RAIL IMPROVEMENTS "NOW GOING IN REVERSE" SAY SYDENHAM SOCIETY – "We simply can’t allow our local train services to deteriorate."

RAIL IMPROVEMENTS “NOW GOING IN REVERSE” SAY SYDENHAM SOCIETY – “We simply can’t allow our local train services to deteriorate.”

Rail improvements are now going in reverse, say Sydenham Society in a damning editorial in the latest edition of their magazine.

Train fare rises have been put on hold for the next few years as part of the London Mayor’s election pledge. The result will be a severe cut back in rail spending on improvements to existing Overground services.

TfL plans to add two more Overground trains per hour terminating at Crystal Palace will not be implemented.

Southern have been consulting on a new timetable to start in May 2018 when Thameslink opens.

“The proposal is a marked deterioration in local services” say the Society.

“Late night trains from London Bridge have been severely reduced. Four trains have been taken out of service, including the vital 00.36, making this a half-hourly service after 10.30pm.

“So, forget catching those frequent late night trains if you have been in town for the evening, as they won’t exist in a few months’ time.

“And things are even worse if you head south. “There will be no trains at all between Norwood Junction and East Croydon, in either direction, during the morning peak.

“This means that passengers from our local stations will have to travel to West Croydon, which is hopeless if you are travelling on to Gatwick or Brighton.

“The first through-train from Sydenham to East Croydon will not be until 8.29am and the first through train in the other direction will be at 9.27am.”

Southern euphemistically describes these changes as a simplification, says Barry Milton of the Society’s roads and transport committee who wrote the editorial.

“The proposed service between Norwood Junction and East Croydon (in both directions) is bad, not just at the morning peak.

“The number of services running between these two stations outside of this period will also deteriorate sharply (from seven trains per hour in both directions to four per hour).

“We are effectively being cut off from East Croydon station in peak periods and the access it provides to destinations such as Gatwick and Brighton.

“And outside of the peak, the service to and from Norwood Junction has deteriorated markedly.

“At Penge East, the four direct morning trains to St Pancras International will cease, meaning a change at Herne Hill for those travelling to the city.

“The society has included criticisms of these changes in our submission to Southern’s timetable consultation. We now need to see a positive response.

“The Sydenham and Forest Hill Societies have had two face-to-face meetings with Southern in the last few months to discuss the new timetable.

“Thankfully the company has now dropped some of their sillier proposals such as stopping trains at every station for an extra minute or scrapping all trains to and from East Croydon.

“But there’s still a long way to go. “We simply can’t allow our local train services to deteriorate.

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