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11 September 2017

Fewer Trains — Not If We Can Help It!

Earlier this year Govia Thameslink Railways (which includes Southern) consulted on changes to be made to services from 2018. Together with the Sydenham Society we met with rail planners and discussed our concerns about the planned changes.

Initially, Southern were planning to remove extra peak services from our line, leaving just four trains per hour from Forest Hill to London Bridge. Local residents responded that they did not wish to lose peak services of six trains per hour, and these now appear to be safe.

The first draft of the consultation included plans to scrap all direct services from Forest Hill to East Croydon — diverting the existing services to West Croydon. Following our representations, we understand that the existing half-hourly services to East Croydon will be retained.

Nevertheless, three outstanding issues remain where we need to ensure that Southern does not cut our services, as proposed in the latest draft timetable:
Although most East Croydon trains will be retained, no trains are scheduled to run between Norwood Junction and East Croydon before 8:30am. At certain times of the day, particularly in the morning peak, passengers from Forest Hill would need to travel via London Bridge to get to East Croydon and beyond.
In the opposite direction — from East Croydon to Forest Hill — there will be no direct trains during the evening peak (as is the case today), but services between East Croydon and Norwood Junction will be reduced to half-hourly, making it harder to connect from East Croydon to Forest Hill.
There is to be a reduction in late-evening trains from London Bridge to Forest Hill, resulting in a half-hourly service after 10:30pm.

We had hoped that the completion of the Thameslink upgrade would mean a better service for South Londoners, but in the latest plans this is not the case. We will continue to fight to retain our train services and look for further improvements, such as upgrading all Southern’s services via Forest Hill to 10-carriage trains.

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