news, views and issues around Greenwich, Charlton, Blackheath and Woolwich, south-east London – what you won't read in Greenwich Time

Greenwich line rail users could suffer Olympic cuts

with 42 comments

Rail commuters on Southeastern’s Greenwich line may have to endure steep cuts to services during next summer’s Olympics, according to draft timetables put out to consultation by train operator Southeastern.

Passengers at Deptford and Westcombe Park stations could see weekday services cut to two trains per hour under the proposals, while Woolwich Dockyard faces being closed altogether during the Games.

Maze Hill station is likely to see trains stop only in one direction during most of the day, while there is due to be a cut in the number of trains serving Charlton – even though it is being advertised as the nearest mainline station for events taking place at the Dome.

On the Bexleyheath line, Kidbrooke station is set to see services drop to four trains each hour, instead of six.

The service cuts, planned by Southeastern and the Olympic Delivery Authority, were revealed to local rail user groups at a meeting at Thursday evening.

Southeastern is currently consulting on the timetables, but the consultation – which closes on 6 May – is involving user groups and local authorities rather than the general public.

normal service Olympics service
Deptford 6 trains/hour 2 trains/hour
Maze Hill 6 trains/hour not known no Kent-bound trains 06.13-12.13
no London-bound trains 12.15-21.45
Westcombe Park 6 trains/hour 2 trains/hour
Charlton 8 trains/hour not known No Charing X services via Lewisham
Woolwich Dockyard 6 trains/hour Station closed
Kidbrooke 6 trains/hour 4 trains/hour No trains to Dartford

Four stations – Greenwich, Charlton, Woolwich Arsenal and Blackheath – will be used as access points to Olympics venues, and services to those stations have not been revealed. Spectators will be directed to Cannon Street or Victoria stations to pick up trains to their destinations. The cuts to neighbouring stations are to allow trains to spend longer at Olympics stops dropping off and picking up passengers.

The service cuts are only likely to take place on weekdays. Saturdays will see a full service with additional trains, while Sundays will see a Saturday-level service provided with trains running from Cannon Street.

Southeastern says it will be operating at peak capacity during the Games, which begin on 27 July and continue to 12 August 2012. Olympics bosses are hoping Londoners will take time off or adopt different working patterns during the Games, which fall in some of the quietest weeks of the year for commuting.

No service cuts are planned for the Paralympics, although extra trains may run during the event, which will take place after the Olympics.

Written by Darryl

8 April, 2011 at 7:00 am

42 Responses

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  1. *facepalm*


    8 April, 2011 at 8:43 am

  2. Do you have anymore links to where you got this information? Thanks. :-).

    And any news about DLR services during the Olympics, as an alternative way of getting into Central London? I assume Greenwich trail station will be running as normal?


    8 April, 2011 at 8:56 am

  3. “Southeastern is currently consulting on the timetables, but the consultation – which closes on 6 May – is involving user groups and local authorities rather than the general public.”

    I.e. those people who couldn’t give a toss about the commuter as they as they keep paying up.

    Gary Williams

    8 April, 2011 at 9:06 am

  4. Er. Why are we seeing Southeastern *cut* services at a time when even we humble working (and retired) Londoners will surely need *more* transport services to get around, whether to keep London running or to join in with the Olympic games and surrounding activities?

    My guess is that this clearly demonstrates SouthEastern’s resource and management deficiencies.

    Does anyone here know which public bodies are being consulted, and whom we can contact to represent us?

    Chris Ferguson

    8 April, 2011 at 9:50 am

  5. On the subject of Olympics and transport – there is a very nice chap wandering around with a clipboard counting available car parking spaces. He has been seen at Westcombe Park and on Woolwich Common. You would have thought that a question to Greenwich Council – who have maps of such things would be easier.


    8 April, 2011 at 10:18 am

  6. Er…Why have they designated Greenwich station as an ‘access point’ when it is a 10min walk, via a busy road, to the Park whereas Maze Hill station is right next to it? Saying that, it’s a bonanza time for the pubs and eateries along that route.

    As for:
    “No London-bound trains 12.15-21.45″

    None at all? So to get to the centre in the evening, we East Greenwich types have to go to Greenwich station. Mmm.


    8 April, 2011 at 10:25 am

  7. Steve – or Westcombe Park. Oh yes, two trains per hour. Ooops.

    Maggie – is that to do with the Olympics, or is it a census thing?

    Lara – I’m hoping to get some Southeastern presentational material about this. No idea about the rest.

    Chris – Good question. It’s restricted to “stakeholders”. In practice, that’ll be local councils, MPs, maybe London Assembly members, and rail user groups.

    Two local groups were represented at last night’s meeting – the Charlton Rail Users’ Group, and the Westcombe Society.

    As far as I’m aware, councillors in Greenwich haven’t been made aware of this, even though I would expect the officers at the council know about this.

    It might be worth dropping your local councillors a line (Greenwich / Lewisham ), your MP, or a London Assembly member to raise it with the mayor.


