A couple of months ago, we got excited because we saw Charlton station had gained a new water fountain. It was all part of a London-wide plan to provide more drinking water taps, and reduce the need for people to buy plastic bottles of water. There was a heatwave on, it sounded fantastic.
Then a few weeks after it opened, it was covered up again. And moved. It’s still covered up today. Our refillable bottles have remained unfilled.
We asked Thames Water what was going on. A spokesperson got back to us very quickly and told us: “At the moment the water coming from the fountain isn’t of the standard we’d expect so we can’t let anyone use it until it passes all the right tests.”
Thames Water emphasises there is no issue with water in the wider area – it’s just an issue that affects the fountain.
Hopefully the fountain will be back in service soon.
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.”
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.
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