BCer William says this is a pivotal moment for Crofton Park transport and wants residents to join his campaigning group. He writes:
The Department for Transport is inviting tenders for the biggest rail franchise in Europe. This franchise will include provisions of trains from Crofton Park station. We are within sight of a world-class system but currently Crofton Park gets a terrible deal - amongst the worst in London, considerably worse than what was delivered in 1950s Britain and on par with Edwardian era provision.
Our group is fighting for a fair deal in the new franchise specification, with the support of Lewisham Council, local MPs, local GLA members and TfL. More information on our website: www.cptug.org
BCer William says this is a pivotal moment for Crofton Park transport and wants residents to join his campaigning group. He writes:
Following Patrick's article about the future of Crofton Park trains, following the Thameslink construction, another BCer, David, did some further digging and has been able to confirm that Crofton Park services will return to a similar pattern to the one they enjoyed before works began. He says:
I emailed Thameslink and have just got a relatively detailed reply about exactly what will happen to the Crofton Park line. I thought it may be of interest for the site. Fundamentally trains to Blackfriars will resume in May, but they will not run the line through the Thameslink core (though presumably we will be able to change on to the other lines at Blackfriars so it is hardly a disaster.
Regarding evening and weekend services between Crofton Park and Sevenoaks: the Service Development Planner has confirmed that currently this is one of those services which falls into a gap between two operators.
The existing weekday joint services between Sevenoaks and Kentish Town etc. will be maintained in the May 2012 timetable. In addition Southeastern will run some later services to and from Sevenoaks and Blackfriars.
These are late evening services, which currently originate or terminate at Victoria because there is no access to Blackfriars due to engineering works. At weekends from May, Southeastern will revert their current London - Sevenoaks via Catford service to originate or terminate at Blackfriars instead of Victoria.
As these are purely Southeastern services, they do not appear as part of our Thameslink project publicity, which is concerned with the First Capital Connect Thameslink route. First Capital Connect certainly, and we believe Southeastern, have both looked at extending the through services to include weekends, but we were not able to make a commercially viable business case, and I suspect that Southeastern were not able to either.
The new station entrance on the north bank will open on 12 December, with the first ever 12-car trains on the Thameslink route calling at Blackfriars on the same date. A new look London Underground station will open in February 2012, followed by a further two new national rail platforms in May.
Blackfriars Underground station, currently being completely rebuilt to provide space for more passengers and better access between Tube and rail services, had been scheduled to open at the end of December this year. Owing to complexities encountered by Network Rail during the construction and fit out of the new station, the reopening will now take place on Sunday 26 February 2012.
The overall Blackfriars project remains on track to be delivered in summer 2012, and work has been scheduled so that passengers begin to benefit from new facilities this December while work continues behind the scenes.
The Crofton Park Transport User's Group is a new organisation that campaigns for better local transport options. The group has decided that their greatest priority should be to address the risible service of two trains per hour to Crofton Park at off-peak times and they believe a window of opportunity has opened for them.
Building.co.uk has a detailed feature [including this video] about progress on the redevelopment of Blackfriars Station, due to be ready for passengers in spring 2012. The article is timed to coincide with last week's opening of the station's new platforms.
A key station for Crofton Park commuters, it will be the first to span the Thames, with entrances on both banks and is being built as part of the wider Thameslink investment programme.
[Full disclosure: the construction company leading the project, Balfour Beatty is a client of Brockley Nick's employers]
853blog reports that thanks to the New Year price hikes, Southeastern services are now the most expensive in London:
As passionate advocates of the Greater Brockley theory of local diplomacy, we consider it our mission to break down the artificial boundaries, imposed on us by “the man" to keep us down. SE4 is a small green planet drifting in the cold, uncaring universe of Greater London. We must stick together.
So when we read a discussion between readers about the Crofton Park assembly rejecting a funding application for the Brockley MAX on the basis that it was a Brockley event, rather than a Crofton Park event, we realised we’d ignored Crofton Park politics for too long. Happily, local Councillor Jackie Addison (Lab) agreed to an interview about the ward. For the record, it should be noted that this interview took place some time before the election was called. It's only our own sloppiness that's caused the delay.
What is the biggest challenge facing the ward?
Social cohesion. We lack a sense of identity as a ward. We cover a few different areas and straddle both SE4 and SE23. The local Assembly has been a great way to build a collective identity, not just through the debates, but as a way to link local groups that didn’t talk before. Here’s an example: there’s now a youth club that will rotate between local venues, including St Hilda’s and The Pen, starting in the autumn and running every fortnight. That kind of co-operation didn’t happen before.
And what’s the best thing about Crofton Park?
There are lots of homes with gardens and no large estates, which has helped to create a good racial and class mix. It’s also the safest ward in Lewisham and there were no burglaries at all this January. We have a very active Safer Neighbourhoods team, who’ve played an important part in that story.
Crofton Park Ward has arguably the two most successful high streets in the borough in the shape of the Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park parades. What’s their secret?
