The refurbishment work in the Forest Hill Subway is now almost complete. Walls are painted, panelling in place, steps improved and the guttering is massively improved. But users of the subway will have noticed gaps in the panelling between the lights as the work is not yet finished.
We are expecting Skanska to complete the installation of new lighting in the subway in July and then the final panelling can be put in place with improved lighting.
In the last edition we reported that as well as extra carriages on the East London Line trains (five carriages rather than four), there would also be additional trains to Crystal Palace. This was based on a draft Business Plan produced by Transport for London in December. However, since that time it has become clear that although orders have been placed for the additional carriages, the extra trains may not be in the immediate plan for capacity improvements.
The timetable for the East London Line has been built with two gaps where additional services could be squeezed in every hour, giving us 10 trains to Canada Water rather then the current 8 trains, as well as the 6 trains to London Bridge at peak and 4 off-peak.
The Forest Hill Society believes that demand for East London Line trains justifies the increase in services as well as the lengthening of trains.
We are also concerned about recent rumours regarding the availability of trains in 2015-2016, while the Thameslink work takes place. It is possibly that this may include a year with no weekend services to London Bridge or Victoria, as well as some other cuts to services during weekdays. If true, these cancellations would place a huge strain on the East London Line, especially if additional trains are not being provided.
We will be pressing for the minimum reduction of service possible and some imaginative solutions to any reduction to capacity on the line to London Bridge. We know this is not just a problem that worries us but it also worries rail operators.
We will keep you informed of developments as details become available.
In other developments, Boris Johnson has started making more positive noises about a possible extension to the Bakerloo line. This issue was raised by Forest Hill Society vice chairman, Michael Abrahams, at People’s Question Time when Boris was in Catford.
Lewisham have already produce a viability report which prefers a route via the Old Kent Road to Lewisham, Catford, and possibly beyond. It now looks like TfL will be producing a report of their own to look at the economic benefit of the Bakerloo line extension and other transport enhancements in South East London.
At a time when the government is being encouraged to spend money on infrastructure projects, the Bakerloo line is one that makes economic sense to develop as soon as possible. It would be a boost to London’s economy and would benefit South East London for decades to come.