Campaign launched to protect Greenwich and Deptford trains to Charing X and London Bridge

A campaign has been launched by a group called the Greenwich Line Users to prevent major cuts to South Eastern train services.

As discussed on the South East London transport forum, the planned three-year disruption of services from South East London through London Bridge is due to begin in 2015:

- 2015/6 Charing Cross services will not stop at London Bridge
- 2016/8 Cannon Street services will not stop at London Bridge

These changes are the a result of Thameslink construction work to expand and modernise London Bridge station. Once work is completed in 2018, the London Bridge serviceswill resume, but Greenwich and Deptford will have lost direct services to Charing Cross or Waterloo East. The group explains:

Once the work is complete there will be no physical track connection that will enable trains to reach Charing Cross. So, after 150 years, the West End will no longer be reached by direct trains. 

The Greenwich Line Users’ Group has been formed to represent the interests of all passengers who use the Greenwich Line. Whilst we recognise that the work at London Bridge will bring about many improvements for passengers generally, it will disadvantage users of the Greenwich Line. Our objective is to remove that disadvantage. Insufficient thought has been given by the Department for Transport to the impact on the Greenwich Line and the possible ways in which direct Charing Cross services could be maintained. Cannon Street is a fine station for the City, but hopeless for getting to and from the West End. 

The Group will be lobbying the Department for Transport, Network Rail and Southeastern trains for a service that meets the needs of South East Londoners. The Users’ Group can be contacted at We will be happy to receive your comments or questions.

The cancellation of Brockley's infrequent direct connections to Charing X some years ago was a relatively minor inconvenience, but Greenwich and Deptford's West End services are much more frequent and would be a consequently greater loss.


michael_fh said...

I've come to terms with the view of TfL that more frequent services are better than less frequent services that go exactly where you want them. By preserving paths in peak times for trains to Cannon Street and not crossing paths with the Charing Cross and Thameslink services, it should be possible to get more trains through London Bridge. Although some passengers will need to change the overall benefit will be that passengers from across the South East will be able to rapidly change platform at London Bridge to continue their journey above or below ground.

If all Greenwich services go to Cannon Street then it is likely that the main beneficiaries will be Ladywell services, which may find it difficult to cross over and terminate at Cannon Street and may instead go to Charing Cross only.

My view is that off-peak the maximum use should be made of the Charing Cross terminating platforms, the Thameslink central Corridor, and that Cannon Street should remain open into the late evenings rather than closing at 8pm. Cannon Street could continue to provide services to Greenwich and other services, which would otherwise terminate at London Bridge lower station, could be diverted to take up any space capacity on the Charing Cross or Thameslink lines. In particular since the Brighton Main line comes up the Brockley corridor, the slow lines around it could converge off peak down the central Thameslink corridor to maximum train flow in the central section and providing greater use of the central corridor for Londoners. But diverting Greenwich trains across the Thameslink paths would make this much harder to achieve, even off peak.

We know more than most how it feels to lose direct connections to the West End, but at least this reorganisation is being done with clear objectives in mind and not just because the rail authorities forgot that our service existed when retendering a different franchise.

Dave said...

Never heard such gobbledegook !

rationalplan said...

Realy? I thought it was well argued.

Nionios said...

Will this change affect trains from Brockley to London Bridge and on to Charing Cross?

Kafkaesque said...

I'm worried about the 4 year period whilst the works are going on, that on the current basis you won't be able to get to charing cross at all from St. John's or new cross.
Current service is that all trains go to cannon street and you go "over the bridge to platform 6" at London bridge to change for charing cross.
During the first 2 years of works trains to charing cross will not stop at London bridge. So on my cannon street train from st johns I will be able to get off at London bridge but won't be able to get on a train to charing cross
Then in the next 2 years of works trains to cannon street will not stop at London bridge (but charing cross ones will resume). So, again on my cannon street train from St. John's, I won't be able to get off at London bridge even though there's a train to charing cross stopping right there, waiting for me.
It's something out of Kafka. I really don't think they've thought this through and when I've mentioned it to staff at charing cross when they've had meet and greet type things they just look at me blankly and say I need to get on further down the line ..... Before my own stop ....... How does hat work???

michael_fh said...

It is a mess and it really worries me what will happen when there are no trains from London Bridge to Charing Cross. In most cases there are alternatives but they are going to be extremely busy at peak times. I expect the warnings that we got before the Olympics might actually apply for 18 months as people try to find their way through.

From St Johns you would probably be best to do as suggested by the staff; get on a train heading to Lewisham and change to a Charing Cross service that will not stop at London Bridge (so might actually be lighter on passengers). Your journey might be 2 minutes longer according to Journey Planner.

When Charing Cross services are not running there is much more of a problem. The answer would be to take the underground from London Bridge and change at Waterloo. Again the timings from Journey Planner predict it will not take much longer (actually a minute faster), but that assumes you might manage to get on the Jubilee line platform - it is going to be very busy when it takes over from the London Bridge to Charing Cross services, so I expect they will need to hold people at the ticket barriers on a regular basis.

There are alternative routes (avoiding London Bridge) depending on where you live and where you are going. For example Journey Planner shows that New Cross to Charing Cross takes 24 minutes via Canada Water and Waterloo. The advantage here is that few people use the New Cross branch of Overground.

My apologies to anybody who finds this gobbledegook. I am attempting to make some sense of a very confusing situation.

Monkeyboy said...

for what its worth, the District & Circle line service at Cannon St will be much improved by then, far more frequent.

Adama said...

a late and lost battle. Next!

headhunter said...

It's not late, this bombshell has only just been dropped!

UncleBob said...

Eh? This has been known for years.

mickeymouse said...

Known by who? Busy people who read railway blogs? I bet if you ask most commuters in Greenwich station today the majority wouldn't have a clue.

Mickeymouse said...

All trains should stop at London Bridge with a shuttle to Charing Cross. Maybe if Boris had built his cable car from London Bridge to Charing Cross it may actually get used, and would solve this problem partially.

UncleBob said...

It was on this here very blog four years ago:
Look who made the fourth post after that...

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