Honor Oak Park has not always been so successful. There is a new landlord, London and District Housing that is more progressive. The Forest Hill Centre manager has been working hard to improve things too. The changes to parking rules (more short-term parking) have certainly been important and we’re going to extend the zone to include the stretch by the Chandos.
In both parades, the flower baskets and planters have proved very popular and we’re improving recycling to cut the amount of rubbish left out on the street. I’ve been campaigning to stop the Co-Op leaving its trolleys out on the street, which has now finally happened.
Going forward, I hope that we will be able to raise more sponsorship of the planting schemes by local businesses, who recognise the advantages it brings them. I also want to encourage more businesses to become fully accessible.
What ideas do you have for improving local transport?
Of course, I would like to see more trains to Crofton Park. I supported the increase that the Catford Loop would have brought, but unfortunately we were never given a firm commitment to that service.
One of my priorities is local accessibility and I want to see disabled access at Crofton Park Station and lift access at Honor Oak Station.
I’ve set up a bus and train user group which meets regularly and allows me to feed back to the Council based on the experiences of daily users – as I work locally.
Some people have suggested Crofton Park should create a conservation area, like Brockley and now Ladywell. What do you think?
Generally, I think conservation areas are good things. When I lived in Perry Hill, some of the houses had been ruined and I joined a local residents group to protect the housing stock. If someone came to the Crofton Park Ward Assembly with a proposal, we’d look at it. The ‘ladder roads’ – as I call them – between the Brockley Jack and Honor Oak Park might be appropriate.
Do you think the Crofton Park Assembly should support the Brockley MAX festival?
This year, the Councillors’ concern was that too few of the Brockley MAX venues were in the ward and too many were licensed premises. We opted to support the Blythe Hill Festival and a range of other worthy projects. However, I will go this year and I’m sure we’ll consider it for funding in future.
What else should local people know about their ward?
The work of the Crofton Park Safer Neighbourhood Ward Panel is very important and we have a new, award-winning police sergeant, Mark Deacon, who I think will make a big difference. I’d urge people to get in touch with me if they want to be involved in that project.
The South London Press today reports that TfL believes there is no 'practical or economic case' to reinstate plans to create a Victoria to Bellingham service to replace the lost South London Line. The route would have served Crofton Park.
The report adds:
"But Ian Brown, managing director of London Rail – part of Transport for London (TfL) – said he would make it “a priority” to mitigate the loss of the South London Line (SLL)."
These plans will be presented in November.
Click here for the full story.
Lib Dem prospective MP for Lewisham Deptford Tam Langley is encouraging people to make their voice heard as part of a TfL consultation about the potential loss of the service to Victoria from Crofton Park station. She writes:
Last night I met up with Caroline Pidgeon, our Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member responsible for scrutising Transport for London's plans.
There is good news and bad news about Crofton Park's trains.
The good news is TfL will be looking into the effect of cancelling plans to run trains from Crofton Park to Victoria, and we will have an opportunity to make our views known.
The bad news is we only have a few weeks to tell everyone else who lives in Crofton Park about what's happening, so that together we can show Transport for London how much we care about this.
Please join the campaign to save the link and sign the petition here.
Reader BarryLS has been exchanging letters with Joan Ruddock MP regarding TfL's decision to withdraw the Bellingham to Victoria train service, which stops at Crofton Park. He's concerned that the loss of capacity could cause crowding on trains stopping at Crofton Park and Catford and Ms Ruddock has pressed TfL for a response, on his behalf.
In a letter received earlier this month, TfL dismissed the risk, arguing that - of the two options considered in the South London Rail Utilisation Strategy required to address the withdrawal of the South London Line - the 4 trains per hour offered by the second phase of the East London Line is preferable to the 2 trains per hour the Victoria to Bellingham service would have delivered. TfL said:
"The capacity provided by Southeastern and First Capital Connect services on their corridor is considered by the DfT to be sufficient to accommodate current and future growth. TfL's own analysis also does not indicate that there would be crowding issues.
"Regarding congestion from Crofton Park and Catford, it is worth highlighting that the Victoria to Bellingham service was not proposed to address crowding on the Bellingham corridor. Bellingham was proposed as a possible location where the South London line service could be reversed once it had to be diverted away from London Bridge and because it is the nearest place to London after passing through Peckham Rye."
Boriswatch has an excellent summary of the effects of and reasons for the line's withdrawal. He points out that TfL's position is a reversal of its stated view in 2007:
The original response to the RUS from TfL is full of stuff about the deprived inner city areas of Peckham and Catford and how much better things would be for them under these enhanced service levels. Unfortunately, since Boris has come along, crapping on Peckham has been the fashionable sport at TfL so it had to go...
So, to recap. TfL gets the DfT to pay for the majority of the scheme. TfL forks out £15m of its own money, takes £20m off the DfT, keeps £5m of that, rejects £7m towards a station serving a key area but which TfL don’t now want to build and sabotages plans to retain the direct SLL link to Victoria, thus associating the Overground takeover of Wandsworth Road and Clapham High Street with a less convenient service for existing users. Meanwhile it has already cancelled plans to run a tram through the same area.
