as a result of the changes.
It's a definite possibility, but the ELL should take a lot of the strain and the DfT point out that the trains will no longer serve long-distance commuter destinations, so demand will fall in line with capacity. In the longer-term, Southern points out that the trains will be longer, with two more carriages.

Won't somebody think of the house prices?! We're all worse off.
Transport capacity won't be increased as much as we were repeatedly told it would be, but the DfT reasonably points out that the number of morning peak time trains will rise from 16 trains over three hours to 39 trains in the same period, from May 2010 onwards. Off-peak services will rise from 6 trains per hour to 12.

Meanwhile, as we reported here, commuters using the St John's service will benefit from 6 more trains in the rush hour period as a result of a related timetable reshuffle.

One way or another, the area is set to benefit from a massive boost in public transport capacity, even discounting the imminent expansion of the DLR, the improvements at London Bridge Station, the Crossrail interchange at Whitechapel or the (marginal) benefits of the second phase of East London Line.

Who wants to go to Hackney?
If some wally in Hackney was saying the same thing about Brockley we'd all rightly be fuming about it. We're planning a series of articles about all the amazing parts of London the ELL will connect us with directly.

But more importantly, the ELL will provide us with a quicker, more frequent route to the Jubilee Line, putting huge swathes of London - from Canary Wharf to Bond Street within easier reach and connecting us with the rest of the tube system. Not to mention making a journey to places like Crystal Palace, Forest Hill or Honor Oak much easier.

62 comments:

Monkeyboy said...

What about the hoards of East End drug dealers who will be flooding across the river to pump heroin directly into the veins of Goldsmith students? Eh? EH!!??

Brockley Nick said...

I forgot about them.

Matt-Z said...

Surely the good people of hackney will be injecting life into the area, rather than crack?

The Cat Man said...

On that note, my hairdressers (located at London Wall) are opening a boutique salon right next to Hoxton station. I was lucky enough to have a really good conversation about the area - it is indeed, becoming very trendy.

I for one welcome the chance to have a direct route into the city (Shoreditch station is very close to Liverpool St) and to have a direct route to a nice trendy area.

I'm convinced the ELL is a good thing!

Now, who wants to buy my house?

Brockley Nick said...

Do drug dealers use the tube? Not very practical.

Headhunter said...

I wouldn't be fuming if "some wally" from Hackney said they didn't want to come to Brockley, I'd completely understand. Unless you know someone in Brockley or work here, why WOULD someone from Hackney want to come here? To visit the Wickham Arms? To visit the new Browns of Brockley? Brockley Mess? As delightful as these places are, they cater for a local crowd, they're not going to pull "tourists" in from Hackney. And that's completely fine by me.

Cat Man - Shoreditch and Hoxton have been achingly trendy for aaaaages they aren't "becoming" trendy. In fact Time Out said that Shoreditch's star is now waning. Dalston is the new Shoreditch apparently.

The Cat Man said...

I work in finance, I dont get out much.

Brockley Nick said...

@HH - there is no "Hackney" station on the ELL.

Hackney comprises places like Shoreditch, Hoxton, Whitechapel and Stoke Newington, as well as the City fringes. Many of these are areas which, by your own account are "achingly trendy".

But a few people have dismissed it as a place of hoodies and drug dealers - as if Lewisham was immune - which is ignorance of the sort you'd be the first to complain about if it was being directed this way - and rightly so :)

Matt-Z said...

If New Cross is the new Shoreditch, does that make Brockley the new Bethnal Green?

drakefell debaser said...

As much as I enjoy living in Brockley I think the pull of attraction is, for the time being at least, the other way around. I.e. not so much people from Hackney coming here but more us wanting to go to up there.

Ross said...

Can anyone tell me where Haggerston station is going to be, i've googled and googled itbut found nothing

Anonymous said...

Actually, Deptford is the new Dalston. Keep up.

Headhunter said...

And Brockley is the new Deptford?

Matt-Z said...

So Catford's the new Isle of Dogs?

monkeyboy said...

alas croydon will always be croydon.

Lou Baker said...

Sadly Hackney really is a dump.

Stoke Newington and a few bars/restaurants in Hoxton and Shroreditch aside it really has very little to recommend it.

Don't get me wrong - I know Lewisham's no country village. But then I'm not trying to persuade people that Catford's worth visiting ....

Brockley Nick said...

Islington any good for you?

Anonymous said...

