Showing posts with label petition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label petition. Show all posts

17 April 2010

DfT Replies to Petition

We have received a disappointing reply from the Department of Transport acknowledging our petition. Few of our concerns have been addressed and rather than providing the leadership we called for, the DfT will merely 'not stand in the way of the operators'.

A fuller rebuttal will follow in due course.

Train Services on the Sydenham Corridor

Thank you for your letter and petition of 23rd March 2010 to Chris Mole MP regarding changes to train services on the Sydenham corridor. I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department of Transport.

As the Minister stated in the recent Parliamentary Debate on this issue, any changes to train services, however small, are often unpopular but he restated the view that overall the package of changes to be introduced this May will significantly enhance the service provided in this area of South East London.

When discussing these changes it is important that both East London Line and Southern services are considered together. The provision of an extra 8 East London Line trains an hour on this route, and the improved interchange opportunities this will bring will significantly alter the demand patterns seen today.

From most stations on the route train frequencies will double with many stations receiving 14 trains per hour in the morning peak compared to 6 or 7 today. This will reduce demand levels on existing services to London Bridge.

It will take some time for demand patterns to stabilise after the new services are introduced as passengers alter their travel habits to take account of the new journey opportunities that the line will bring.

We expect the ability to easily interchange with the Jubilee line at Canada Water to significantly alter current demand patterns. It is also very unlikely that the suppressed demand that you refer to from the RUS will emerge straight away. Such demand would normally materialise over a number of years that would accord with the extra train capacity delivered by 10 car trains that are to be introduced in 2012.

You raise a number of other points and I will seek to address each in turn

Charing Cross Services

As you are aware the withdrawal of late evening services to Charing Cross was necessitated by the complete rewrite of the Southeastern timetable as a result of the introduction of High Speed Services. Timetable planners at Network Rail, Southeaster, Southern, First Capital Connect and London Overground attempted for a number of years to develop a timetable that allowed these services to continue to operate, but it was not possible to find appropriate train paths that would allow these services to continue.

If in the future a way of timetabling these services to Charing Cross can be found the Department of Transport would not stand in the way of the operators of doing this.

However it is also important to note that the Jubilee line serves large areas of the West End and passengers may choose to travel via Canada Water interchanging with the 8 trains per hour service toward Sydenham.

Sydenham Services and the East London Line

As stated earlier it is important that the combined Southern and East London Line timetables are looked at together, alongside the improved interchange opportunities that the East London Line will offer.

We expect journey patterns in this part of London to alter significantly when extended East London Line services are introduced. For example passengers travelling to Canary Wharf from Sydenham are likely to travel via Canary Wharf [sic] rather than London Bridge, especially as the journey will be cheaper (avoiding Zone One). For passengers travelling to other stations on the Jubilee line we expect the significantly quicker interchange at Canada Water will mean a number of passengers will divert via this route. Other similar changes are also likely.

Given this we expect a reduction in the number of passengers using London Bridge services.

You suggest that Southern are reducing capacity from London Bridge in the evening peak. Southern will be operating the same number of services from London Bridge although two of those trains will operate fast from London Bridge to Norwood Junction. This has been necessitated by the difficulties in timetabling East London Line and Southern services together on the corridor. For passengers travelling to Norwood Junction and West Croydon we expect these faster services to be an attractive option and many passengers to use these fast trains, reducing demand levels on the remaining 4 slow line services.

Again this timetable has taken a number of years to develop and has involved Network Rail, Southern, First Capital Connect and London Overground. However, it has not proved possible to match all the available paths from London Bridge with those on the East London Line and through key bottlenecks such as Windmill Bridge junction.

We believe that a combination of
  • Some Norwood Junction (and beyond) passengers diverting to 'fast line' services
  • Some West End and most Canary Wharf passengers diverting to East London Line services via Canada Water
  • Additional East London Line services south of New Cross Gate
will reduce demand on evening peak Southern services from London Bridge.

The combined evening peak capacity on the 'slow lines' south of New Cross Gate will increase by around one third when the new timetable is introduced.

Southern are committed to keep this situation under review after the introduction of the new services and officials will liaise with Southern and London Overground on demand levels later this year. Again demand patterns on the revised services will take some time to stabilise as people try out the new journey opportunities.

