South London Line back from the brink

Aspiring LibDem MP for Lewisham Deptford Tam Langley has updated her blog with the latest correspondence from London Rail about the prospects for the South London Line. It's a long letter, but in essence it says that the line (which would serve Crofton Park) could be back on the cards - which is a good deal more encouraging than TfL's verdict that there was no practical or economic case for the line.

Here are the key passages:

Given the volume of requests to consider direct links to London Bridge, it has been agreed that TfL will undertake some further work to review the feasibility of retaining the South London Line (one of the long-listed options) with Network Rail and DfT, before completing the scoring and short-listing process.

In light of the additional time it will take to complete this work, we are now proposing to hold the first meeting on 24 November (as opposed to October as stated in our initial letter). We will report back on the outcome of the above work at this meeting.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

A direct service to and from Charing Cross is also wanted, if it can't be done in the week, then at least the weekend.

Crofton Park Ranger said...

I live within 1 minute's walk of Crofton Park but hardly ever use it because of the infrequent service and lack of off peak.

Not holding my breath but it would be fantastic if this got off the ground...

Anonymous said...

I had to Google this to find out what the South London Line is (and according to Wikipedia there is an inner and outer South London Line, of which this is the outer one, and the one that goes via Brockley is the inner one). I know we are all supposed to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the transport issues in this area but sometimes a few clues are helpful!

I gather this line would go from Bellingham to Victoria via Crofton Park.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:South_london_line_future.png

Anonymous said...

(from the anon@18.55)

I've now clicked on the link to the blog and it says Victoria to Bellingham, but the email she attaches doesn't appear to refer to that line at all, but to links into London Bridge?

My head hurts - please can someone explain?

Thanks :-)

Lou Baker said...

There are two south London loop lines.

They both go from London Bridge to Victoria.

The inner one goes via Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill and that's the one which will close to make way for the Thameslink upgrade.

Part of it will be replaced by the East London Line extension but, crucially, that will leave some stations without any direct trains to central London. Others will have 4 fewer central London bound trains each hour.

A new service connecting Bellingham to Victoria via Crofton Park was proposed to mitigate this but this plan was axed in a very dodgy deal between TFL, the DFT and the Mayor.

The outer south London line is the one which goes via Brockley and, I believe, is completely unaffected by any of this or by the East London Line extension which opens next year.

Phew.

Steve said...

good explanation!

Greg Watts said...

This is good news. The South London Line is a valuable link and needs to be saved.

Hugh said...

While we're on the subject, could someone remind me of the point of the ELL extension?

Headhunter said...

The point of the ELL in a nutshell seems to have been to allow a rail company (Southern) to axe inner London services probably ultimately in order to save money to pay larger dividends and bonuses to its shareholders and board members by running more expensive routes from Kent into central London, which people living out in Kent pay 4 figure annual sums for.

Brockley Nick said...

Dear me... what a fatuous comment.

Lou Baker said...

@headhunter.

Well said.

There is another point to the ELL though. To provide the people of Hackney with a railway - which they genuinely need.

Headhunter said...

Sorry Nick, but I'm jaded about the ELL, the gloss has gone for me. We were told a year ago that there would be no cuts to central London services, yet it appears that all along they knew there would be in a cosy little deal with central government. The ELL was supposed to be a supplement to existing services, not an excuse to go on a spree with an axe...

Matt-Z said...

"an excuse to go on a spree with an axe"

That's a bit dramatic.

Headhunter said...

Perhaps but there seem to be a lot of service reductions going on at the moment on train lines in the south east. It wouldn't bother me so much that Brockers London links had been reduced if New Cross, St Johns, Blackheath, Lewisham and Deptford Br weren't affected, but all seem to have been slashed and we get.... a line to Hackney in return. Hallelujah!

Brockley Nick said...

If what you said was true, you'd have just disproved your own point - those routes aren't benefitting from the ELL, so the cuts would be completely unrelated - in which case we should be grateful that the ELL is helping to offset our losses.

However, lucky for us, you're wrong - the service frequencies from most of those stations are going up, not down.

Whilst I agree that the proposed service reductions (a reduction of 2 per hour in the evening) are unacceptable (and can hopefully be reversed) your points are pure hyperbole.

Lou Baker said...

@ headhunter

Not only that but South Eastern commuters in this part of London get the added benefit of paying MORE for their tickets from Jan 2nd.

They're pretty much the only train company allowed to increase fares because of the 'benefits' of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Which, of course, comes nowhere near us and doesn't benefit us at all.

Anonymous said...

I think HH is more on the money than others. People who seem to be unthinking ELL cheerleaders. We're on the tube map yeah! As if that is what public transport is about, PR for areas.

The ELL is great as an ADDITION to existing fairly good service we had into CENTRAL London.

Brockley Nick said...

I think you mean:

The ELL is great as an ADDITION to existing fairly good service we HAVE into CENTRAL London.

