Olympic rail cuts: Southeastern starts to own up

Southeastern 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. There’s an new page on its website – www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/olympics – although this isn’t linked from the main front page as I type, it being full of guff about trains to the Open golf. But posters are appearing at stations – thanks to Diamond Geezer for this photo from Herne Hill, referring slyly to “altered timetables”.

Inside, you can find the full planned timetable for the Greenwich, Bexleyheath and Sidcup lines for the Olympics period.

Despite objections from passengers, politicians, watchdogs, and Greenwich and Lewisham councils, the timetable is largely unchanged from the one showed to rail user groups during Southeastern’s “full consultation” period – with cuts to train services at Deptford, Maze Hill, Westcombe Park and Kidbrooke, and the complete closure of Woolwich Dockyard station lest it be confused with Woolwich Arsenal.

The only concession made during the “full consultation” is the reversal of cuts to trains at Charlton station, which always seemed particularly daft considering Charlton is the station for the Dome (North Greenwich Arena).

Charlton is the only station in the area to have a rail users’ group, and I understand there are moves to set up a group for Maze Hill and Westcombe Park to look after their interests.

On the up side, there are some extra late services on the Greenwich line.

However, the schedules are still liable to change – and I suspect Southeastern may be covering itself against demands for compensation by aggrieved passengers by publishing the timetables now. “Please note that anyone purchasing an annual season ticket from 27 July 2011 may be affected by the proposed Olympic timetable changes.”


  1. stargazingmadesimpleMark

    How much effort would be involved in setting up a co-op organisation to challenge SE’s franchise and run the thing ourselves?

  2. Abstractnoise

    Interesting idea re franchise!

    Re Olympic timetable “announcements” – I was promised an email by John Cooper (or a colleague of his whose name I didn’t catch) about Olympics and other issues after I talked at length with three reps at the last Cannon Street Meet the Manager. Contrary to hopes and promises, and in line with expectations and previous form, I’ve heard nothing.

    From what I recall of the conversations, the three guys I spoke to were largely sympathetic to my concerns, and seemed to think them based in good common sense. All well and good, but for the lack of follow-up and having to deal with so many others in the organisation who don’t share the same view.

    Based on this experience and some other horrendous situations I’ve been subjected to during the last month, I’ve written to Southeastern asking for a face-to-face meeting with Charles Horton, stating that the meeting should result in publishable, measurable and publically-accountable action points to be put into immediate effect and to be reviewed in an appropriate timeframe – about 3-6 months should do it.

    Maybe sufficient pressure could result in some kind of u-turn either on current service/policy or on Olympic provision. If it doesn’t, I see a move away from SE10 in our near future.

  3. Darryl

    Worth remembering the Southeastern franchise runs out in 2014 – the process of finding a replacement and fixing its broken business model (expecting high speed trains in deepest Kent to subsidise the rest) will begin later this year.

  4. Lara Ruffle

    “I understand there are moves to set up a group for Maze Hill and Westcombe Park to look after their interests.” <<< Chris and myself. :D.

    Regarding the franchise – I vote for Serco to put in a bid.

    Chris – Don't give up!

  5. Darryl

    Serco not universally popular as operators of the DLR (and the Woolwich Ferry).

    London users should be pressing for TfL to take the metro lines on, just as Silverlink was split into London Overground and London Midland. Kent users can make their own choices about whether they want a privatised railway or not.

  6. J J

    Nobody asked the people of London if they wanted the Olympics because they knew the answer would be a resounding NO.

    So why would anyone give a monkeys if we do not have any train services during the Olympics.
    And naturally the roads will all be blocked so that the ‘athletes’ and their ‘hangers on’ can drive anywhere they want in the ‘special lanes’.

    The legacy of the games is for us, our children and probably their children, to pay for these games that no-one wanted.

    I still hope the games will be cancelled!

  7. Lara Ruffle

    Steve – Hello, want to DM me your email on Twitter? Chris and myself are getting advice from the Charlton RUG if you would like to join us.

  8. Kevin

    History has shown it is not in the interest for a TOC to run the railway for the passengers benefit and their tenure is nearly over so I am not surprised by Southeastern’s attitude towards passengers. It seems they are just out to make as much money as possible and to move on to the next railway Franchise they can bag.

  9. Steve

    JJ: “Nobody asked the people of London if they wanted the Olympics because they knew the answer would be a resounding NO.”

    LBC: Will the 2012 Olympics be an incredible event for London?
    Yes – 74.3%
    No – 25.7%

    Ipsos: 69% of Londoners support London hosting the 2012 Olympic games.

    YouGov: 57 per cent of Londoners believe the 2012 Games will be good for London. 29 per cent disagree.

    JJ: “And naturally the roads will all be blocked so that the ‘athletes’ and their ‘hangers on’ can drive anywhere they want in the ‘special lanes’.”


    The Olympic Road Network: http://www.sme7.com/sme/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/ornoverview.jpg

    Only some of the red routes are fully closed (and in Greenwich, these are just two minor roads around the Park), while others will be open for public use and will also have greater priority to keep the traffic moving. We have also been given a full 18 months notice of the road restrictions.

    Seriously, it’s as if they have thought about it.

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