If additional services or stops can be accommodated within the timetable in future the Department would not stand in the way of these being introduced.

Platform Lengthening

Network Rail are committed to a programme of platform lengthening on the Sydenham route (and across South London) that will allow trains with 25% more capacity - an additional 2 carriages - to stop at all station son the corridor, with works to be completed by 2012, in advance of the start of planned works at London Bridge.

Yours sincerely,
Matthew Lodge, Franchise Sponsor

23 March 2010

NoToTrainCuts! Petition Presented to DfT

Presentation of Petition
The Forest Hill Society has presented a petition containing 5594 signatures to Chris Mole MP, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at the Department for Transport.

Commuters on the Sydenham line are protesting further cuts in their service to London Bridge when the East London Line starts operation on 23 May 2010. Having already seen their morning services reduced from eight to six trains an hour in December 2008 and the cessation of direct services to Charing Cross in December 2009, they face the prospect of a further cut in capacity in May when the afternoon peak service is reduced from six to four trains an hour.

The petition, which was collected by members of various civic societies along the Sydenham line, called on the Department of Transport to maintain the current level of service through Forest Hill and restore the evening service to Charing Cross. When pressed on the matter Mr Mole was unable to confirm when any review would take place, nor when the December timetable would be drafted. However, he did take on board the point that we required leadership from the DfT to resolve the pathways to Charing Cross. A copy of the covering letter presented with the petition can be downloaded from here.

Jim Dowd MP, Caroline Pidgeon AM and Councillors Alex Feakes, John Russell and Phillip Peake joined some of the petitioners at the presentation.


17 November 2009

No To Train Cuts! - The Campaign moves up a gear

Our train services are under threat again from multiple fronts.

With the cross-party support of local politicians, the Forest Hill and Sydenham Societies have been running a campaign against proposed cuts to our service on one of Southern's busiest passenger routes. We have written to the Minister of Transport, both privately and in an open letter, requesting a meeting to discuss our concerns, but while we have had a reply, he has not yet agreed to a meeting. Over 1500 people have already signed our petition.

As a result, all the civic societies along the line will be leafletting their local stations demanding action. Brockley Central, Forest Hill and Sydenham Societies handed thousands of leaflets out today and HOPRA and the Telegraph Hill Society will leaflet Honor Oak Park and New Cross Gate tomorrow. We will be encouraging all the affected commuters to sign our petition at and write to their MP (either Joan Ruddock or Jim Dowd) asking them to raise this matter with the Minister for Transport.

What are the cuts?

In December, Southern Railways plans to cease service into Charing Cross station, terminating all services at London Bridge.. This is as a result of the DfT and SouthEastern Railways agreeing to exclusive access by SouthEastern Railways (also operated by Southern Railways' parent company GoVia). Southern have tried to smuggle this change in without any announcement; there is nothing on their website regarding this change in service despite the fact that they claim to have consulted widely in their official submission to ORR, the rail regulator. This off-peak service on one of south London's busiest lines has significant demand and there was supposed to be further investigation before the service to Charing Cross was altered.

As if this wasn't bad enough, Southern Railways plan to reduce the number of trains in the afternoon and off peak which serve the Sydenham line by making the Caterham and Sutton trains fast to Norwood Junction. This means that the number of trains will be reduced from six trains an hour to four trains an hour once the East London Line starts operation in May 2010.

Southern have previously argued that the Sydenham line requires eight trains an hour formed of 12 coaches in order to have sufficient capacity to take commuters to Central London, which is where the majority wish to travel. How can a reduction from six trains an hour to four be justified (regardless of the number of coaches)? They claim that we will have additional capacity, but official modelling of demand for the East London Line service predicts severe high peak crowding from day one.

The third threat to our services comes from the possible reinstatement of the South London Line service from Victoria to either Bellingham or London Bridge. One of the options currently being considered by TfL and Passenger Focus is to cancel our loop service from London Bridge to Victoria via Crystal Palace and replace it with one via Peckham Rye instead.

21 March 2009

Forest Hill Society eNewsletter - 21st March

A busy week in Forest Hill with the 23 Club, the Ward Assembly, and a visit to possibly the last section of canal in Forest Hill!

