2018 Timetable Consultation (Southern) Mark 2

Today the second phase of the 2018 timetable consultation on Southern services has been launched. (@mods: I felt that this warrants a new thread for better readability but please feel free to combine with the old one if you prefer.)

Everyone relying on a daily commute by train, or even if only using it for a weekend day out, may want to set a bit of time aside to look at the detailed proposals and respond to the consultation:


A brief summary of what I’ve found at a first glance…

Firstly, the consultation report for the first phase shows that responses from people living on both the Forest Hill and the Catford Loop lines appear to have made a big impact. Forest Hill even made it into the Top 10 of station responses out of the whole Thameslink area stretching all the way from Brighton to Cambridge which I think is a great result.

In terms of the proposals, it looks like this has meant that at least some of them have been changed to our benefit:

  • Six trains between 8 and 9am from Forest Hill to London Bridge as opposed to the previously planned reduction to four
  • Direct trains to East Croydon stay albeit not during peak hours.
  • Four trains per hour from Crofton Park to Blackfriars are still part of the plan.

Some sticky issues with the old plan remain unchanged and have been explained as not resolvable i.e. we will see:

  • No more fast trains from New Cross Gate to East Croydon at all, and no Thameslink service.
  • Only four fast trains every hour between Norwood Junction to London Bridge, fewer than today.
  • No trains from Forest Hill to East Croydon during peak hours

On top of that, the journey checker tool reveals a few rather nasty surprises:

  • No trains at all between Norwood Junction and East Croydon between 7 and 8.30am!! And only two every hour late afternoon.
  • Journeys look like they will take longer on many routes, with some trains taking 12(!) minutes from New Cross Gate to London Bridge.
  • The first train from Forest Hill to London Bridge (5.27) and the last train back (00.36) look like they’ll disappear, although it says that there will be a separate consultation on “late night trains”
  • Trains from Catford/Crofton Park aren’t evenly spaced, but instead every 10/20 minutes.

I might have a bit more detailed look over next few weeks but any other finds in here, please!

Just for completion, here the thread for the previous consultation:


The first direct train to East Croydon is at 0825 during the late peak. I’m assuming Southern think will be ‘early’ enough for those employees who start work at 9am? However, Southern will be providing trains to Sutton instead in the morning peak, boosting the 4tph Overground services.

There were never direct trains to East Croydon during the evening peak which was never an issue, with a limited service from East Croydon to FH. Looking at the consultation, the only ‘peak’ service from EC will be the 1657 and services don’t return until 1957 which is a dramatic cut. I’m assuming Southern feel that season ticket holders will travel to West Croydon for Overground services which are more regular.

For those using the line at Catford or Crofton Park, the local commuter group who campaigned for a better service sets out on their website how to join them.

Apparently it needs at least 3,000 responding to the consultation in support for the improvement to happen.

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Just a reminder that the deadline to respond is the 27th July. To my best knowledge this will be the last (literally) chance to raise any concerns and any “non-response” will be taken as agreement with the proposals.

I’m not sure how relevant this is to many in this forum so apologies to all who don’t use trains for bringing this up again .

After having another look at the proposed timetable, there are cuts to our late night services.

The service drops to every 30 minutes from 2240 with the final train from London Bridge at 0010. The final service to East Croydon from FOH is at 2255 with the final service from East Croydon to Forest Hill at 2257.

So we also lose our current late night train from London Bridge and the final train from East Croydon is before 11pm.

Hi All,

Thank you to those of you that have responded to this already. As you will see, for Crofton Park and the Catford Loop, there is a great improvement in the current services.

Thameslink have agreed to provide a minimum of 4 trains an hour Monday - Friday all day (weekend services are being looked at separately) but we need to show there is enough public support for these services.

If you would like more information about this part of the consultation for this route, please visit our website here:

We can tell you, that after speaking with Thameslink the consultation for weekend services will come later in the year, so rest assured there will be an opportunity to comment on these too.

Also, please note that the consultation journey checker only shows DIRECT services, so if you currently make any journey where you change trains, then you need to search using the station you change at, not the final destination.

Thank you!

A Cinderella Line

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Looks like they are filling back in the hole at just after 6pm and the hole between 8:24am and 8:47am.

Their consultation is still comparing the timetable after the emergency timetable changes instead of to the original time timetable back in the day.

Can someone check this for me. In morning peak, the trains seem to start at either Crystal Palace or Norwood Junction (excluding the London Victoria one). Edit: I’m not actually sure where they start from currently. The timetable is very hard to decipher. So I’m not sure how it compares.

Finally had a look at the changes focusing on my peak travel times to/from London Bridge. It looks like there will be an extra service at peak hours which is great!

