Southeastern draft 2015 timetables: lucky Lewisham?

January 2015 will see some huge changes to rail services in Lewisham and indeed much else of south-east London. From The Murky Depths has already covered this in some depth so do have a read.

Screenshot of Southeastern January 2015 draft timetable web siteOr dive straight into the timetables themselves on Southeastern’s site, but be warned this is not much fun for those of us living somewhere with more than one line passing through it as they’re presented as entirely separate PDFs, making it very tricky to get an overview of all services through Lewisham, for instance.

Undoubtedly the complete inability to change between Charing Cross and Cannon Street services at London Bridge will give people a major headache over the three years of major work at London Bridge that prevents these interchanges – yet in a set of timetables that for many will be grim reading, there are good news stories too and indeed Lewisham could feasibly be the luckiest station on the Southeastern network, notwithstanding its access issues of course!

For a start, Lewisham is well served by services destined for each of Charing Cross and Cannon Street, so the lack of interchange between these at London Bridge will pose less of a problem for locals. The main impact on us may well be people travelling from the lines feeding through Lewisham to London choosing to change at Lewisham for their desired terminus – be prepared for busier platforms.

Victorious

But this isn’t merely a case of us not being too affected by the bad news; the draft timetable for the Bexleyheath line (PDF) brings delightful, long-overdue and very welcome news too: our Victoria service is at last becoming a fully-fledged, all-day, seven-day-a-week route.

Every half an hour, Monday to Sunday, right through until typical service-end times at about midnight, Lewisham will be properly connected to:

  • Nunhead (for e.g. Thameslink services)
  • Peckham Rye (for e.g. Southern services)
  • Denmark Hill (for e.g. London Overground services) and
  • London Victoria itself, with its multitude of other services and Underground connections – somewhere it’s currently possible to head out to in the early evening but not back from past about 8pm (or indeed at any time on a Sunday).

These places are also destinations in themselves of course, not just of use for interchange. As long as improved connections to Denmark Hill don’t see Jeremy Hunt coming back for a second go at downgrading Lewisham Hospital and directing us to King’s College Hospital instead, it’s hard to see a downside!

Bexleyheath byproduct

The people most drastically affected by this generally excellent news are those living along the Bexleyheath line. Their current timetable (PDF) on a Sunday gives them a train to Charing Cross every half an hour, whereas their new Sunday timetable is 100% different, with no Charing Cross services but instead a half-hourly Victoria service all day – a pretty significant change from one week to the next. On the brighter side, the extension of the existing Mon-Sat Victoria service into the evenings means the evening service on those days doubles for Bexleyheath line-dwellers as these are simply added onto the half-hourly Charing Cross trains they already have.

Lesser-spotted Blackfriars service

A final oddity worth noting in the new timetable is Lewisham gaining a rather rarer but still potentially useful direct link to another key London terminus: Blackfriars (via Peckham Rye, Denmark Hill and Elephant & Castle). Don’t get too excited as the service levels don’t even come close to matching those of the current Victoria service, let alone the future: here’s the entire Lewisham to Blackfriars timetable for the week:

Monday-Friday from January 2015 – to London

Lewisham 08.03 08.23
Peckham Rye 08.10 ——
Denmark Hill 08.13 08.31
Elephant & Castle 08.20 08.39
London Blackfriars 08.29 08.49

Monday-Friday from January 2015 – from London

London Blackfriars 16.18
Elephant & Castle 16.23
Denmark Hill 16.29
Peckham Rye 16.31
Lewisham 16.37

(For details of stations served further out than Lewisham, see the full timetable PDF here.)

Yes, that’s all there is – a service level more akin to a 600-range TfL school bus than a rail service! Nevertheless, it could be useful on occasion and does mean from Lewisham you’ll be able to travel directly to six London termini (London Bridge, Charing Cross, Waterloo via Waterloo East, Cannon Street, Victoria and Blackfriars).

Lewisham's central London rail network from January 2015

Zones 1-2 lines and stations directly served at least once per weekday by Lewisham trains from January 2015 are highlighted on this map

So all in all, despite the pain at London Bridge (which will surely be worth it by 2018 to make using that station more pleasant and ease congestion at one of the worst pinch-points in the whole UK rail network), I’d say Lewisham comes out pretty well from these draft timetables – would you agree?

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3 Responses

  1. […] SE13ure on London Bridge timetables […]

  2. Agree. Glad that we will have these improvements! it will highly benefit the whole area, so folks just be patient…

  3. […] I covered the major changes to Southeastern railway timetables which kick off on 12 January back when they were at consultation stage. I don’t think much changed between consultation and reality (correct me if I’m wrong!) so you can still refer back to that old post to get the gist of how it affects Lewisham. (In summary, we escape much of the inconvenience others may be enduring, and gain more Victoria services.) […]

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