Discuss Olympic rail cuts plan on Monday

The Charlton Rail Users Group will meet on Monday at 7pm at Charlton Liberal Club. Representatives from Southeastern, London Travelwatch, Transport for London and Greenwich Council will be there to discuss issues including the cleanliness of the station (I spotted a rat there recently), how easy it is to access other forms of transport (including the “dance of death“) and the issue of having to leg it up the platform if a five-car train arrives.

Also under discussion will be the planned Olympics service cuts – you might like to see the group’s response.

The Charlton Rail Users Group would like to object in the strongest possible terms to the proposed Greenwich line timetable during the 2012 Olympics.

While we appreciate Southeastern needs to run a simple service during a period of high demand, we feel the current service, strengthened with longer trains, will be able to cope. Charlton station has coped well with Premier League crowds of over 27,000 for football matches – it is only when the service is reduced things go wrong. Indeed, Charlton was more than able to cope with Millennium Dome traffic during 2000, although most visitors used North Greenwich..

It appears to us that dropping station calls and closing Woolwich Dockyard has more to do with reducing the risk of Southeastern incurring financial penalties for late running than making the service easier for passengers to use.

Anything less than a normal service will confuse and inconvenience regular passengers, who will find alternative forms of travel – particularly the Jubilee Line – also affected by Olympic traffic. During this period, we should be able to rely on a full train service, and not face arbitary cuts. With North Greenwich station expected to be more difficult to access, Southeastern’s customers in this area will depend on these services more than usual.

London 2012’s organisers have promised a car-free Games – your proposal seems designed to achieve the opposite. Indeed, the secrecy surrounding your proposals – with no mention of them on the Southeastern website – leaves a lot to be desired, especially from a company which already has a poor reputation for communication.

1) Proposal to stop Charing X-Lewisham-Gillingham trains calling at Charlton
It seems utterly perverse to reduce the number of trains calling at Charlton when it is being publicised as a stop for the North Greenwich Arena. Similarly, it will inconvenience passengers from north Kent and the Medway Towns planning to visit Olympic events there – people who need persuading to leave their cars at home.

2) Proposal to cut train services at Westcombe Park and close Woolwich Dockyard
Again, this is perverse and seems designed to protect Southeastern against financial loss rather than provide the best possible service to passengers. Displaced passengers will switch to Charlton, putting pressure on services you plan to reduce.

3) General proposals for stations on the Greenwich line and nearby
Cutting station stops on the Greenwich line and at Kidbrooke will only force people to seek alternatives during the Olympics. The Greenwich and Charlton area will be particularly badly affected by the Games, with Jubilee Line use made difficult by Olympic crowds and road capacity reduced by the Olympic Route Network. The only way to achieve a car-free Games will be to ensure ordinary Londoners can get around during the Olympics by running a full service, with longer trains, from first train to last – not to cut rail services as you propose.

3 thoughts on “Discuss Olympic rail cuts plan on Monday

  1. Jo Brodie May 8, 2011 / 14:08

    There are quite a few interesting questions and answers (and sometimes the interesting thing is that there isn’t an answer) in the Parliamentary Hansard report made available and searchable at http://theyworkforyou.com. It seems that Southeastern were more or less automatically granted their franchise extension because of arrangements previously put in place (http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2011-05-05a.772.1&s=Southeastern#g775.2) – I’d be interested to know if previous discussions included ‘permission’ to trim the service to this extent. More Southeastern-related discussions can be found here http://www.theyworkforyou.com/search/?s=Southeastern

    How long is the proposed inconveniencing of passengers likely to run – a couple of weeks, a month, or for much longer? To be honest I could probably cope if it was very short term as I tend to use a different journey to work every day anyway so have a lot of redundancy built in to my commutes, but it still seems insane to make it that difficult to use this bit of London which is so close to the Olympic activities.

    I wrote a blog post called How to get out of Blackheath’ back in December when it looked like it might be impossible to leave 😉

  2. Abstractnoise May 11, 2011 / 10:46

    Any updates to offer on this meeting?

Comments are closed.