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.