16 December 2009
The following article has just appeared on East London Lines
Funeral for last direct train to Charing Cross
Last Saturday commuters marched through Charing Cross station laden with an empty coffin to mark the end of Southern railway’s Charing Cross service.
The protesters, many dressed in funereal black, had travelled into the West End on the last direct Sydenham to Charing Cross train.
From here on Southern services will terminate at London Bridge, forcing commuters who board at Brockley, New Cross Gate, Honor Oak Park, Sydenham and Forest Hill to change trains for Charing Cross.
Commuters opposed to the cut argue Southern’s Charing Cross service was vital to residents of southeast London, a claim supported by figures from the Office of Rail Regulation which show nearly 11 million people used that stretch of line in the 2007/8 financial year.
Dan Woods, 31, played the accordian during Saturday’s memorial. He said: “The train service has been getting increasingly worse and increasingly crowded. Now I take my bike into town. They’re doing a great job of promoting cycling by making the train service worse.”
His partner, Amy Ip, 30, added: “We’re both actors. If we’re working in town, we depend on the Charing Cross service, especially at night.”
The weekend’s protest was organisd by a collection of Lewisham civic groups angry at the service cuts. A petition for their campaign NoToTrainCuts has attracted 3,000 signatures so far.
Southern’s Charing Cross service was axed to make way for Britain’s fastest commuter train, SouthEastern’s Javelin, which shuttles between London and Kent at 140mph and began full service on Saturday.
Despite the cessation of the Southern service campaigners do not believe the battle is lost. Barry Milton, Chair of the Sydenham Society, said: “We believe we can still get the service resurrected.
“We’re trying to get the mayor of Lewisham and our MPs to go to the Department of Transport. If they want to get themselves reelected they need to get in and make them change their minds.”
Southern also plans to cut the number of trains traveling to London Bridge in the afternoons and evenings from six an hour to four to allow for the East London Line overground service due in May 2010. The ELL will run eight trains an hour.
A Transport for London (TfL) spokesman said: “TfL is not cutting any services. We are in fact extending the East London Line and it is because of this Southern has decided it can afford to cut their trains as fewer people will be using them.”
Mr Milton disagreed: “We love the East London Line, it’s the best thing to happen to us for years, but it’s only going to serve 30 per cent of commuters. We believe the core service must be retained.”
Southern say the cuts are out of their hands.
12 December 2009
A funeral procession, complete with coffin, will assemble on Platform 1, at 1 pm, at Forest Hill Station and will take the following train (back coach) to Charing Cross to mark our tragic loss.
13:09 - Sydenham
13:12 - Forest Hill
13:14 - Honor Oak Park
13:17 - Brockley
13:19 - New Cross Gate
13:26 - London Bridge
Ironically we will have to change trains at London Bridge due to Engineering works.
13:38 - London Bridge
13:47 - Charing Cross
Everyone affected by the unfortunate occurrence will be welcome come to the to the funeral, suitably dressed of course.
Funeral directors: Brockley Cross Action Group, the Brockley, Telegraph Hill, Sydenham and Forest Hill Societies
04 December 2009
10am-5pm – All Inn One – Dancing on Ice. The car park will be transformed into SE23’s only ice rink with skates of all sizes available for hire. Father Christmas will be there, as will carol singers and face painters. Food and drink a-plenty!
Father Christmas will also be at Question Bar 45/47 Dartmouth Road between 2 and 3.15pm. He will then do a walkabout in The Town Centre. Festive singing will be provided by the Youth Choir from Living Springs International Church
12-5pm - Craft Fair at The Hob, 7 Devonshire Road.
12-5pm, The Honor Oak, 1 St German’s Road - Tea & Make. Craft and the art of making-do. PLUS Celebrity Christmas Light switch-on at 5pm! (Special guest to be announced.)
Saturday, 12th & Sunday, 13th December - The Havelock Open Studios. The artists invite you to join the excitement and show your support for creativity in the community.
PLUS 11th December – 7-9pm - Opening Night. Barbecue, Music, Performance. They're also having a prize draw during the open studios to win one of three works of art - tickets £1 each. www.havelockwalk.com
Sunday, 13th December from 11am. Tree dressing in Mayow Park, by the pavilion. It would help us if you could bring any special scraps of fabric, coloured leaves, berries, paper, ribbon and glue with you. There’ll also be a Christmas Fair between 11am and 4pm with Father Christmas, a local choir and market stalls.
Sunday, 13th December – 3pm- 6pm. Horniman Gardens Carol Singing. Christmas really isn’t Christmas until you’ve sung your heart out at this fabulous annual event. The carols start at 5pm with the English Baroque Choir and Crystal Palace Band. But before that there’s festive fun with a FREE Santa’s grotto, refreshments, toy stalls, roasted chestnuts.