GLUG meeting with southeastern
The steering group of the Greenwich Line User Group met together with Mike Gibson from southeastern on 20th January 2015.
Meeting notes - kindly prepared by Mike Sparham (convenor)
Mike Gibson, Public Affairs Manager, Southeastern Railway, attended. The following issues were raised and discussed:
Mike Gibson accepted that there was congestion at Lewisham and London Bridge. There are plans to improve passenger circulation, by installing new Customer Information Screens at Lewisham and by announcements at London Bridge encouraging passengers to move down the platform. More publicity is to be given to the alternatives of using Blackfriars and travelling back from London Bridge to Waterloo East where it is possible to do this to get alternative services.
The alternative arrangements seemed to be working well and were well known. Mike Gibson said that Southeastern were pressing TfL to include Bank station in the ticketing arrangements, so as to allow use of the Waterloo & City line, and also to include Victoria, but TfL are resisting this.
The issue of not allowing Temple station to be used was raised, as feedback had been received that passengers had to either alight early at Blackfriars or go on to Embankment and walk back. Mike Gibson agreed to look into this with TfL.
He also said that Southeastern wanted to introduce a flexible system of ticketing, similar to that being trialled on Southern, and are waiting for DfT approval.
12 car trains
Mike Gibson said that it had been hoped to introduce 12 car trains on the Greenwich line, but there were only three such trains available and they had to be allocated to the services that are most extensively used. These are the Dartford via Sidcup services. It is still hoped to introduce them on the Greenwich line in 2016, but this depends upon new rolling stock becoming available. Class 377 units are to be re-allocated from GTR Thameslink, and Southeastern are putting in a bid for them to DfT. This would allow stock to be cascaded, with the 377 units being used on main line services, and some of the present main line stock being used on metro services, thus increasing the number of 12 car units. However, there is competition from other operators for these units and it is by no means certain that Southeastern will receive them.
August 2016 timetable
Consultation will begin in May this year. This timetable will be difficult for Greenwich Line passengers, as London Bridge will not be accessible for 18 months. The issue of patients attending Guys or St Thomas’s hospitals was raised, and it was suggested that a shuttle service should be laid on between Cannon Street and both hospitals. Additional peak hour services from Charlton via the Blackheath to Charing Cross were also suggested.
Amenities at Cannon Street
Although Cannon Street station is now open all day, the concessions on the station still seem to be closing early. Mike Gibson said that the station is managed by Network Rail, and he would enquire about the contractual terms of the concession holders.
Mike Gibson said that the Public Performance Measure had improved, and the Company was achieving a level of about 92% “on time”, as defined in the PPM. He accepted this was helped by the omission of a London Bridge stop for Charing Cross services, which has improved reliability on those services. In answer to a question, he said that when trains are running late it is sometimes necessary to omit scheduled stops in order to restore services quicker, but it was only done when necessary and accepted it resulted in greater disruption for some passengers wanting to travel to particular stations.
It was pointed out that the Greenwich line has had no Sunday services since the new timetable was introduced. This seemed to be due to engineering work at London Bridge/Cannon Street rather than on the Greenwich line itself. GLUG had raised this as a potential problem in the public consultation, and had proposed that placing a set of points and shunting signals at Deptford would at least allow a normal timetable to be operated between Deptford and Dartford. Mike Gibson was asked whether this is going to be a regular occurrence in future, as it would make services unreliable. He asked GLUG to email him about the issue.
Restoration of Charing Cross services
This is a matter for Network Rail/DfT rather than Southeastern, but it was pointed out that at the public meeting organised by the Greenwich Society in October 2014, Network Rail took away the question of installing a new junction at North Kent East, giving Greenwich line trains access to the Charing Cross lines. They had not responded, despite agreeing to come back with an answer. It was agreed to follow this up.
Network Rail had been unable to attend. Contacts points are:
Olivia.White@networkrail.co.uk (Thameslink project)
25 January 2015