Catford has a KFC and a McDonalds, which is more than we can claim to.

Headhunter said...

Woohoo! Dinner party in Catford!

Lou Baker said...

@nick
Islington is okay. But only the Angel end the other end (East London Line end) is mainly tatoo parlours and sex shops.

I will give you Brick Lane and Columbia Rd - two things on the new East London Line worth visiting. (But they were both on the old East London Line too). Sigh.

Brockley Nick said...

But Brockley wasn't

Ross said...

are you kidding? bricklane is absolutely disgusting. probably put it up there with covent garden/leicester square with one of the worst tourist holes in london.

Lou Baker said...

@nick

True. To get to Brick Lane you used to have to change at New Cross Gate. Soon you'll be able to go direct.

We now know the price of that is the loss of all services to Charing Cross and a third fewer trains to the city.

I'd argue that's a very high price for a curry.

Incidentally, I tend to believe that most railway projects are a good thing. My objection to the ELL has always been that I don't believe it represents an improvement. I stand by that more now than ever.

welcome to 2009 said...

The old ell only had about three trains a day.

Anonymous said...

Ironically one of the places you might want to go to In Hackney, the Hackney Empire is going to be closed whilst they find a million quid of something- perhaps they think a really thorough search of the seating might work.

Headhunter said...

Lou - The Highbury & Islington end of Upper Street is NOT all tattoo parlours and sex shops! When was the last ime you were up there? 1985? It may not be as trendy as the Angel end but there are no sex shops or tattoo parlours!! Anyway, the extension to H&I is not due to open til phase 2 is finished is it?

I heard that about the Hackney Empire closing. Such a shame, it was such an amazing effort to get the place up and running again.

Lou Baker said...

@headhunter

The Highbury end of Upper Street is all estate agents. The bottom end of Holloway Rd is all tatoo parlors, sex shops, grotty take aways and discount supermarkets. But at least it's not Dalston.

So okay I'm a snob. But is a direct train line to the King's Road really too much to ask?

Anonymous said...

Lou, it has all the places you mention as well as some great bars and restaurant, food shops and the rest. It's London in all it's eclectic glory. I've a friend who lives in Kentish Town, the locals call it murder mile. And you know what? she lives opposite a great deli, the pub around the corner is funky and rather marvelous and there is a park not far from here.

What exactly does Brockley have? All the above except fewer restaurants and bars.

A great night out for you is the Kings Road? Really? Will two trains less an hour off peak stop you shimmying down the KR in your guchi loafers?

Headhunter said...

Lou - OK Holloway Rd may have sex shops and tattoo parlours, I have never really stopped to have a look along there much, but Upper Street certainly doesn't have any. I've always thought of Holloway Rd as north London's equivalent to Old Kent Rd....

Brockley Nick said...

@Lou - your posts do make it sound like you haven't been "up town" since the 60s.

'Soho? Nothing but strip clubs. Carnaby Street's where it's at - best flared jeans in all of swinging London.'

@HH - re: Holloway Road - v good comparison. re: Highbury, that bit of the line opens in 2011.

Lou Baker said...

Okay - so we know these cuts were decided by the Department for Transport following a consultation with local authorities and passenger groups.

I've now seen the responses to this consultation from Lewisham and London Travelwatch. While both raise concerns NEITHER objected to the cuts.

I've asked London Travelwatch why - no response yet. Perhaps one of the councillors can investigate why Lewisham's initial response was so lame.

Brockley Nick said...

@lou - are you able to send a link or email me the docs please?

Headhunter said...

So far I think I've had response from everyone I have written to - Lord Adonis, Darren Johnson, rail bodies and Southern. One glaring exception is Joan Ruddock. Conspicuous by her silence on this.

She was one of the first people I wrote to and as our MP I would have thought she would have been all over it, yet nothing.... Not even a short response to say "we're on it". Not very impressed... A vote from me in the next elections is slipping away fast....

Lou Baker said...

@nick

Indeed.

This is the DFT's original consultation.
http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/archive/2008/southcentralfranchise/

Lewisham's response is here on pages 41 and 93:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/archive/2008/southcentralfranchise/stakeholderbriefing/annexb.pdf

And this is Travelwatch:
http://www.londontravelwatch.org.uk/document/3462/get

I think what these demonstrate is that those who're supposed to look out for us screwed up. They saw these wonderful plans and missed the tiny detail of cuts to our mainline services.

