The train arriving seven months late: Thameslink belatedly boosts weekday service at Charlton

Thameslink class 700 trains
A slightly less unusual sight from December – but don’t go banking on weekend trains

Charlton is due to get its full weekday train service back in December – seven months after the botched introduction of Thameslink services resulted in many trains to Kent being deleted from the timetable.

Changes to rail services in May saw the long-established Charing Cross to Gillingham trains operated by Southeastern replaced by two Thameslink trains per hour from Luton, St Pancras, Farringdon, Blackfriars and London Bridge to Rainham, one stop further down the line.

This followed the huge project to revamp London Bridge station to allow for extra services between north and south London.

While the service provided new links to north London and beyond, poor planning meant that many of the new trains did actually materialise. In July the service was cut back to to hourly to allow Thameslink to train drivers on the new routes – slashing the links to Dartford and beyond and leaving gaps in the timetable to central London.

Now the company, which operates a contract on behalf of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, says the full weekday service will now be introduced in its winter timetable from 9 December – meaning Charlton should be up to its full complement of eight trains each hour once again.

Thameslink trains will run half-hourly to Rainham between 0604 and 2234, with two final trains at 2304 and 2334 terminating at Gillingham. Trains call at Westcombe Park two minutes earlier.

Heading to central London and beyond, Thameslink trains to London Bridge, Blackfriars, Farringdon, St Pancras and West Hampstead Thameslink will run half-hourly from 0540 to 2310, stopping at Westcombe Park two minutes later.

Most will run onto Luton – handy for the airport – although many will be skipping the useful north London stop at Kentish Town.

Weekend rail woe

However, the weekend trains remain at a miserly hourly frequency for the time being, mostly only running as far north as Kentish Town.

Thameslink says: “The weekend timetable will continue in its current format for now, with more services planned by May 2019.

“Our current simplified weekend timetable means engineering work alterations can be overlaid in a shorter than usual timeframe. There is every intention of returning to normal industry agreed timescales and both planning teams in Thameslink Railway and Network Rail continue to work to achieve this as quickly as possible.”

Full timetables – for Thameslink trains only – can be found at thameslinkrailway.com.


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Charlton’s trains change on Sunday: Do you know your new times?

Thameslink class 700 trains
These Thameslink trains will start stopping at Charlton this Sunday

The biggest shake-up in SE London’s rail services for many years begins on Sunday – with Charlton gaining Thameslink trains to Blackfriars, St Pancras and beyond but losing some trains to Cannon Street.

Completely new timetables come into force as London Bridge’s new central platforms formally open for business, allowing more trains from Kent, Sussex and south London to run through to Farringdon, St Pancras, Luton and Bedford, as well as new destination such as Finsbury Park, Peterborough and Cambridge.

Charlton will be on a new Thameslink service linking Rainham in Kent with Luton, which replaces the old Southeastern trains from Charing Cross to Gillingham, although will run via Greenwich rather than Lewisham.

Two Southeastern trains to Cannon Street via Greenwich remain, while a new service from Dartford to Charing Cross will run via Blackheath and Lewisham.

So while Charlton still gets eight trains per hour off-peak (six on Sundays) – all stopping at London Bridge – they will run to different destinations. The Thameslink trains will only run as far as Kentish Town on Sundays.

Expect some teething problems as the new timetable beds down – a few Thameslink trains appear to have been deleted from early timetables after reports of issues with getting new trains into service, so double-check if you are using the new route.

Separately, Sunday’s service will be disrupted by engineering works.

Heading into town, your service from Charlton should be…

00 to Cannon Street via Greenwich
06 to Charing Cross via Lewisham
10 to Luton via Greenwich, Blackfriars and St Pancras
20 to Cannon Street via Greenwich
30 to Cannon Street via Greenwich

36 to Charing Cross via Lewisham
40 to Luton via Greenwich, Blackfriars and St Pancras
50 to Cannon Street via Greenwich

Heading away from town, this is how the service looks…

05 Rainham (not calling at Woolwich Dockyard, Belvedere, Erith)
08 all stations to Dartford
15 all stations to Barnehurst
25 all stations to Crayford (and back to Cannon Street via Sidcup)

