Louie French MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup and Sir David Evennett MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford met with Southeastern Managing Director and his team to express their anger at the Southeastern timetable changes.
Louie and Sir David expressed their concern over the lack of consultation and the impact of the changes, in particular the loss of Charing Cross services on the Bexleyheath line, loss of the Sidcup loop line and the reduction of Albany Park services.
Louie and Sir David questioned the reasoning and necessity of the removal of Charing Cross services on the Bexleyheath line. Southeastern outlined that this was to ensure that fewer trains would have to cross at the problematic Lewisham junction by two-thirds, thereby improving reliability. However, Louie and Sir David still emphasised the importance of these services and the drastic nature of the decision to completely remove these services rather than reducing them slightly.
Southeastern reiterated that this is just the next timetable not an ‘end of state timetable’ and they will take into serious consideration Louie and Sir David’s representations from the meeting, as well as the results from Louie’s survey on the timetable changes.
Following on from Louie’s representations at his previous meeting with Southeastern, they confirmed that they are undertaking an Equality Impact Assessment which will be published before the timetable goes live which Louie will continue to monitor closely given the significant impact of these changes. Southeastern also outlined measures they are taking to help with accessibility under these changes including extra assistance staff at London Bridge Station.
Commenting, Louie said:
“I remain very concerned and disappointed over Southeastern’s timetable changes and the impact these will have on passengers. In particular, I am concerned over the significant impact of the loss of off-peak Charing Cross services on the Bexleyheath line, the loss of the loop line on the Sidcup line and the significant reduction in Albany Park services. Sir David and I used this meeting with Southeastern to push back against these changes.
“Given that Bexley does not benefit from direct access to the Underground, rail services are the principle means of transport into and out of London, as well as for travelling to other areas in the South East. As such, it is important that our frequency and links to a range of Central London stations is preserved, and Sir David and I will continue to stand up for this.”
Sir David commented: “Quite frankly these changes are inconsiderate, unfair and lack any logic. Not only will the new timetable result in significant disruption for commuters to Charing Cross travelling outside of peak hours, but will also have a considerable impact on those travelling for leisure at the weekends, where the main destination would traditionally be Charing Cross. Additionally, the requirement to change trains at London Bridge will add unnecessary stress and time for passengers requiring assistance. I have urged Southeastern to reconsider and at least look at the possibility of adding some additional services”.