Thrills, chills & bellyaches

A well-insulated group of locals gathered at Brockley Station this morning to promote the ongoing campaign against cuts to Brockley's train services, by handing out leaflets produced by the Forest Hill Society and others*.

With the cross-party support of local politicians, the Forest Hill and Sydenham Societies have been running a campaign against proposed cuts to the service on one of Southern's busiest passenger routes. They have written to the Minister of Transport, both privately and in an open letter, requesting a meeting to discuss their concerns, and over 1,500 people have already signed the petition.

All the civic societies along the line are leafletting their local stations this week to urge people to take action. Brockley volunteers along with the Forest Hill and Sydenham Societies handed out thousands of leaflets today and HOPRA and the Telegraph Hill Society will leaflet Honor Oak Park and New Cross Gate tomorrow.

The changes:
*** In December, Southern Railways plans to cease service into Charing Cross station, terminating all services at London Bridge. Southern have tried to smuggle this change in without any announcement; there is nothing on their website regarding this change in service despite the fact that they claim to have consulted widely in their official submission to ORR, the rail regulator. This off-peak service on one of south London's busiest lines has significant demand and there was supposed to be further investigation before the service to Charing Cross was altered.

*** As if this wasn't bad enough, Southern Railways plan to reduce the number of trains which serve the Sydenham line in the afternoon and off-peak by making the Caterham and Sutton trains fast to Norwood Junction.
This means that the number of trains will be reduced from six trains an hour to four trains an hour once the East London Line starts operation in May 2010.

*** The third threat to our services comes from the possible re-instatement of the South London Line service from Victoria to either Bellingham or London Bridge.
One of the options currently being considered by TfL and Passenger Focus is to cancel our loop service from London Bridge to Victoria via Crystal Palace and replace it with one via Peckham Rye instead.

The vast majority of commuters gave the campaign a warm welcome, with around 70-80% of people taking the leaflets. Those listening to headphones were, perhaps unsurprisingly, by far the least interested. After a couple of hours, fingers and feet were definitely feeling the chill - but in all that time, only one person stepped up to bellyache against the campaign.

If you haven't done so, please sign the online petition here.

* = Brockley Society was invited to participate but has not responded due to the lack of a chair, according to campaign organisers.

PS. Thanks to Paul for the pic.


maxink said...

I still can't understand how a Victoria to Bellingham service would in any way pose a threat to the Victoria to London Bridge by Crystal Palace.

Can anyone explain it please?

Clare said...

I don't think these things can be "snuck out". The TOCs have to consult on route/timetable changes and will have done so on these. They will only provide the service DfT require them to. One of the joys of privatisation sadly.

I remember a similar situation with proposed changes to a route through Blackheath that was proposed to switch to Sidcup. Enough people complained at consultation stage so it was stopped. It's pretty hard to do much about it once the consultation is closed and the timetable agreed.

Isn't a possibility to use the new ELL and changing onto the tube at Canada Water?

Brockley Nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
maxink said...

Thanks Nick, that's what I understood too, it's fear, but then any service becomes fair game unless it's yours.

It's obviously a very dodgy consultation process and I think that people should speak as one voice for the best service across South London.

Brockley Nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beecroftian said...

Re. the third proposed change:

I may have got confused here but is the Victoria-Bellingham route the one that is also being scrapped serving Crofton Park? (and also being campaigned to be saved by some Lib Dems?)

Brockley Nick said...

Worth reiterating that the second change planned is only in the evening, but well done for forest hill / sydenham societies for taking such a strong lead.

Max - it needn't, I guess - the new services could come at the expense of another line, but following this recent betrayal, people's fear that reinstating the Sll could come at the cost of another local service is understandable.

Andy Endwell said...

I quite enjoyed this morning despite the cold, it was very amusing as "stop train cuts" degenerated to "slashed trains" and "cut trains". I hope our efforts this morning will, at least, propel a few more signatures to the pettition. Thanks for the picture Slasher, two lovely ladies and one bald git!!