35 Rainham (not calling at Woolwich Dockyard, Belvedere, Erith)
38 all stations to Dartford
45 all stations to Barnehurst
55 all stations to Crayford (and back to Cannon Street via Sidcup)

This is what your new morning rush-hour service looks like…

0529 Cannon Street via Greenwich
0547 Charing Cross via Lewisham
0559 Cannon Street via Greenwich
0617 Charing Cross via Lewisham
0628 Cannon Street via Greenwich
0635 Charing Cross via Lewisham
0647 Cannon Street via Greenwich
0659 Charing Cross via Lewisham
0704 Cannon Street via Greenwich
0710 Luton via Greenwich, Blackfriars and St Pancras
0721 Cannon Street via Greenwich
0730 Charing Cross via Lewisham
0733 Cannon Street via Greenwich
0740 Luton via Greenwich, Blackfriars and St Pancras
0746 Cannon Street via Greenwich
0753 Charing Cross via Lewisham
0757 Cannon Street via Greenwich
0810 West Hampstead via Greenwich, Blackfriars and St Pancras
0813 Charing Cross via Lewisham
0820 Cannon Street via Greenwich
0830 Cannon Street via Greenwich

0840 West Hampstead via Greenwich, Blackfriars and St Pancras
0847 Charing Cross via Lewisham
0850 Cannon Street via Greenwich
0900 Cannon Street via Greenwich

0906 Charing Cross via Lewisham
0920 Cannon Street via Greenwich
0930 Cannon Street via Greenwich

0936 Charing Cross via Lewisham
0940 Luton via Greenwich, Blackfriars and St Pancras
0950 Cannon Street via Greenwich

For journeys home, and to double-check the above, use National Rail Enquiries.

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Behind the hoardings: A sneak peek at the London Bridge station building site

If you travel from Charlton to central London, you’ll almost certainly had your journeys affected by the Thameslink Programme, which is causing dramatic changes to the rail lines to London Bridge.

The end result will see London Bridge become a major hub for services to north as well as south London – with trains able to run to Peterborough and Cambridge with frequent services to Farringdon and St Pancras. Charlton is due to get a regular service to Luton Airport as part of the scheme.

As well as big changes to the track layout, this means London Bridge station is being completely rebuilt. Part of the new concourse opened last summer.

With another big closure due at the end of August, The Charlton Champion went behind the hoardings to see what’s happening as an army of engineers and construction workers race to finish the job off ahead of May 2018’s planned reopening.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

New entrances are being created – this is the station’s original taxi ramp.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

With new entrances come new retail and restaurant units…

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

This is the rest of the concourse, which is taking shape behind the hoardings. New entrances will open the station up to Tooley Street.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

The new concourse also unites the two halves of the station – the one which traditionally served SE London and Kent, and the other for trains to the rest of south London, Surrey and Sussex – for the first time. It’s a long way from the cramped 1970s tunnels of the old station.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

We’re up the top on platforms four and five. These will be for the new Thameslink services. There will be nine through platforms at the new station, up from six at the old one.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

Track on platform 5 awaiting being put in place. Platform 6, opposite, is due to open once this August’s major closure is over.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

Platforms 3 and 4 are awaiting ballast and rails.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

Back down we go…

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

This space underneath the station is being opened up to provide a new access to the London Underground. Again, there’ll be more retail and restaurant units here.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

This is outside the station’s main entrance by the Shard, and used to be a way into the Underground. When work is complete, there’ll be a new bar here.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

Some of the new entrance is starting to appear on Tooley Street.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

This new entrance on Tooley Street will provide easier access to More London, City Hall and Tower Bridge.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

What most people see now – the current concourse at London Bridge, with work taking place behind. The station is due to fully reopen in May 2018, with full Thameslink services beginning from December 2018.

London Bridge station, 27 July 2017

A view from the 72nd floor of the Shard, which should give an overview of the complexity of the trackwork involved in creating the new Thameslink lines.

As part of this, there will be severe disruption to services between Saturday 26 August and Saturday 2 September – including on four working days, when the lines to Charing Cross will be closed. There will be fewer trains from Charlton, and they will run to Cannon Street only (Victoria on the days when that is closed too). For more information, visit www.thameslinkprogramme.co.uk/2017.

