Following extensive lobbying, Rt Hon Sir David Evennett MP and Louie French MP have welcomed the reinstatement of direct off-peak services to Charing Cross on the Bexleyheath line.
The new service, which is in addition to services on the current timetable, will run hourly Monday to Saturday and is planned to be effective from 22nd May 2023.
Since the announcement of the timetable changes last year, Sir David and Louie have tirelessly campaigned for the reinstatement of off-peak Charing Cross services on the Bexleyheath line and have consistently emphasised the importance of these services for local residents. This includes passengers using the services for leisure in the West End, health appointments, school and work.
These new services from May will not only benefit passengers on the Bexleyheath line, but also on the Sidcup line as it has been noted that many passengers who previously used the Bexleyheath line for Charing Cross services have transferred to the Sidcup line since the new timetable. This new travel pattern has contributed to the overcrowding of these services on the Sidcup line and it is therefore hoped that the reinstatement will help reduce overcrowding, coupled with the new Sidcup line service added in February during peak hours.
Commenting, Louie said:
“The reinstatement of off-peak Charing Cross services for passengers using Falconwood and Welling Station is a significant step in the right direction. This important change will help reduce overcrowding, cut journey times, and means fewer passengers will have to change stations at London Bridge to access the West End. This is particularly important for those with limited mobility and elderly passengers.”
“I recognise there are more changes to continue to fight for to ensure the timetable delivers for the needs of all Bexley passengers. This includes more peak times services, more trains serving Albany Park Station and more services to Abbey Wood on the Sidcup line."
"This is alongside the need for urgent improvements to Network Rail’s infrastructure and signalling, which have caused major disruption for passengers on both the Bexleyheath and Sidcup line in recent months.”
Commenting, Sir David said:
“I am absolutely delighted that Southeastern and the Rail Minister, Huw Merriman MP, have listened to our concerns and campaign for the restoration of the hourly off-peak rail service on the Bexleyheath line.”
“The views of the rail travelling public in our area have now been taken into consideration and I know the restoration of the Charing Cross service will be widely welcomed by all who travel on the Bexleyheath line.”
“I am grateful to Southeastern and the Rail Minister for engaging with us and listening to the views of our constituents.”