News: Transport

Herne Hill Station

Destination board showing delays

From 20 May, train times will change. In preparation for a total timetable revision at the end of the year, most train times in south east London will change, to start to take advantage of the new connections and signalling on Thameslink routes. All train times through Herne Hill will change, some earlier, some later, but not by much, and the overall number of services remains about the same. London Bridge will now have a restored and improved Thameslink service; and many small changes to wider services feeding into the Blackfriars to St Pancras section will be made.

It is claimed that the changes will both increase the number of services through central London, and make them more reliable.

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 generally poor 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 short-list.

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 the work at the major interchange at Farringdon almost finished. The start of service is still planned for 2018, but may slip into 2019. This 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. 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 2017. 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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