News: Transport

Buses

As part of the reduction of bus activity around Oxford Street involving changes to many bus routes, the No 3 route previously running to Oxford Circus now terminates in Whitehall. It is intended that the No 3 be extended to Russell Square in 2019.

Herne Hill Station

Destination board showing delays

Train services through Herne Hill got generally better in the summer…

After the dreadful winter, with driver shortages, unreliable new trains, and restrictions at London Bridge Station, the Thameslink services have improved over the summer – with the operator’s performance improving to its highest ever (but still below the original contractual ‘target’) and now much nearer (but still below) the national average. The operator Govia made a good effort to cope with the knock on effects and extra passengers resulting from the major track works outside London Bridge over the last week in August. While there are still troubles slotting trains in at Blackfriars, at least the new trains are more comfortable. 

Southeastern, too, has improved overall, with performance markedly better than a year ago, and now above the national average. As it happens, the franchise here is up for renewal in 2018, with the incumbent operator (owned by Abellio) one of the three remaining shortlisted bidders…

The other two bidders are Govia (responsible for Thameslink, and for the recent dreadful performance of Southern services through North Dulwich) and Stagecoach (currently struggling to cope following the acceptance of their unrealistically low bid for the East Coast Mainline services) – not a strong field. The forth shortlisted bidder, Trenitalia (from… you guessed it…) has dropped out. A pretty sorry, very short-list.

More train service restrictions at Christmas…

Work continues to complete the Thameslink improvements, and there will be no through trains between Blackfriars and St Pancras between Saturday 23 December and Monday 1 January 2018. Victoria services will be particularly busy 27 to 29 December due to restrictions elsewhere.

This should, however, bring to an end the major rail and station improvement works between South Bermondsey through to north of St Pancras, and herald a new era of efficient services.

Sometime in 2018…

Full implementation of the new signalling system to allow some 24 trains per hour each way between Blackfriars and St Pancras should happen early in 2018 – following the major battle a few years ago, these trains will include the Wimbledon Thameslink trains serving Herne Hill. There will also be some trains using the new link towards Peterborough and Cambridge direct from the Thameslink platforms at St Pancras. The January 2018 timetable has yet to be published.

The major works on construction the new rail line between Paddington and Liverpool Street – Crossrail, now to be known as the Elizabeth Line – are continuing, with most of the work at the major interchange at Farringdon almost finished. The start of service is still planned for 2018, but may slip into 2019.  his will allow Herne Hill train passengers direct access to the new services operating between Reading and Heathrow in the west, and Abbey Wood and Shenfield to the east.

As mentioned earlier, the South Eastern franchise including the Herne Hill to Victoria services (and the station staff at Herne Hill) runs out next year. The bidding process is planned to involve bids and award in mid 2018, with a ‘new’ operator providing ‘new’ services in December 2018.

Denmark Hill Station

The Herne Hill Society has been involved in a joint approach – co-ordinated by the Camberwell Society, and also involving the Dulwich Society and the SE5 Forum – to press the station operator GTR to investigate measures to ease the problems.

The station was redesigned and upgraded to ensure accessibility in a programme that concluded in 2013. But contrary to the expectations of many residents and station users, the redesign left it with only one entrance / exit, with the temporary access from Windsor Walk on the north side of the station removed after the access bridge and lifts were completed.

The works were completed just before the introduction of the TfL London Overground service linking Clapham, Peckham and Dalston. This new service has resulted in the passenger flows through the station increasing by over a half from 3.7 million in 2012/13, to 5.6 million in 2014/15. The station is now one of the busiest in south-east London with a mix of local residents commuting, interchanging passengers, and staff and visitors travelling to King’s and Maudsley hospitals.

A meeting was held between the local societies and representatives of GTR one evening in early June. All agreed there was a congestion problem, with arriving and departing passengers crowding the ramp and stairs, especially when two trains arrived at the same time.  While the staff do their best to keep passengers moving through the ticket gates, passengers queuing to buy tickets add to the crowding in the entrance. A proposal for a one-way passenger flow system was generally considered both unworkable, and to need extra staff. There was strong agreement that the best solution was to re-introduce the previous temporary entrance from Windsor Walk as a permanent feature, with the ticket gates remotely monitored from the main concourse. The challenge is now to build the consensus between the various interested parties, to develop a costed design, and to look down the back of the various corporate sofas for the money needed. Officially, the capital investment plans are fixed for the next few years, and the next rolling programme is some way off, but it is hoped that there is scope to combine funds from the operator, perhaps National Rail, and possibly TfL.

Reader Comments

Posted by Ted Brown November 09, 2015

Can you verify and refer me to your statement that a local road closure “has been crucial to the continuing regeneration of Herne Hill” as quoted by Andrew Gilligan, London Cycling Commissioner, in today’ London Evening Standard free newspaper (page 14, 9th November)?  Incidentally, though as a motorist I agree that the current closure of Loughborough Junction is temporarily inconvenient, as both a pedestrian and a cyclist, I support the new projects long-term benefits in creating a more pleasant environment, greater road safety, lowered life-threatening, dirty pollution and reduced noise.

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