The “normal” trains i.e. the all-day ones are from Norwood Junction (or Croydon) and Victoria. The “extras” in the morning peak are from either Crystal Palace or Streatham Hill. I think one of them is new or rather reinstated from when they took it away a few years ago. This should be the one filling the gap as you’ve described.

Btw, does anyone remember the old 18:24 from London Bridge to Crystal Palace that left three minutes after a Victoria train? While the Victoria train was always rammed, the train behind usually gave the few punters using it a free choice of seat. Inevitably, they stopped running it.

Related topic on SE26.life:


Passengers wishing to get to Gatwick before the 8:25am train from Forest Hill will be able to travel via London Bridge (but it might cost more). Alternatively there are two ways to interchange at Croydon:

  1. Tram from West Croydon to East Croydon (may incur additional charge for leaving the rail network)
  2. From West Croydon get a train to Selhurst, then get a train from there to East Croydon, where you can pick up a semi-fast service to Gatwick.

While this isn’t ideal, it will only be a problem for south Londoners, so no one cares :disappointed_relieved:

It shouldn’t be impossible to provide some occasional services between Norwood Junction and East Croydon in the morning, so let’s hope there is some adjustment in the final timetable.

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Considering the number of occasions, when I used to commute to East Croydon, that I needed to change at Norwood Junction, this seems a requirement to me. There has been a history of treating the Forest Hill branch as the least important service, to the extent where there is a reduction at peak times! Seems like there is no change on this.

I’m not sure whether this already represents the outcome of the consultation but I haven’t seen any official announcement yet. If it does, then it looks like not enough people have raised their voice during the consultation to be considered and in this case I doubt that much will be changed at this stage.

However, I remain positive that the responses are still under review at this stage and it’s good to see the two local societies swinging into action - albeit a little bit late almost three months after start of the consultation!

I’m not sure this is fair. Sydenham and Forest Hill Society met with the timetable planners (for the second time) in June - in advance of the launch of phase 2, and provided some early feedback before the end of June. Our feedback on phase 2 was in addition to the feedback we provided in phase 1 - where our route had some of the highest responses to the consultation and ensured that thy did not remove all of our East Croydon services (but phase 2 still proposes the removal of some Norwood Junction to East Croydon services, which have a negative impact).

We did encourages feedback during the second phase of the consultation, particularly close to the end. And we now await the results of the phase 2 consultation (due in October), and the changes proposed by the rail companies in response to the feedback.


I’m pleased to hear this and wholly apologise for my criticism. My assumption was based on the linked article to Sydenham Society which was dated 16th September with a slightly surprising tone to it as if it was hot off the press information.
Thanks for all the effort anyway and still worth banging the drum!


If the existing East Croydon services aren’t reinstated in addition to those proposed, I’d suggest that GTR/Southern have some form of arrangement with TfL to allow free passage for rail ticket holders to use Tramlink between East and West Croydon.

Bus 197 will continue to serve East Croydon, but takes over 40 minutes, so isn’t really viable.

Feedback in from phase three of the consultation and we get to read such gems as:

Q: Why’s the journey between Forest Hill and London Bridge increased by 5 mins on such a short journey?
A: Due to other operators amending their timetables we have to run our trains earlier from Crystal Palace but due to platform availability at London Bridge we can’t arrive earlier.

On the positive side:

Q: We’re missing late trains from London Bridge to London Victoria via Crystal Palace at 2252, 2322 and 2355.
A: Additional later trains added leaving London Bridge at 2252, 2322 and 2355.

Which prevents the loss of certain services proposed by Southern and opposed by the Forest Hill Society.

But if you will permit me a short rant:
After however many years of disruption to London Bridge, how on earth do they find that there aren’t enough platforms to cater for the existing train services and our trains need to be held outside London Bridge for an extra 5 minutes to make way for the important service from outside London?

I’m still not entirely sure whether or not we will lose peak services to London and Croydon.

In the meantime I’ve had two trains so far this week running fast from New Cross Gate when they should have stopped at Forest Hill, and I’m getting fed up again with the appalling service from Southern and their disregard for passengers in inner London.


That does beggar belief. The whole point of the London Bridge works was to untangle the tracks so this didn’t happen. Would have thought most of the out of town services go through the high level?

This is very long standing Southern behaviour. As a former commuter to East Croydon had countless hours to contemplate this - it is worse still when you see your trains whizzing through without stopping to pick you up. My reading is that they have an incredibly short turn around time at the termini and so, if there is a delay, there is no slack in the timetable to recover from it. The only way is to run trains fast (if the focus is to improve your stats). Not a good excuse but it is a reason. They need to commit more trains!

Unfortunately,. this happens on a lot of TOCs. Thameslink/GoVia do this all the time.

All the same company - GTR.

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