Paul Bell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Bell said...

It was a very funny start to the day...much better than my normal 7am start!

Rob said...

One of the first few to pass by this morning, i turned the corner from crossing the bridge to the new station entrance to be greeted with three pieces of paper in my face.

A very valid discussion point but to be greeted with 'we're going to get a few of those today' as i declined unknown content of the zealous paper waving clearly wasn't a well thought out approach.

Headhunter said...

Peak trains to Blackheath to be axed. How long before peak trains in Brockley are cut?

Brockley Nick said...

Old story hh, we have already covered the fact that blackheath is losing out while other stations like st john's get increases. Search "javelin"

Brockley Nick said...

Indeed, your comments litter that very thread! ;)

Headhunter said...

Oh... My comments litter every thread here but I can barely remember what I've written from one day to the next...

Matt-Z said...

Nice work with the title. I suppose if the services are cut everyone will have to step on.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why so many posts have been removed by their authors? ?

Anonymous said...

Agree with the campaign, apart from the third so-called threat. The possibility of extra trains at Crofton Park is welcome as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

I can remember when ST Johns was like a ghost station,and the guy selling tickets just used to read the Bible all day.

barry milton said...

Both the reinstatement of the south London line and a new line from Bellingham to Victoria will threaten our existing loop line to Victoria. The loop line also carries our services into London Bridge, so losing the loop will be a double whammy.

As Clare says, once the RUS is settled, and all the goodies have been handed out, asking for entirely new lines (as opposed to alerations in the timetable as per our campaign) will result in very significant cuts elsewhere.

Can someone in Brockley please have a word with Tam Langley and ask her to stop supporting either of these dangerous propositions please?

Barry Milton, Sydenham Society

barry milton said...

Maxlink says that "people should speak as one voice for the best service across south London".

Campaigners in Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill don't care if they get the SLL or the proposed new line from Bellingham to Victoria - they win either way.

So are the supporters of these two campaigns "talking with one voice" and taking our views into account? Far from it. They realised many moons ago that axing our loop line was necessary for their loop line to go ahead.

Here's part of the (totally astonishing)evidence they placed before TfL and Network Rail during the RUS. Anyone who seriously believes that the "inner loop" campaign offers no threat to us or "we should be talking with one voice" should read every word of the statement below carefully:

“The London Bridge-Crystal Palace-Victoria service is an inefficient use of resources, as it runs via stations already very well served by other lines and does not carry many people from (say) Clapham Junction or Balham to London Bridge. We do not see the rationale for this service at all. ….. As such we can keep 2 trains per hour SLL service to London Bridge in return for withdrawing the Crystal Palace service.”

They are very, very clear about their objectives - and we should be as well.

Don't underestimate this group who are well connected and well organised. Currently they are organising a "Victorian Day" at local stations in early December as part of their campaign and looking for a "local celebrity" such as Jo Brand to help front their protests.

We must ensure that we and our local politicians simply do not support either of these campaigns which will decimate our local services.

maxink said...

Ok, they fight their corner just as you do, so they'll copy your comment and use it on their comment boards, and then?

As you see they're not taking the axing of their line sitting still, so what's in your interest? Giving them a reason to fight for the axing of your line altogether or supporting an acceptable compromise for all.
If they get the ELL to go East and the Victoria to Bellingham to go West they'll be happy, if they don't they'll fight on.

Anonymous said...


There are far fewer from Bellingham/Catford/Crofton Park then there are from Brockley/Sydenham (even with the proposed Southern timetable cuts)

The people along the Catford loop line have every right to fight for more services.

Tamsin said...

Having been dishing out leaflets at New Cross Gate this morning I felt the frustration of being cut dead by or turned down by people whose train services I was giving up my time to try to protect.

