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.