And, of course, no one bothered to ask us.

Lou Baker said...

@nick

Indeed.

This is the DFT's original consultation.
http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/archive/2008/southcentralfranchise/

Lewisham's response is here on pages 41 and 93:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/archive/2008/southcentralfranchise/stakeholderbriefing/annexb.pdf

And this is Travelwatch:
http://www.londontravelwatch.org.uk/document/3462/get

I think what these demonstrate is that those who're supposed to look out for us screwed up. They saw these wonderful plans and missed the tiny detail of cuts to our mainline services.

And, of course, no one bothered to ask us.

Cheer up Lou. said...

Just got home, bit later than normal. I got off the Jubilee line at LB, made my way up to the mainline station through the throng. 10 mins till the brockley train, no idea which platform etc, etc. Not such a big hassle actually but guess what? next year I'll stay on the Jubilee to Canada water and get the far more often ELL. I suspect there will be little difference in my journey and will be MUCH better late at night when LB seems to descend into chaos.

Anonymous said...

so, the streets of hackney might not be beautiful.. and i'm a proud south-east londoner.. but what do we have on a par with the culture that our friends in the east can offer? the vortex jazz club, cafe oto, bethnall green working men's club.. surely we're doing pretty well out of this?

Anonymous said...

We have relative peace and quiet which many cherish.

Anonymous said...

And all the mung beans one can eat

Monkeyboy said...

"We have relative peace and quiet which many cherish."

so you want FEWER links to the rest of London? I don't.

Anonymous said...

For those of you that think it's hilarious to continually put 'mung bean' in every post: No-one thinks you're funny apart from the three or four losers who constantly do it. It was never funny and it certainly doesn't display any wit or intelligence on your part. Mind you, it's probably people like you that said "WAZZZUP!" five years after the original advert to the constant dismay of your irritated work colleagues. Grow up.

Lou Baker said...

@ cheer up lou

You can indeed go to Canada Water instead. It'll take you an extra 6 minutes on the Jubilee Line and when you get there you could have to wait 7-and-a-half minutes for the not as frequent as you think East London Line.

So it'll actually take you around 3.5 minutes each way longer than it does now.

Doesn't sound like long? 7 minutes a day, 35 mins a week, that's a day a year extra commuting.

You might be happy spending that amount of extra time with your nose stuck in the armpit of a minging stranger but I'd rather spend it at home with my little girl.

Monkeyboy said...

3.5 mins each way..... takes at least that to schlep up from the Jubilee line to the LB mainline so my original point stands. Of course late at night the more frequent ELL service is a real boon.

And as for adding up all your little 3.5 mins to 35 mins a week? that is as a specious argument.

Helping you understand said...

People want more links to CENTRAL London by rail. We are losing some of these links to enable us to be connected to parts of East London.

Someone suggested this is a good deal because East London has more cultural offerings such as working mens clubs. Yes we probably can't compete on that roof, but what we do have is relative peace and quiet.

Tamsin said...

@ Cheer up Lou - precisely, who wants to be changing at London Bridge in the evenings - or even the steely new Canada Water - which is why the quite unecessary loss of the direct link to Charing Cross is so regrettable.

In defence of Joan Ruddock - it was she who pulled together meetings when the ELL closure was first propounded (with the totally inadequate temporary substitute services) and when the Sydenham and Forest Hill lot Cassandra-like tried to wake people up to the long-term implications - just the main players like the railway providers refused to come along. She has been trying very hard and for a long time on our behalf on these and other transport issues in her constituency (like Surrey Canal Road station).

Danja said...

Mind you, it's probably people like you that said "WAZZZUP!" five years after the original advert to the constant dismay of your irritated work colleagues.

And now "simples".

Headhunter said...

God, I hate those ads with a passion. TV ads are patronisingly awful at the best of times, but that just takes the biscuit.

Why have TV ads taken such a turn for the worst? There used to be some really good ones when I was a kid in the 80s - Hamlet Cigars, Heineken ads... I can't think of a single ad these days that makes me think "now that's clever".

Brockley Nick said...

Increasingly, ads are made to be seen across multiple international markets and on multiple formats, so there are fewer ads that trade on wit and more that trade on striking visuals - eg: Sony Bravia ads.

Whether that is "worse" is a matter of opinion, I guess. But my friend made the Meerkat ad, so I'll pass on your thoughts.

M said...

