Charlton and Woolwich Arsenal set to lose Charing Cross trains from 2022

Southeastern train at Charlton
The new Southeastern franchise begins in April 2019

Charlton and Woolwich Arsenal stations will lose direct trains to Charing Cross from December 2022, according to the Department for Transport’s plans for the new Southeastern franchise, which have been published today.

The invitation to tender sets out what the Government expects of the firm which wins the new franchise, which due to begin in April 2019. It sets out the basic service the winning operator is expected to provide.

Currently, six trains per hour run from Charlton to Cannon Street via Greenwich, with two running to Charing Cross via Lewisham.

From next year, this will become four trains via Greenwich to Cannon Street, two to Charing Cross via Lewisham, plus two new Greenwich line trains that will run via Blackfriars to Luton on the Thameslink route.

But from 2022, those Charing Cross services would be rerouted to Cannon Street, calling additionally at New Cross and St John’s. Passengers who want Waterloo East and Charing Cross will have to change at London Bridge.

Southeastern invitation to tender
Part of the specification being given to bidders for the new franchise. Thameslink trains not shown.

Looking in the other direction, there is also an option given for bidders to extend one set of Greenwich line trains to Maidstone West, while Belvedere and Erith may see a cut in services, with bidders asked to provide only a minimum of four trains per hour. The planned Thameslink trains are not set to call at those stops.

There are also changes planned for elsewhere on the network, with more trains to Victoria from Lewisham, although these will no longer run through Blackheath.

Last year, transport secretary Chris Grayling refused permission for Transport for London to take on Southeastern’s metro services. The new franchise is due to last until 2027.

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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.

Weekend trains from Charlton disrupted through to Easter – get full details

A weekend train at Charlton: There'll be fewer of these over the next few months

Tried to catch a train at the weekend lately? Not easy, is it?

Services through Charlton are currently being badly affected by two huge engineering projects – the Thameslink Programme at London Bridge, and Crossrail at Abbey Wood. These are huge projects which will bring big benefits to us all.

But what’s not helping matters is a dire lack of information from private rail operator Southeastern, which this weekend was caught publishing inaccurate performance figures. It expects train users to study the small print on generic engineering works posters rather than putting any worthwhile effort into publicity or announcements.

There are no normal weekend services planned from Charlton between now and Easter, and alternative routes keep changing. The Greenwich line has been closed most weekends for a few weeks now, but services via Lewisham will soon face a temporary chop instead.

In particular, Southeastern appears to have decided that passengers on the Woolwich line can be fobbed off with trains that only run to New Cross – often just running two trains per hour there.

Because we’re nice people, we thought we’d step into the breach. Here’s a quick roundup of what train services are going where from Charlton each weekend until Easter.

Everything’s taken from the brilliant Realtime Trains, checking timetables at Charlton and Lewisham. It’s subject to change, particularly further into the future. Please check your own journeys if you’re taking an important trip, particularly early in the morning or in the late evening.

PS. There is now a petition to strip Southeastern of its franchise. There’s also growing pressure for TfL to take over south London’s rail routes – see this report from Centre for London, backed by Greenwich and other south London councils.

PPS. Greenwich councillor Aidan Smith is part of a panel quizzing Southeastern and other transport providers on their services next month. Got a question? Let him know.

Saturday 23 January (Charlton Athletic v Blackburn, 3pm)
4 trains per hour between Cannon Street and Plumstead via Greenwich
Trains to Cannon Street at 05, 25, 35, and 55 past each hour.
No trains via Lewisham from Charlton
Also no Jubilee Line Stanmore-Waterloo

Sunday 24 January
2 trains per hour between Charing Cross and Plumstead via Lewisham
Trains to Charing Cross at 04 and 34 past each hour.
No trains via Greenwich
Also no Jubilee Line Stanmore-Waterloo

Saturday 30 January
4 trains per hour between Cannon Street and Plumstead via Greenwich
Trains to Cannon Street at 05, 25, 35, and 55 past each hour.
No trains via Lewisham from Charlton

