No trains from Charlton this weekend, 25/26 January

Train at London Bridge station
Getting to London Bridge will be more difficult this weekend

Just in case you were planning to go somewhere this weekend, Network Rail engineering works mean there are no trains at all from Charlton, Westcombe Park or Woolwich Dockyard on Saturday and Sunday.

Trains (including Thameslink trains) will be running via Blackheath and Bexleyheath instead. Two replacement buses an hour are running from Lewisham to Plumstead, with a similarly infrequent train service between Plumstead and Dartford.

A normal service will run on the Jubilee Line and Docklands Light Railway.

Maddeningly, the rail closure had coincided with a London derby at The Valley – but Charlton Athletic’s match with Fulham, which had been scheduled for Saturday, was brought forward to tonight after the Cottagers won their third-round FA Cup tie earlier this month.

The closure comes ahead of the major works which will close the Bexleyheath line during the February half-term week, which will see busier trains through Charlton for nine days, as well as some extra services such as peak-hour trains to Victoria. More information at bexleyheathline.co.uk.


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Thinking of a bank holiday trip by train from Charlton? Forget it

Thameslink class 700 trains
There are no trains from Charlton this weekend

Thinking of taking the train from Charlton this bank holiday weekend? Think again – there are no trains once again due to engineering work.

A half-hourly replacement bus will run between Lewisham and Plumstead on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Full services will run from Lewisham and Blackheath. Thameslink services will run from Lewisham and Blackheath but will only run north as far as Blackfriars.

The Jubilee Line and Docklands Light Railway are running a full service.


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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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