The cost of the second phase of the East London Line's second extension - to Clapham Junction - has been revealed by consumer travel group Travelwatch. Plans developed as part of the Rail Utilisation Strategy, which would have replaced the London Victoria to London Bridge service with a service from Victoria to Bellingham have been abandoned.
The service would have stopped at Nunhead, Crofton Park and Catford.
London Reconnections explains:
"It appears that as part of the ELLX Phase 2 funding negotiations TfL approached the DfT and requested that the service be dropped in return for a £24m contribution from the DfT to ELLX2 funding. The DfT, after proposing several conditions, agreed.
"The reasons for the proposal are clear. As TfL themselves indicated in their response to Travelwatch's request for information about the decision, in terms of passenger numbers, the cost-to-benefit ratio for an extended ELL service (approx. 1000 passengers per hour eastbound, 900 west) is far higher than that of the proposed Bellingham service (approx. 650 per hour). In that light, ELLX2 is the far better option mathematically speaking. It will, however, mean that no direct services will run between Victoria and Clapham High Street or Wandsworth Road, and will also likely mean only 2tph between Denmark Hill and Victoria instead of the publically claimed 4tph."
Posted anonymously on this site, here is the UK cycle accident map, which shows Brockley Cross recorded two incidents (as did the area around the junction of Adelaide Avenue and Brockley Road and Crofton Park Station).
Crofton Park Ranger, a welcome newcomer to the site, has found another reason for the people of Brockley to be cheerful.
When the IMF arrive to quarantine Britain to prevent a leak of toxic debt, we will be able to make a quick getaway courtesy of the Thameslink work, which will cause trains to be diverted to Kings Cross International station and then Luton for the airport.
This all happens from mid-March onwards.
Never a paper to look on the bright side, The Evening Standard reports that:
"Blackfriars Tube station is to close for two and a half years in one of the longest closures of a central London station. Rail chiefs said today the Square Mile station would shut in March next year and not reopen until late in 2011.
"More than 44,000 daily users of the station face long delays getting to and from work and will be forced to use other stations, lines or the bus. Circle and District line services will continue to run through the station but without stopping.
"It is promised the first phase of the Thameslink programme, which will virtually treble passenger capacity from the current 4,500 an hour to 12,000, will be completed for the 2012 Olympics... Blackfriars mainline improvement will include covered platforms stretching across the Thames rail bridge with the station the first to have entrances north and south of the river.
"By early 2012 Thameslink services will be lengthened from eight carriages to 12 between Bedford and central London and services doubled from eight to 16 per hour through central London."
Temple and Mansion House tube stations are both within a few hundred metres walk of Blackfriars
The good news for commuters from Crofton Park is that they can look forward to an additional 2 trains per hour during peak times.
Reader Ed sent us a copy of a letter from Malcolm Smith, Lewisham Council's Executive Director for Regeneration, which confirms that:
"The South London Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) was published by Network Rail in March 2008 and submitted to the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR). It will become established 60 days after publication, unless the ORR issues a notice of objection. The recommendations of a RUS and the evidence contained within it, form an input in to decisions made by the Government and the railway industry. In terms of the Catford Loop Line, the following is proposed :
"From March 2009 services on this route will be extended to run north of Blackfriars, providing new journey opportunities. The Victoria Eastern to Bellingham service, which is recommended for introduction by December 2011, would provide an additional 2 in the peak and provide further new journey opportunities, and an increase in peak service frequencies on the route .
"Some working assumptions have also been made in relation to potential Thameslink services in 2015, although it should be emphasised that no detailed timetabling work has been undertaken and this proposes 4 stopping Thameslink services on this line."
Crofton Park could benefit from greatly increased train services, according to the latest draft of the Strategic Rail Plan, developed by Network Rail. But it could come at the expense of the services enjoyed by our neighbours in Nunhead.
Lewisham Council has long-campaigned for increased train services to Catford (presumably to appease the gentrified hordes that are currently invading that area, eh Ross?). As part of the consultation, Lewisham Council made a submission in support of the option to route the extra trains south-eastwards to Catford and Bromley rather than through Lewisham towards Bexley. This option would improve train frequencies to Crofton Park, Catford, Bellingham and Beckenham Hill.
However, over in Nunhead, it's a plan which Cllr Fiona Colley is doing her best to scupper, on the basis that it could lead to reductions in local services. As you can see on her blog, she claims it could lead to:
- No direct trains between Denmark Hill and London Bridge (currently 2 per hour)
- Direct trains between Peckham Rye to London Bridge reduced from 8 per hour to 6 per hour
- Direct trains between Queens Road to London Bridge reduced from 8 per hour to 6 per hour
- No direct trains between Queens Road and Victoria (currently 2 per hour)
- High Speed One frees up network capacity in South London
- Thameslink will allow for more north-south rail journeys through London Bridge and will expand the capacity of Blackfriars
- The East London Line Extension will provide new options for commuters in the Queens Road area
The strategic review is ongoing, but the plans relate to services from 2011 onwards.
Thanks to Ed for the information.