04 April 2015

Transport Update

London Bridge Station UpdateBy David McKenzie (Chair, Transport Committee)
6th February, 2015

You will no doubt be aware of the difficulties and disruptions affecting services on the Southern rail network as a consequence of the rebuilding of London Bridge station. The good news is that the rebuilding work on the southern side of the station is mostly complete. The bad news is that there is still one line down at Bermondsey until 2017, which is causing performance issues. Over the last few weeks, it seems that performance has improved (although infrastructure reliability remains a concern). However, Forest Hill passengers have been severely affected by the emergency withdrawal of 50% of Southern’s services during the evening peak hours.

The Forest Hill Society has been putting great pressure on Southern and Network Rail to fully reinstate the frequency of services to Forest Hill — as well as to improve on-time performance resulting from timetable changes — and we are hopeful that this will soon happen. We believe the Society is very effective at having its voice heard by Southern: for example, when it was announced that the 08:31 to London Bridge would be withdrawn starting in January, we successfully pressed for the 08:21 and 08:42 services to be consistently formed of 10 coaches, which is the maximum length possible that can be accommodated at Forest Hill station.

Our Response to London TravelWatch's London Overground Research Paper
By David McKenzie (Chair, Transport Committee)

On 31st October 2014, London TravelWatch published a research paper entitled ‘Value for money on London Overground — what passengers think’.* As a whole, the Forest Hill Society welcomes the recommendations in the paper. Key recommendations directly affecting Forest Hill are to:
• Upgrade London Overground ticket vending machines to allow the direct purchase of tickets to London Underground and DLR stations
• Eliminate gaps in the timetable to provide a ‘turn up and go’ timetable from first-to-last train on all days of the week
• Investigate the feasibility of providing extended canopies at busy stations
• Improve the amount and quality of information given to passengers, particularly in times of disruption and where multiple operators serve the same station

The Forest Hill Society will be especially pushing for the elimination of gaps in the timetable — particularly during the late-night service, which is quickly becoming sporadic and overcrowded. We would like to see the last Overground trains running as late as the last Southern trains (00:36 from London Bridge) or even later on Friday and Saturday nights in order to connect with the last Jubilee line trains at Canada Water (currently, the last southbound service to Forest Hill departs from Canada Water at 23:55).

On information provision, the Society attended a recent Lewisham Transport Liaison Committee meeting and pushed for a resolution to the issue of screens and announcements at Forest Hill station no longer stating the length of trains — this is particularly useful information when Southern services run with fewer coaches than expected.

* For the full article, visit www.londontravelwatch.org.uk. London TravelWatch is the passenger watchdog for all London transport users and is currently chaired by Stephen Locke, a resident of Honor Oak.

24-hour Overground in 2017?
By Michael Abrahams (Chair, Forest Hill Society)

In February, Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced that 24-hour services on the London Overground's East London Line will begin in 2017. However, these expanded night-time services would run only on Friday and Saturday nights.

While this is definitely a welcomed enhancement to services for South London, these services are only planned to cover the Overground section betwen Highbury & Islington and New Cross Gate. We believe that these services should continue further south to Crystal Palace or West Croydon all night, or at least until 2am. Over the next couple of years, we will be asking for serious consideration to be given to running these late-night trains as late as possible south of New Cross Gate.

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