    8 April, 2011 at 10:56 am

  8. Thanks for this Darryl, but its not from April 1 is it?

    You have events in the Park which presumably end after 1215. So you make sure the nearest station doesn’t have any train services to London. Good one.

    Thank god I no longer have to commute to London.

    The trains are crowded enough in the morning as it is, so cutting them will mean carnage, with passengers unable to get on and resulting in delays caused by people trying to squeeze on preventing the doors from being closed.

    Only Southeastern would have the brilliant idea of reducing services when there is a major event on/near their patch.

    And the poor sap commuter has the pleasure of paying inflation plus 2 or 3 percentage points for all this. And you have no way to complain as an individual (and anyway, we know what they’ll do with any complaints).

    All you lot who have to commute to town have my sympathy.

    Chris J.

    8 April, 2011 at 11:00 am

  9. Well if Greenwich Council didn’t know about this before, they certainly will now. Have pointed them here and asked them how we can oppose this.


    8 April, 2011 at 11:17 am

  10. It’d be worth contacting your local councillors on this rather than just pointing it out to the press office on Twitter – the councillors *should* have been told about this. If they haven’t, they may well be as angry as you and may demand the council opposes this.

    It’s also what they’re there for.


    8 April, 2011 at 11:27 am

  11. I’ve already knocked an e-mail out to one of my councillors (Charlton ward) who is also chair of the Transport Scrutiny group.

    Here’s his addie — gary.parker@greenwich.gov.uk

    Chris J.

    8 April, 2011 at 11:42 am

  12. You can let us know what you think about this Olympics timetable, and how it will affect you.

    London TravelWatch will be talking to Southeastern about it, so will make sure your views are heard. E-mail us at info@londontravelwatch.org.uk

    London TravelWatch

    London TravelWatch

    8 April, 2011 at 12:08 pm

  13. Darryl

    He was definitely checking parking bays for the Olympics, apparently they do not trust the Council’s records to be completely accurate.


    8 April, 2011 at 12:18 pm

  14. These two reports obtained from Transport for London recently under a FOI request may fill in some of the gaps.

    http://www.nogoe2012.com/downloads/2010-december-ODA-DLR-Legion-modelling.pdf [about 1,696 kb]

    http://www.nogoe2012.com/downloads/2010-september-DLR-CuttySark-sensitivity.pdf [about 4,747 kb]

    People living in Straightsmouth are in for several weeks of pure hell: 3,000 or so spectators taking two-three hours to pass your front door twice a day, every day of the Olympics – noise, litter, loss of privacy, disruption (people knocking on the door asking to use the loo or relieving themselves in plant pots) and possibly disorder (eg if it is pouring with rain or if there is a “security alert” – the Met Police say that all crowded places are prime terrorist targets). See all the references to Straightsmouth in the “Gamestime DLR Legion Modelling”, especially the last sentence of the document.

    “Straightsmouth will be heavily used by Olympic crowds at all times and therefore the council needs to be made aware of this.”

    These reports both seem to assume that vehicle traffic is made up of holograms, ie that pedestrians can just walk through them, not have to take it in turns with vehicles to use the road. There should be a third crowd-modelling survey report (Legion for Aimsun), one that measures the impact on road traffic – the road through Greenwich is of course an arterial route, and 80 per cent traffic through Greenwich is through (not local) traffic – of having such vast numbers of pedestrians crossing and re-crossing the roads or having to be marshalled along one lane.

    Control of pedestrian flow in the area between the railway stations and Greenwich Park is the responsibility of LOCOG, not of Transport for London; and Straightsmouth is likely to be used as one of the Met Police “holding pens” to prevent dangerous over-crowding at the railway station.

    The two others things to note are that neither report factors in ordinary (ie normal everyday) pedestrian traffic, and the assumption has been made that half the spectators will arrive by coach by the A2 to Blackheath, and the A2 is an arterial route as well.

    I don’t think there will be a bonanza for local pubs and restaurants because (a) the Olympics sponsors intend that spectators will spend every last cent inside the venue, (b) local businesses are going to have real problems getting deliveries to their shops, and (c) I read somewhere that the organisers are going to tell spectators to travel back as far as either Charing Cross or Canary Wharf before they look for somewhere to eat.


    8 April, 2011 at 12:19 pm

  15. I am not a fan of the Olympics full stop but to suggest that 1000s of horesy fans are going to kick off in Straightsmouth is wide of the mark. You have clearly never been to Badminton! 1000s of people attend Charlton every other week and mange to leave by one station.


    8 April, 2011 at 3:27 pm

  16. I have a strange vision of the flames of purgatory licking at the feet of all who enter Straightsmouth.,,


    8 April, 2011 at 4:47 pm

  17. @Richard

    Who said anything about horsey people kicking off in Straightsmouth? I didn’t. However, I am reminded that the Bullingdon Club draws/drew its membership from the same strata of society. And Straightsmouth is a one-lane road.

    Badminton has acres and acres of space, car-parking etc.

    As for Charlton football matches – a lot of people make the journey there and back without using that station – I know because I see them walking past where I live.