Sunday 31 January
4 trains per hour between Cannon Street and Plumstead via Greenwich
Trains to Cannon Street at 14, 29, 44, and 59 past each hour.
No trains via Lewisham from Charlton

Saturday 6 February (Charlton Athletic v Bristol City, 3pm)
4 trains per hour between Cannon Street and Plumstead via Greenwich
Trains to Cannon Street at 05, 25, 35, and 55 past each hour.
No trains via Lewisham from Charlton

Sunday 7 February
No trains at all – buses run between Lewisham and Dartford

Saturday 13 February (Charlton Athletic v Cardiff City, 3pm)
4 trains per hour between Cannon Street and Plumstead via Greenwich
Trains to Cannon Street at 05, 25, 35, and 55 past each hour.
No trains via Lewisham from Charlton

Sunday 14 February
2 trains per hour between Charing Cross and Plumstead via Lewisham
Trains to Charing Cross at 04 and 34 past each hour.
No trains via Greenwich

Saturday 20 February
4 trains per hour between Cannon Street and Plumstead via Greenwich
Trains to Cannon Street at 05, 25, 35, and 55 past each hour.
No trains via Lewisham from Charlton

Sunday 21 February
4 trains per hour between Cannon Street and Plumstead via Greenwich
Trains to Cannon Street at 14, 29, 44, and 59 past each hour.
No trains via Lewisham from Charlton

Saturday 27 February (Charlton Athletic v Reading, 3pm)
4 trains per hour between Cannon Street and Plumstead via Greenwich
Trains to Cannon Street at 05, 25, 35, and 55 past each hour.
No trains via Lewisham from Charlton

Sunday 28 February
2 trains per hour between Cannon Street and Slade Green via Greenwich
Trains to Cannon Street at 15 and 45 past each hour.
No trains via Lewisham from Charlton

Saturday 5 March
4 trains per hour between Cannon Street and Plumstead via Greenwich
Trains to Cannon Street at 05, 25, 35, and 55 past each hour.
No trains via Lewisham from Charlton

Sunday 6 March
No trains at all – buses run between Lewisham and Dartford

Saturday 12 March (Charlton Athletic v Middlesbrough, 3pm)
Special services running – Charing Cross and Cannon Street closed
2 trains per hour Victoria to Gravesend, 2 trains per hour New Cross to Dartford
Trains to Victoria at 20 and 50 past each hour.
Trains to New Cross at 05 and 35 past each hour (change at Lewisham for Blackfriars)
All trains call at Blackheath and Lewisham
No trains via Greenwich

Sunday 13 March
2 trains per hour New Cross to Plumstead
Trains to New Cross at 04 and 34 past each hour.
Change at Lewisham for Blackfriars and Victoria trains.
No trains via Greenwich

Saturday 19 March
Special services running – Charing Cross and Cannon Street closed
2 trains per hour Victoria to Gravesend, 2 trains per hour New Cross to Dartford
Trains to Victoria at 21 and 51 past each hour.
Trains to New Cross at 05 and 35 past each hour (change at Lewisham for Victoria)
All trains call at Blackheath and Lewisham
No trains via Greenwich

Sunday 20 March
2 trains per hour New Cross to Plumstead
Trains to New Cross at 04 and 34 past each hour.
Change at Lewisham for Blackfriars and Victoria trains.
No trains via Greenwich

Good Friday 25 March
4 trains per hour from New Cross to Plumstead
Trains to New Cross at 08, 23, 38 and 53 past each hour.
Change at Lewisham for Victoria and Charing Cross
No trains via Greenwich

Easter Saturday 26 March
4 trains per hour from New Cross to Plumstead
Trains to New Cross at 08, 23, 38 and 53 past each hour.
Change at Lewisham for Victoria and Charing Cross
No trains via Greenwich

Easter Sunday 27 March
2 trains per hour New Cross to Plumstead
Trains to New Cross at 04 and 34 past each hour.
Change at Lewisham for Charing Cross.
No trains via Greenwich

Easter Monday 28 March
4 trains per hour between Cannon Street and Plumstead via Greenwich
Trains to Cannon Street at 05, 25, 35, and 55 past each hour.
No trains via Lewisham from Charlton