12 December 2007

Save our Services

The Forest Hill Society is joining forces with the Sydenham Society as we step up our campaign to oppose cuts to our rail services.

Our area is being asked to pay a high price for the new East London Line extension. The current timetable review proposes cutting the current number of trains to and from London Bridge by a quarter. In the evening, through-trains from Charing Cross will be scrapped. On top of this, the twice-hourly service from London Bridge to Victoria may also be axed.

The Societies are jointly lobbying our local MP, Jim Dowd, our London Assembly member, Len Duval, and several others about the loss of trains to/from London Bridge and the cancellation of through trains to/from Charing Cross in the evening. Part of this lobby effort concerns the possible cancellation of the London Bridge to Victoria loop trains.

Although many people use this service, when the East London Line extension opens in 2010, there will potentially be a better service, starting much earlier in the day. However, it will involve a change of trains at Crystal Palace in both directions. We are lobbying to find out what any possible rebuild at Crystal Palace will involve since accessibility is, obviously, a concern there.

At the same time, we have issued a press release highlighting our campaign. We will be presenting the petition – which now has over a thousand signatures – to Network Rail and Jim Dowd MP.

We still feel our efforts should be concentrated on resisting cuts to our London Bridge services. The big problem is that London Bridge will be losing up to 3 'terminal' platforms to accommodate the Thameslink 2000 services that will run from St Albans to Brighton. But that service will not benefit any Forest Hill or Sydenham residents unless some trains stop at New Cross Gate. At the moment, there is no indication that this will happen. We will continue lobbying.

The East London line will be closing on 22nd December until it reopens in June 2010.

Then there will be 8 trains an hour of 4 carriages each in both directions, passing through Forest Hill and Sydenham, on their way to West Croydon (4tph) and Crystal Palace (4tph) in the south and Dalston Junction in the north (8tph). These trains will be part of Transport for London's network and will be called the London Overground. At last, Forest Hill will be on the Tube map. Also, although not directly a Forest Hill affair, TfL took over the running of the North London line on 11th November. There will be a link at Highbury and Islington with the ELL when the northern extension is opened in February 2011.

Elsewhere, the Transport Sub-Committee is looking into the water leak onto Honor Oak Road from the Havelock House flats area; the continuing problems with traffic passing through Forest Hill on the South Circular Road, particularly the dangers to pedestrians crossing the road outside Forest Hill station; the continued speeding in Perry Rise; the need for Yellow Box junctions on the South Circular outside Forest Hill Station and probably at the bottom of Honor Oak Road. We’ll report back on results in the next Newsletter.

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