There will also be serious disruption around Christmas and New Year.

Thanks to Network Rail and Team London Bridge for organising the tour.

All change on Charlton’s trains once again – and the Night Tube’s coming in October

charlton_station1000

There are big changes to Charlton’s train services from this weekend as rebuilding work at London Bridge moves into a new phase. The station and tracks leading into it are being remodelled so it can provide a full service to Blackfriars as well as to Charing Cross and Cannon Street.

Since December 2014, trains running to Charing Cross have run non-stop through London Bridge to enable platforms to be rebuilt. From this Monday, the situation swaps over – trains to Cannon Street will speed through London Bridge while most to Charing Cross will stop.

But this switchover means sharply reduced train services from Charlton both this weekend and next week. There’ll also be no trains through Greenwich for most of the week.

More info, if you can find it, is on the Southeastern website. As an attempt to fill in some of the shortfalls in Southeastern’s information, here’s what’s happening from Charlton…

Saturday 27 August and Sunday 28 August: Charing Cross, Waterloo East and Cannon Street will all be closed. There’ll be two trains an hour to Victoria and two trains an hour to New Cross (change at Lewisham for trains to Blackfriars or Victoria). There’ll be no trains via Greenwich – replacement buses will run.

Monday 29 August: Services start running to an all-new London Bridge station, Waterloo East and Charing Cross. But there’ll be just two trains an hour, at 17 and 47 past the hour, to Charing Cross, via Blackheath, Lewisham and London Bridge. Cannon Street and the Greenwich line remain closed – replacement buses will run to New Cross.

Tuesday 30 August, Wednesday 31 August, Thursday 1 September: Cannon Street and the Greenwich line remain closed. Trains depart from Charlton for Charing Cross at: Trains to Blackheath, Lewisham, London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross depart at: 0517, 0548, 0604, 0619, 0636, 0643, 0659, 0711, 0730, 0753, 0813, 0830, 0845, 0908, 0919, 0934, 0947, 1004, 1017, 1034, 1048. Then at 04, 18, 34 and 48 past each hour until 2200; then last trains at 2204, 2218, 2234, 2248, 2318 and 2355.
Replacement buses to London Bridge calling at Greenwich line stations run at 0500, 0530, 2300, 2330 and 0005. At other times, replacement buses run to New Cross.

Friday 2 September: Cannon Street reopens and the new rush hour timetable begins. It looks like this – most Lewisham trains will call at Blackheath, but not all.

0525 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0547 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0555 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0603 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0617 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross

0625 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0635 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0648 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0658 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0704 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0711 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0720 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0729 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0732 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0743 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0752 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0758 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0807 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0813 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0820 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0829 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0836 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0844 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0849 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0859 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0907 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0917 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross

0925 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0935 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0945 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street
0947 via Lewisham to London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross
0955 Westcombe Park, Maze Hill, Greenwich, Deptford, Cannon Street

This general pattern will last until January 2018. One catch to remember if you’re heading into central London in the late afternoon/early evening is that Charing Cross trains won’t be calling at London Bridge between 1637 and 1803 – it might be quicker to jump on a Cannon Stret train and use Bank tube or walk back over the bridge itself.

Watch out at weekends and holidays: Weekend engineering works – both at London Bridge and Abbey Wood – will continue to seriously disrupt services on Saturdays and Sundays (we’ve a special page with info so you’re not caught out), while you’d continue to be well advised to not depend on train services around bank holidays over the next 18 months or so.

What happens after January 2018? Full services are due to resume in January 2018, which will include a raft of new Thameslink services running through London Bridge to north London and beyond. One possibility that’s recently been raised is a service running from Rainham in Kent to Luton via Greenwich and Blackfriars – which would bring an airport service to Charlton. That’s not confirmed, though.

Good news – the Night Tube! What is confirmed, though, is some unalloyed good news – the Night Tube is coming to the Jubilee Line from 7 October, bringing a train every 10 minutes through North Greenwich station on Friday and Saturday nights, and connecting with half hourly all-night buses on the 472 and 486.