Having three people on the duty seems overkill but is actually a good idea. It might look like three bits of paper being waved in your face, but this morning we did try not pursue those who already had one or who had definitively rejected one, and quite a few, having turned down the first offer then picked one from the next leaflet waver as it percolated through what we were on about.

The difficulty is those with ear-plugs who don't hear what we are saying and, understandably, those who are fed up with leaflets on everything from acupuncture to earning £100s in your spare time being thrust upon them. What we tried to do to counter this was to have a few blown up A3 size sellotaped (appropriately enough) to litter bins on the approach so there was a chance of people having some idea of what it is about.

The worry is that although the issues have been discussed on these blogs and forums for ages most of the travelling public haven't a clue of what is going to happen.

Hugh said...

Soz luv I was chillin to me toons yeh.

Headhunter said...

Don't call Tamsin "luv", Cat Man caused a huge amount of hand wringing and soul searching here by calling someone "honey" a while back....

I must admit, I would probably have been one of those people who would have delined a leaflet unless I had been aware of what it was about. I decided a while back never to take leaflets from anyone in the street, just walking from my office to get lunch you can end up with a fistful of leaflets about cheap sandwiches at Subway, cheap international phone companies or some new local dry cleaning shop. Then there's the constant hounding by charity muggers trying to get you to sign up for a direct debit. It's no wonder people switch off sometimes...

Anonymous said...

The lady who was handing out the petition flyers at New Cross Gate last night, had to compete with our favourite travelcard tout and the reggae tunes eminating from his small stereo.

Not an easy, or fun job, so whomever that lady is who was working so hard handing out flyers to the tired New Cross commuters, I have to commend your efforts!

Tamsin said...

Oh, thank you Anon. Like George Washington I want to admit that it was I.

Actually, it was quite fun seeing how the travel card touts operate (and with only about half a dozen sales in the one and a half hours I was there they barely clear the minimum wage). The reggae tunes were hardly audible and he also had the courtesy to shift his operations back a bit to leave me free to pounce on the punters without mercy or other distractions as they emerged from the station.

Also had a chat with the lad busking with spoons. He comes from up north and finds the licensing system for buskers in London understandable but hard to break into. He normally plays a guitar but if he tried that would be always asked to move on so the spoons were a fall back. He was a dab-hand at it, really cheered me up. (And in the hour that he was playing he did not, as far as I saw make a penny.)

junkman said...

Train services in South London are undergoing major disruption due to ongoing engineering works to upgrade the facilities after years of under investment.

These include rebuilding London Bridge (changing the number of platforms from 6 through / 9 terminating to 9 through / 6 terminating), widening the viaduct to Charing Cross (I believe), Thameslink and Crossrail.

As a result, some changes have to be made and a lot of people are going to be very unhappy.

The changes this Decemeber are a result of the changes due to the introduction of SouthEastern's Javelin service along the new high speed line. They were supposed to lose capacity at Charing Cross, but somehow managed to convince the DfT to give them exclusive use instead (after the RUS was completed). Since their franchise was let first, we have been cheated.

The rebuilding of London Bridge will require the reduction of some services as the project progresses. The SLL is one of the least utilised services, being formed of partially used 4 coach trains. This is why it is being cut; there are fewer slots and they need to get as many full 12 coach trains into (and out of) London Bridge as they can in order to meet demand.

If the SLL is reinstated to London Bridge, then another train needs to be cut. It's that simple. The options being considered are listed on LondonReconnections and one of the options is to cut the London Bridge - Victoria service via Crystal Palace. How real this threat is depends on the scoring given by TfL/Travelwatch.

Support your services - Sign the petition

Tamsin said...

The argument that nothing can be done because the franchise to South Eastern was let without fully considering the effect on Southern is just an excuse. Both companies are fully owned subsidiaries of Govia - things can, and should, be renegotiated.

If there is capacity in the morning rush-hour there should be the same physical capacity later. So, again, excuses.

Paul Bell said...

Tamsin's comment hits the nail on the head!

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