The ad itself is fine - it's the people that constantly quote it that are the problem!
Exactly the same as the posters with their endless mung bean comments on here - I can just picture their little self-satisfied snorts of 'Aren't I hilarious" every time they do it.

I always loved the Fast Show "I'm a alien" sketch that took the piss out of that type.

Anonymous said...

The increase in BBC quality output has meant that you don't have to watch channels with adverts if you don't want to.

Remember when ITV used to have Spitting Image on it? When was the last time ITV had something on it that made you laugh?

Can you imagine QI on ITV?

Headhunter said...

Sorry, Nick, but tell him I hate it. With a passion. As soon as I see it I switch to another channel.

I know hat you mean about ads being used across several international markets. You can see from many ads that they were not filmed in the UK simply from the street furniture, style of homes and really clumsy lip synch/dubbing. And it seems that increasingly women's make up and shampoo ads are made ibn the US and imported straight over here without any attempt to anglicise them.

All I can say is thank god for hard drive recorders that allow you to flick past the ads at the press of a button. My Humax recorder has a specific "ad break skip" button.

Headhunter said...

"The increase in BBC quality output" - Eh? Only if you like drivelly soap operas, dumbed down "documentaries" and quiz shows! I do appreciate that the BBC probably still makes the best TV in the UK, but it is not of the same quality that it used to be (IMO).

Brockley Nick said...

Bring back Noel's House Party and The Black and White Minstrel show, eh?

Headhunter said...

Exactly! Sensible television for sensible people.

No, but seriously, I don't think that BBC output has improved, it may not be their fault with their funding falling but I suppose the world of television has changed somewhat. I for one though hope they keep the license fee and publicly funded TV.

Nick - do you think that BBC TV compares favourably now to how it was in the 80s or 90s?

Brockley Nick said...

I haven't totted up all the good programmes from the 80s and 90s and stacked them up against the shows from this decade, but my guess is that the quality is about the same - only with far superior production values.

The quantity of output is hugely increased, which means that individual tastes are better catered for.

Last night, I watched the brilliant Gameswipe, by Charlie Brooker, on BBC4. I can't imagine where a show like that would have fitted in the glory days of the 80s and 90s.

drakefell debaser said...

I think the meerkat concept is very clever and love it or hate it, most of us know about it so it is very successful.

I actually detest comparison website ads, actually all insurance adverts are annoying particularly the ones involving Michael Winner. The meerkat is different in that the focus is more on the 2 daft meerkats and insurance takes a back seat.

I see insurance companies are now advertising the fact that they are not on the comparison sites anyway so who knows where the future lies. At one point I was expecting the launch of a comparison website to compare comparison websites.

Headhunter said...

DD - Actually you're right about comparison website ads. I actually think I find the confused.com one even worse - sooooo patronising. They show it as though it has been filmed You Tube stylee - to get in wiv da yoof, showing these people who were oh so confused by the complicated world of contents insurance but then ta da! A light at the end of the tunnel - confused.com! It's all touchy feely with little pencil drawn figures coming to life etc. My god (retch)....

Nick - Perhaps you're right. I probably don't watch enough TV. I just remember loving the period dramas they used to show that you just don't see much of anymore. Also documentaries are often more dumbed down, at least it seems to me. Panorama for example used to be pretty hard hitting, and it still is, sometimes, but often it just seems to address non-issues.

I love those Sherlock Holmes dramas with Jeremy Brett (RIP), Poirot with David Suchet (which they have recsiscitated and I'm still not sure about) and also Joan Hickson (RIP) as Miss Marple. Brett, Hickson and Suchet do the quintessential versions of their character IMO, untouchable by anyone else. They show Holmes and Poirot on ITV3 now...

M said...

HH, all those are ITV productions!

BBC not as good as it was eh?
;-)

Headhunter said...

Poirot and Sherlock Holmes were, Joan Hickson in Miss Marple was BBC though...

drakefell debaser said...

HH, I was going to mention confused dot com because I too find it extremely patronising but I couldn't remember the name of the site.

M said...

Hickson's Marple was, yes. Apologies.

Lots of good stuff on the Beeb though - you just have to hunt a bit harder than you used to as it's all spread over so many more channels.

fabhat said...

The confused.com adverts probably are just shot by people in their living room. A friend who runs an actors agency says she now gets calls from ad agencies asking for actors to film testimonials and send them in, for which they'll pay £150 rather than shooting an ad and paying the equity rates.

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