Charlton set to keep Charing Cross trains and gain Thameslink services in rail revamp

Thameslink class 700 train
Thameslink trains like this are due to start calling at Charlton from next Spring (photo: Michael Day via Creative Commons CC BY-NC 2.0)

****This was written in June 2017 – see May 2018’s story****

New rail timetables put out to consultation today show Charlton is due to keep its trains to Charing Cross from May 2018 – and is set to gain a new service to Blackfriars, St Pancras and Luton.

The reshuffle of services sees the current Charing Cross to Gillingham service, run by Southeastern, replaced by a new Thameslink service between Luton and Rainham, Kent, which will also stop at Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill and Westcombe Park, but not Woolwich Dockyard.

A new Southeastern service from Charing Cross to Dartford via Lewisham and Woolwich, calling at all stations, will maintain the link between Charlton, Blackheath and Lewisham.

The new-look timetable will mean Charlton travellers will get four trains per hour to Cannon Street via Greenwich, two to Blackfriars via Greenwich and two to Charing Cross via Lewisham. (See a sample weekday timetable.)

Currently, there are six trains to Cannon Street via Greenwich and two to Charing Cross via Lewisham.

Sunday services will consist of two trains to Cannon Street via Greenwich, two to Blackfriars via Greenwich and two to Charing Cross via Lewisham.

Southeastern says the Greenwich line will also see six trains per hour run in peak times once again – although this will be made up of four from Cannon Street and two from Blackfriars.

The Thameslink service will provide a direct link to St Pancras (for Eurostar and inter-city services) and Luton Airport. It is one of a number of new services that will be made possible by the works to expand London Bridge station. Stopping markers for the new Thameslink trains have already been installed at Charlton.

One side-effect of the work has been a small reduction in capacity at Cannon Street station, due to the loss of a short line used to shuttle empty trains between there and Blackfriars.

Changes to other local train services include plans to extend the current Victoria to Dartford service on the Bexleyheath line to Gravesend, and a boost to the Sidcup line so more stations get a regular six-train-per-hour service. Thameslink services through Crofton Park and Catford will double to four trains per hour. (See From The Murky Depths for more.) In addition, Crossrail will begin to operate to and from Woolwich and Abbey Wood from December 2018.

Unhelpfully, there are two separate consultations on the proposals, both of which cover huge areas. There is one for the Southeastern proposals (see this PDF for details) and one for the Thameslink proposals, which can be found at

NB. A Government consultation on the Southeastern franchise ends this Friday. It’s worth using this to voice your views on its decision not to allow TfL to control our local rail services.