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02 February 2008

Good news for rail passengers from Forest Hill and Sydenham

Over the last year the Forest Hill Society and the Sydenham Society have jointly campaigned to keep our current levels of services to and from London mainline stations after the introduction of the East London Line in 2010. Jim Dowd, our local MP, together with Len Duvall, our GLA member, has also lobbied hard in support of our aims.

Last Autumn Network Rail published their draft Route Utilisation Strategy setting out proposed levels of rail services from 2010. It clearly suggested a significant reduction in services to London Bridge. There were doubts too about the continuation of the current off-peak services to Victoria.

However, new information recently received from Network Rail, via London TravelWatch, suggests that, as a result of our continued campaign, most of our concerns about their proposals have now been addressed.

Rather than a reduction in peak services to London Bridge the plan now is that the total number of trains between 7am and 10am will remain at the current level of 18 trains, with only a slight adjustment to the present hourly spread of trains. All trains are planned to be 8 carriages long, whereas some are currently only 6 carriages long. This represents an overall increase in carriages serving Forest Hill and Sydenham during peak time.

Indications are that the present direct off-peak services to Victoria may continue from Forest Hill and Sydenham, while at peak times the extension of the East London Line to Crystal Palace will reduce journey times to Victoria and Clapham Junction from our line.

The addition of 8 trains of 4 carriages on the East London Railway from 2010 is welcomed by both Societies as providing fast and regular connections to the Jubilee Line, Crystal Palace, Docklands and the East of the City of London as well as other destinations.

The services outlined above are dependent on the agreement of the Department for Transport and on their discussions with the train operators and Transport for London when the Franchises are renegotiated in 2009. We will therefore continue to closely monitor the situation over the next couple of years to make sure that these revised proposals become a reality.

Highlights:

  • From 2010 Forest Hill, Sydenham, Honor Oak Park, Brockley, Penge West and Anerley will be connected to the Overground tube system
  • New peak services to Crystal Palace allowing for interchange to Victoria
  • Possible continuation of off-peak services to Victoria
  • Journey times under 18 minutes to Canary Wharf
  • Commuters working in the east of the City, travelling on a direct connection to Shoreditch, will benefit from cheaper tickets by avoiding zone 1
  • Oyster readers on all stations on the line
  • Southbound platform at Forest Hill to be made accessible to disabled passengers with money from DfT

Negative impacts:

  • All services between London Bridge and Forest Hill/Sydenham will be stopping services, removing existing fast services
  • No direct services to and from Charing Cross, from 2009

We will continue to campaign about the negative impacts and we will work with the rail industry to ensure further improvements in the future. In particular we will press for 10 or 12 carriage trains into London Bridge. This would require the extension of all station platforms along the route, but will become necessary as more passengers continue to use the rail services from our area.

Overall this is good news for people in Forest Hill and Sydenham who finally get to join the tube system.

For further information:

Michael Abrahams – Michael@foresthillsociety.com - Chair, Forest Hill Society

Pat Trembath - pattrembath@googlemail.com - Chair, Sydenham Society

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