    8 April, 2011 at 6:16 pm

  18. I’m beginning to hate the Olympics even more – if that’s possible…

    scared of chives

    8 April, 2011 at 6:16 pm

  19. I dare say Southeastern will not be offering refunds to affected season ticket holders!


    8 April, 2011 at 7:15 pm

  20. If Charlton is one of the four “access point” stations, why would there be cuts (i.e. why have you included it in your table)?


    8 April, 2011 at 7:32 pm

  21. Southeastern haven’t come up with an answer to that, Steve.


    8 April, 2011 at 7:44 pm

  22. @Indigo

    I’m not sure what your actual problem is… you seem to be worried about “3,000 or so spectators taking two-three hours to pass your front door twice a day, every day of the Olympics – noise, litter, loss of privacy, disruption (people knocking on the door asking to use the loo or relieving themselves in plant pots) and possibly disorder (eg if it is pouring with rain or if there is a “security alert”)”… which I admit will not be great… but yet in a later post you cheerfully admit that, with regard to CAFC fans, “I see them walking past where I live” every other week with, I assume, not too many problems… so why do you seem to suggest that Olympic spectators will be so much more of a problematic and rowdy bunch than the football fans??

    P.S. Back to the main point of the post… the cuts to our local rail service are frankly outrageous… I can see no justification for them whatsoever, and shall certainly be contacting my local councillor… grrrrrr, again!!


    9 April, 2011 at 4:53 am

  23. @Ricci


    The Charlton fans don’t ALL go along my road, which is two-lane anyway, not one lane. And they don’t do it every day, twice a day for several weeks.


    9 April, 2011 at 12:18 pm

  24. Indigo-

    Final warning. Treat other commenters with respect, or you’re banned.


    9 April, 2011 at 1:14 pm

  25. Haha, it’s ok Darryl, but thanks…

    I realise that having so many people passing along our local streets will be annoying and an inconvenience, but I don’t expect ALL Olympic spectators will be travelling along the same roads either… people will be arriving from many destinations, from many different directions. And it is “only” for two weeks… whereas CAFC fans will be turning up every other weekend for, potentially, ever… but if I’m incorrect then I bow to your superior knowledge…

    Anyway, I guess this is just the differing opinions of those of us who are for and against the Olympics!!


    9 April, 2011 at 11:56 pm

  26. I used to live on the road that connects to Straightsmouth, Churchfields. Kicking out time on Friday and Saturday nights was invariably marked by a steady stream of drunken arguments past my front door (or more occasionally singing), so I think residents of Straightsmouth are right to be nervous.

    That said, like Ricci, I accept such inconvenience as the price of the Olympics coming to Greenwich, which I think will be an excellent venue (cue the barrage of stones aimed at my head).


    11 April, 2011 at 12:41 pm

  27. London Travel Watch are interested in views from the public about this proposed cuts. You can contact them in the following ways:

    Website: http://www.londontravelwatch.org.uk
    Email: info@londontravelwatch.org.uk
    Twitter: @LonTravelWatch


    11 April, 2011 at 11:09 pm

  28. […] Details of the disruption to Southeastern’s train timetables has been revealed in an exclusive report by Darryl Chamberlain at 853. […]

  29. […] a comment » Following on from last week’s story about planned rail service cuts during next summer’s Olympics, above is part of a graphic produced by Southeastern to explain these at a meeting last Thursday. […]

  30. Still waiting.

    End of southeastern consultation period comes closer.


    Time to write another email.


    29 April, 2011 at 12:22 am

  31. […] I recall correctly, it was this post in early April, that pointed out that the proposals were out for consultation, with a deadline for any responses […]

  32. […] what does it have to say about its plans to cut services on the Greenwich line during the Olympics? Well… nothing. There’s a line about there […]

  33. […] some press coverage… in the News Shopper and The Wharf. Only a month after the proposals were first revealed on this […]

  34. […] to see a story first broken on this website make it onto the tellybox – on Friday, ITV’s London Tonight featured […]

  35. […] rail company planned to axe two out of the eight trains which serve the station each hour as part of a package of cuts at local stops designed to […]

  36. […] rail company planned to axe two out of the eight trains which serve the station each hour as part of a package of cuts at local stops designed to […]

  37. […] has started a publicity campaign to warn passengers about its planned Olympic rail service cuts, but is remaining typically coy about its effects on passengers in the Greenwich area. […]

  38. […] plans, first revealed on this website in April, have been drawn up by Southeastern and the Olympic Delivery Authority. An early proposal to cut […]

  39. […] (though rumours the train passed a red signal are not true). We know Southeastern have decided to skip stations during the Olympics to keep the timetable, but are surprised to see them applying the principle across the network […]

  40. […] on Charlie Brooker’s 2011 Wipe), and a shedload of Southeastern stuff starting with Olympic train cuts, a story one local councillor refused to believe. Hopefully this particular chap will be more up to […]

  41. […] first revealed by this website 14 months ago, Woolwich Dockyard station will be completely closed, with Deptford and Westcombe Park losing […]

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