'23 Club' at The Old Bank – This Monday, 23rd March, 8pm

This Italian restaurant is situated close to Honor Oak Park Station. Booking is not necessary for this evening but do look out for other SE23 Club members. The Old Bank, 76-78 Honor Oak Park, SE23 1DY, Phone 8291 1738

View Larger Map

Dacres Wood – Sunday, 29th March, 2pm (BST)

As British Summer Time begins (at last) join us for a fantastic opportunity to take a look round this site which is not normally accessible to the public. As well as interesting flora and fauna, you will see one of the last surviving parts of the Croydon Canal. The tour will be led by Alona Sheridan and the local historian, Steve Grindlay. Sturdy shoes and appropriate outdoor clothes are recommended.

Meet in the grassy area in front of the reserve gates, (junction of Silverdale and Dacres Road).

View Larger Map

Forest Hill Pools

Over the next few months the council will be consulting about the future of the Forest Hill swimming pool. At present they are proposing two options;

1. Move the pool to Willow Way SE26 in 2011 and sell off the existing site for housing, or
2. Put the project on hold until 2012 before looking again at Option 2 (new build on existing site, retain Victorian frontage, cross subsidise from Willow Way) with possible delivery in 2015.

The Forest Hill Society favour the development of Work/Live units on the Willow Way to help fund a pool development on the existing site, but want this to happen considerably sooner than 2015. A petition has been put together which supports 'Keeping Swimming in Forest Hill ' which you may wish to sign at We understand that this petition has already collected over 170 signatures online and well over 1,000 on paper. More about this campaign group can be found at

Forest Hill Ward Assembly - Wednesday 25th March, 7:30pm

The Forest Hill Ward Assembly is an opportunity for residents living in Forest Hill ward to discuss issues that effect the local area, including the pools which is one of the items on the agenda. Further details of the Assembly can be found on the council website.

Venue: Living Springs International Church, 8-10 Devonshire Road , London SE23 3TJ (see Google StreetView)

17 March 2007

Transport Update

It has been a busy few months for the Transport Sub-Committee with the East London Line Extension at the top of the agenda. But road transport isn't far behind on our list of concerns.

ELL/London Overground
It has not been easy pinning down the facts! What we do know is that there will be 8 x 4-coach trains per hour in both directions, passing through Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park on their way to / from Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace / West Croydon. These trains will be similar to Suburban Rail stock but will have fewer seats so that more passengers can be carried during the Morning and Evening rush hours. The station at Canada Water will become a major interchange for passengers travelling to Canary Wharf. There is also an Interchange with Docklands Light Railway at Shadwell.

We also know that the current East London line will close on 23 December 2007 for rebuilding and upgrading.

But the big issue for us is that we believe that Southern trains to/from London Bridge station will be cut. We do not know by how many, but from conversations with Transport for London and documents available deep inside the Network Rail web site, we believe that the cuts will be by 2 or 3 trains per hour in the morning and evening rush hours as well as all day long.

A lot of lobbying has gone on. Len Duvall, London Assembly Member, Jim Dowd MP and Joan Ruddock MP are all well briefed as the result of much communication from us. At first, we were not certain they believed the facts and figures we were presenting them with. But we were able to prove that all our information came from reliable sources, using the Freedom of Information Act as well as thorough research of available public domain information.

We have also raised public awareness by distributing 2,500 leaflets at Honor Oak Park and Forest Hill stations in the run-up to Christmas, urging people to sign our online petition to Save our Train Service. More than 800 of you signed (thank you!) and we presented the petition to Transport for London at the end of January.

05 December 2006

Save Our Train Service

The Forest Hill Society is working with other local societies to oppose any cuts to the existing train service to London Bridge. Currently there are proposals to cut the London Bridge service by 2 trains an hour (from 6 to 4). We welcome the coming of the East London Line in 2010 but oppose any cuts to existing services to London Bridge and Victoria.

If you use the trains on a regular basis we would like you to complete our survey of rail usage. Network Rail is meant to be surveying passenger movements but we would like to get your input, so that we can understand passenger needs from our local stations.

In addition we would like you to write or email Jim Dowd MP. His address is House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA and his email address is We have prepared a sample letter for you to download for printing or cutting and pasting into email. Please feel free to adjust the text to reflect your own situation.

Alternatively you can sign our on-line petition.
Thank you for your support.