TRAINS TO STOP FOR FIVE MINUTES AT CRYSTAL PALACE – and no trains direct from Sydenham to East Croydon – Sydenham Society fires major broadsides at Southern

TRAINS TO STOP FOR FIVE MINUTES AT CRYSTAL PALACE – and no trains direct from Sydenham to East Croydon – Sydenham Society fires major broadsides at Southern
 
Trains will stop for five minutes at Crystal Palace station – and there will be no trains running directly from Sydenham to East Croydon.

The proposals – among a raft of ideas Southern Rail put out before Christmas – have been roundly condemned by Sydenham Society.

In their winter 2016 newsletter the Society accuse Southern of having a cunning plan to stop their trains running late – their proposed new timetable allows trains to stop at each station for an extra minute.

And  every train on the Victoria to London Bridge line will stop for five minutes at Crystal Palace.

“This is more reminiscent of an 18th century stage coach service than a modern, inner city rail system. “Disastrous for passengers but great for Southern’s bottom line since they can more easily claim that all trains are running to schedule!”

Deadline for comments was December 8th.

The Society’s comments read as follows:

Southern Rail (who run our local train services from Sydenham to London Bridge and on the loop line to Victoria) have hardly covered themselves in glory over past months.

Unless of course, you count getting to the top of the charts of the most unpopular rail company in the UK and near riots of passengers at London Bridge and Victoria stations.

At the height of their problems earlier in the year, complaints about the company were running at over 5,000 per day.

When they recently announced a detailed public consultation about future services two years ahead of schedule, many jaundiced commuters jokingly pointed out that the consultation is the only thing that Southern had ever run on time in recent memory.

So what is Southern proposing for the future of our local lines?

The first proposal is to stop any direct services from Sydenham to East Croydon. Instead they aim to run all trains to West Croydon.

Of course, you can change at Norwood Junction instead (yes that’s the station without
lifts and perilous narrow steps down from the two outer platforms). From there you can catch a slow stopping train to Gatwick or Brighton – or maybe change again at East Croydon if you want a fast train.

If you want to take advantage of one of the six trains per hour into London Bridge during the morning rush hours, think again.

Southern aim to cut these to four trains per hour.

And if you’re concerned about Southern’s reputation for running late, don’t worry.

They’ve got a cunning solution for that as well. It’s to introduce a new timetable which allows their trains to saunter along the lines thus avoiding any perilous and costly fines from the rail regulator. This ruse is pretty simple. You introduce a new timetable which allows you to stop at each station for an extra minute.

Yes it’s going to add five minutes to journeys from Sydenham to London Bridge and over ten minutes to Victoria. But this isn’t about passengers – it’s all about the company’s bank balance.

This is a train operator that’s simply stopped thinking about customer service – it’s now all about saving the company money and avoiding service fines.

And to cap things off, how about this crazy idea which is part of Southern’s plan?

It’s to get every train on the Victoria to London Bridge line to stop for five minutes at Crystal Palace.

Yes, that’s right – you’ve just left Sydenham, but at the next stop, you sit on the train for five minutes admiring the splendour of Crystal Palace station.

This is more reminiscent of an 18th century stage coach service  than a modern, inner city rail system. Disastrous for passengers but great for Southern’s bottom line since they can more easily claim that all trains are running to schedule!

It is possible for us to affect the outcome of this consultation and the Sydenham Society is working hard with our local MP, GLA member and in meetings with Southern to influence these decisions.

Southern has told us they will think again about some of the proposed measures such as ending our East Croydon connection but only if they receive enough complaints.

A spokesperson for Southern’s parent company GTR told News From Crystal Palace: “Our recent performance has been poor and for that we are truly sorry. “Industrial action has had a devastating effect on our ability to provide a robust train service on a day to day basis.

“We are doing all we can to end these disputes. “We will be returning to a normal timetable from Tuesday 23 January.

“Phase 1 of the timetable consultation has closed and the 2018 team are now working on the detailed timetables following the huge amount of constructive feedback received. Phase 2 will be launched late spring/early summer when detailed timetables will be produced for further comment.

“The Sydenham Society article was published while the consultation was open, so we won’t comment on the details contained.”

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