Celebrate a year of community gardening at Charlton station

Charlton Community Gardens poster
Charlton Community Gardens are celebrating a year of gardening at their Charlton station plot next Thursday, 26th June, 6-8pm. All are welcome: the Royal Horticultural Society will be presenting a plaque, and there’s a Pot Luck Picnic planned – including ‘tasty bites from plants grown in the demonstration garden’.

This Wednesday, 18th June, sees a regular CCM gardening party and plant sale at the station concourse, starting 6pm.

See Charlton Community Gardens website for more on what they’re up to at the station.

Talk to rail bosses about Greenwich line changes

London Bridge station, in the future
Network Rail’s launching a publicity campaign to warn people of the big changes taking place to train services along the Greenwich line, which will involve most of Charlton’s trains being permanently routed away from Charing Cross and into Cannon Street instead.

Staff will be at Charlton station during Thursday and Friday’s rush hours to talk about the changes, and will also be at other local stations in coming days.

The changes are prompted by the rebuilding of London Bridge for the Thameslink programme, which will cut the connection to the Charing Cross tracks. It’ll also mean many trains won’t be able to call at London Bridge for three years from 2015.

Here’s the press release…

To raise passengers’ awareness a number of information events will take place at affected stations from next week including Maze Hill, Westcombe Park, Deptford, Charlton, Greenwich, St Johns and New Cross.

Leaflets and information will be available to passengers outlining the changes which include:

* For all passengers from January 2015, services to Waterloo East and Charing Cross will not stop at London Bridge for nearly 20 months.
* For passengers using the Greenwich line from January 2015 onwards, Charing Cross services will be diverted to Cannon Street.
* For passengers using New Cross and St Johns from January 2015 onwards, Waterloo East and Charing Cross services will not stop at New Cross and St Johns stations.
* For all passengers from August 2016, no Cannon Street services will stop at London Bridge for nearly 16 months.

Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s route managing director for Kent, said: “Thameslink will transform the railway in London and the south east of England, providing greater capacity and better journey options for millions of passengers. To rebuild London Bridge station and carry out the complicated track work on the approach to the station, it is unavoidable that there will be a certain level of disruption.

“We are working closely with all train companies which operate through London Bridge to keep this disruption to a minimum and are committed to providing passengers with as much information as early as possible. The end result of this investment will be a vastly improved service which will better meet the demands of passengers.”

Southeastern managing director, Charles Horton, said: “Although Greenwich line passengers will eventually see a much improved station at London Bridge, we understand that these works will be disruptive and our customers will be inconvenienced.

“We’re sorry about this and are working in partnership with Network Rail, Transport for London and other train operators to do what we can to minimise the inconvenience, advise on alternative travel options and keep passengers informed.”

Full details of the public information events are:

Maze Hill: 21-22 October, 7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm
Westcombe Park: 21 – 22 October, 7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm
Deptford: 24 – 25 October, 7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm
Charlton: 24 – 25 October, 7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm
Greenwich: 29 – 31 October, 7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm
St. Johns: 28 October, 7am – 10am
New Cross: 29 – 31 October, 7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm

As part of the Thameslink Programme the layout of the tracks around London Bridge station are being changed. When the programme is complete, each service will have dedicated routes allowing more trains to run. The new layout means trains on the Greenwich line are unable to continue on to Waterloo East and Charing Cross. From January 2018, you’ll be able to travel to Waterloo East and Charing Cross by changing at London Bridge.

Passengers can find out more about the Thameslink Programme by visiting www.thameslinkprogramme.co.uk where you can also sign up for email alerts or by following us on Twitter @TLProgramme.

Charlton Community Gardens – September at the Station

ccg

An update and some dates for your diary from Charlton Community Gardens:

Autumn is just around the corner and our plans are turning to the next stage of the Charlton Station garden. In September we will have two clearing Sundays, followed by installation and planting of two more raised beds and planting a wildlife friendly area.

We look forward to gardening with many of our waterers and gardeners on the next two clearance days:

  • Sunday 1 September at 2 pm 
  • Sunday 8 September at 10 am

Please wear stout shoes, bring gardening gloves and garden forks, spades and loppers, if you have them. Don’t hesitate to come along without gloves and tools, though – as we have some to lend.

More news to follow on the raised beds and planting session(s).