Anonymous said...

Could somebody please remind me what the frequency of services will be once the Ell is up and running? Ta.

Headhunter said...

Nick - Are you sure that services to other stations are increasing? All I've heard on this and other blogs is about reductions in services to New Cross (as discussed before, in the past 8 or 9 years NC and NC Gate have already seen large reductions), Deptford Br, Lewisham and Blackheath. Less sure about St Johns. Where do you get increases from? The ELL into Hackney is useful as an addition to our existing services but hardly "offsets" losses to all these stations to any great degree.

The plain truth is that Brockley at least is losing a third of its offpeak services and a direct link to Charing X. That ain't hyperbole!

Hopefully this can be reversed, however currently all the responses I've had to emails to Lord Adonis, BoZo, etc etc have come back with more or less the same resopnse - pathways through London Br are now too busy and you'll have to lump it.

Brockley Nick said...

Blackheath is losing out, but frequencies from Lewisham, New Cross, St Johns and - I think -Deptford are increasing. Check out the timetables, which we've linked to on the site before (search for the word "Javelin").

It is true that there will be fewer direct services to Charing X as a proportion of the total routes, but frequencies are increasing overall.

Of course people focus on the negatives.

Anonymous said...

what ARE the frequencies of the ELL?

ELL is great, yeah! said...

Don't be negative people. Believe the hype!

Brockley Nick said...

8 tph in each direction from Brockley. 12tph through the central part.

I heart Crofton Park said...

I really hope they instantiate 4 trains an hour from Crofton park.

Kings cross in 25 mins, Victoria in 17 - is about as good as it gets outside zone 1.

Its just the infrequency that is the killer - those 1 half hour waits on a cold platform after closing time can be very sobering...

Anonymous said...

HH - how are they cutting rail services through Deptford Bridge?
Plus, Lewisham and Depftord Bridge will be benefiting from the improved DLR service.

I'm surprised by the depth of feeling for the loss of the off-peak direct service from Charing X (is changing onto the very frequent services from LB to CX that much of an inconvenience?)

M said...

Morning peak trains to LB and Cannon Street from Ladywell are also increasing from next month.

Brockley Nick said...

Good point!

Headhunter said...

I admit I may be wrong about frequencies to New Cross etc, if it's true that frequencies to New Cross and NC Gate are increasing then I'm happier, however I'm sure I read on this and other blogs about cuts to these stations.

Personally I am most interested in what happens to off peak services as that's the only time I use the trains, usually returning from a few drinks in central London at weekends or evenings.

Ladywell isn't much use to people in north Brockley/New Cross/St Johns, it's a good 20+ minute walk away, which is nice on a sunny day, but not at night after a skinful at 11.45pm.

I'm sorry but I'm just not entirely convinced...

Anonymous said...

Bring on the South London Line!!

pedant said...

@I heart Crofton Park:

In·stan·ti·ate:

to represent (an abstraction) by a concrete instance

Heroes instantiate ideals — W. J. Bennett

Anonymous said...

and your point is peado?

Anonymous said...

An intellectual challenge for some but you will be able to get on one of the frequent ELL trains and...now concentrate here... change at Canada Water into central London. No more running for a train at London Bridge at 23:30, missing it and having to wait 20 mins for the next one with only a slowly cooling pasty for company.

Those round circle on the Tube map even illustrate where you can change. Clever eh?

Headhunter said...

Yes, yes, yes anon, thanks for the sarcasm but we've already talked through all that. Keep up.

Brockley Nick said...

@hh - talked it through and then ignored it! The cooling pasty scenario is one I am very familiar with and not to be dismissed so airily!

Anonymous said...

Hey! the cooling pasty scenario is one that I am familiar with too. I'm beginning to think I'm not that unique. I'm a Large Traditional kind of guy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post about frequencies. Every 7.5 minutes works for me. Better than the bloody Hammersmith and City Line (that I often get) - it's not uncommon that I'm waiting up to 11 minutes for my train.

Headhunter said...

Well as long as you're all happy to be stood with a cooling pasty at Canada Water waiting to change rather than getting a direct train from London Bridge then fine.

TBH I don't usually wait for Brockley trains, I get the 1st one going to either St Johns, New Cross or Brockley, usually I find there's 1 to 1 of those destinantions leaving immenently. St Johns and New Cross stations are only 10 mins walk from Manor Ave. This is why I am interested to know if Southern is cutting (or increasing?) off peak services to those stations too. Off peak is what matters to me, I couldn't give a monkeys about peak time trains.

Personally I prefer to go a couple of stops from London Bridge rather than hiking out almost to Canary Wharf 1st before changing trains.

I'm sometimes a large traditional but sometimes I go for a lamb pasty to mix it up a bit. Those pasties are always waaaaay to hot when you 1st get them anyway, they need time to cool if you're not going to take the lining out of your mouth with the 1st bite.

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