Follow-up email from Vicky Foxcroft’s team today -
Thank you for contacting Vicky with your concerns regarding the recent reduced Southern Rail service between East Croydon and London Bridge which calls at Honor Oak Park and Brockley stations. Thanks also to the constituents who attended the meeting with Vicky and Govia Thameslink Rail on 23rd February- it was very useful to have your input.
Below is a summary of the points GTR raised along with the questions Vicky and constituents asked with GTR’s responses. We are hoping to convene another meeting with the rail operator in mid-April and again in May after the new timetable has been published. If you have any comments or questions for Vicky in the meantime, please do let me know by replying to this email.
Problems outlined by GTR that are affecting timetabling and services:
1. Crew availability: – due to long-term sick leave for some staff and a training backlog. They outlined that train drivers have regular training every 2 months which must be maintained. The recent cessation of services between HOP/Brockley and London Bridge was in part due to this.
2. Passenger Numbers: Passenger numbers are at around 50% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
3. Revenue Issues: Similar to the well-publicised problems TfL faces.
Questions from Vicky and constituents:
1. Q: How long is the reduced midweek service between Honor Oak/Brockley and London Bridge planned to be in place for?
2.A: At least until the introduction of the next timetable which comes into effect on 15th May. This depends on passenger number recovery.*
3. Q: What provisions can constituents expect to be in place to support weekday commuters?
4.A: The new timetable introduced from end of Feb has two East Croydon – London Bridge services per hour at peak times.*
*5. Q: **Is there any way to reduce disruption and increase services/train size on weekend services on this route?
6.A: Weekend services have not changed since pre-pandemic as passenger levels are what they were in 2019. Leisure travel demand remains high. No plans to change the service.
1. Q: Are there plans for the London Bridge – London Victoria direct route to be reinstated?
A: This will be revisited when the May timetable is being developed.
2. Q: It feels like routes here could be first to be cut. The East Croydon - London Bridge service is important to us.
A: Need to fix crew availability issues. Looking at passenger behaviour going forward to make decisions. Stakeholders will be consulted going forward if any big changes are made.
3. Q: When will analysis be made of passenger numbers? It is uncomfortable to travel on existing services and people are losing confidence in existing routes and using Overground/Thameslink. Worried that will affect existing trains.
A: Not using data from past few months to make decisions. East Croydon to London bridge service could be tracked for 6 months and that would provide analytics. Current behaviour is an anomaly and is not being used to track data.
4. Q: The cancellation of the Victoria-London Bridge service is disappointing. Changing at West Norwood is not accessible. What options are there?
A: Looking at alternative options to maintain good service. Will be revisited in May.
5. Q: How will the expiry of the franchise contract affect future plans?
A: The franchise will expire on 1st of April, and will either be renewed or the franchise will be run by the Operator of Last Resort.
** 4/21 – Arrange another meeting in early April after franchise contract is finalised.*
** 5/21 – TBC Arrange another meeting in May (with GTR or OoLR) when new timetable has been released.*