TfL plan to increase Overground trains per hour

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The full draft business plan can be found here:

https://tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/documents/finance-committee-item07-business-plan-2019.pdf

That excerpt is from page 103.

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Sounds great, until you realise that there are currently 16 per hour increasing to 18 is 15% in 1 year and 10% in 5 more years! And Southern keeps threatening to reduce.
Forest Hill will still have some of the busiest platforms in the country

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These are improvements we should have had a while back, the issue has been the release of the Class 378 trains used elsewhere on the Overground network which are being replaced by new trains.

I understand it’ll be initially an extra two trains per hour to and from Crystal Palace terminating at Dalston Junction. Any extra trains to West Croydon will have to wait for the major resignalling and track work in and around East Croydon which won’t be until 2023. Another two trains per hour will also go to Clapham Junction.

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Will these be additional to the existing service or will they replace the Victoria to London Bridge mainline trains?

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My question, too. The Overground trains are already overcrowded during rush hour and the interchange at Canada Water just keeps getting worse. I really hope we’re not losing any direct London Bridge services.

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I second the above comment.
The Overground on our route is hideously overcrowded at peak times.
Millions of commuters travel through Forest hill station every year (I googled it and its around 5.2 million people PA) and yet I feel we are treated like some unimportant branch railway line.
As I’ve mentioned before the London Bridge service is a lifeline for me coming home from an 8hour shift where I stand all day as I am always sure to get a seat on a train to FH where as by Canada Water the trains are always rammed and too often if your timing is ‘off’ you have to stand and wait for a ‘pointless’ (IMHO) New Cross train to come and go before getting on one that stops here.

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December 2020 is when the extra services will come in to effect. The first being extra service to Crystal Palace. I don’t believe it will be to the detriment to Southern services, but headway will have to be changed drastically. With another platform for use at Crystal Palace, it will be easy to add in another service in the southern end, in terms of northern terminus (ie Dalston/Highbury), that is another matter. Current agreement with union/staff is that there is a 6 minutes allowance for “changing ends & setting up” for drivers. That is the minimum amount of time a train can occupy a platform at Highbury or Dalston, so it will be quite interesting to see what will happen next year and how train planning department will deal with it.

BTW be careful with the semantics. When it’s said to be “2tph extra” to Crystal Palace, that’s one in each direction, it’s literally one extra train in each direction per hour.

Once Crossrail is opened, I think Whitechapel will become the new Canada Water, but doesn’t help those using it until it opens.

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There is always the law of unintended consequences. Added commuter throughput through Canada Water station as a result of more Overground trains, which Is already a nightmare in rush hour (and indeed signage advises avoiding the station during peak times), will need to be addressed. That station needs an urgent re-design.

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They are desperate for Crossrail to alleviate pressure at Canada Water. But I’ve got a sinking feeling it won’t. Just due to sheer volume of people already avoiding the Jubilee. So any freed up capacity will just be used up very quickly and we will be back to chaos.

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We badly need a better bus service here in SE23 that gets us somewhere useful.
At the moment we are very much at the mercy of the overground.
On Friday evening there was a signal faliure in Brockley which found me stuck when I got to Canada water…either get a train to Peckham and find my way home from there… or take a bus from Canada water to Brockley and again find a 122 bus there to bring me home.
I left work at 6.30pm and got home at 8.15pm :-1:
Saturday morning I got up to leave for work…Still no trains …I had to then get a bus to DKH and get a train from there to Canada water.
In this day and age in what is a London Postcode this is simply not good enough.
Forest Hill is Not a suburb We are still part of London we shouldn’t have to worry about not being able to get to and from work.
If I hadn’t minded the idea of a 90mins commute (time it takes when trains are down and I have to rely on busses only) to work I’d have moved out of London completely and had a bigger place to live for my money.
More than once in the past couple of months due to problems on the rail network its taken almost 2 hours for to get to or from work in the West end.
extending the 176 route to Oxford Circus (where bit used to terminate originally) or extending the 12 to Forest Hill station rather than terminating at dulwich library would certainly make living here feel a lot less isolated

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Overground again suspended to West Croydon and Crystal Palace due to signal failure. It always amuses me when they say a service is suspended while ‘we fix a signal problem at …’ If only they did fix them! Whatever they do doesn’t work …

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It’s semantics, when they say “whilst we fix a…” it’s TfL speak. It’s actually Network Rail fixing the problem, London Overground just deal with the customer backlash.Blame NR for doing shoddy work.

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In fifteen years of commuting in and around London, I’d say 8/10 issues I’ve experienced have been caused by unions or Network Rail (the state monopoly which owns the tracks, signals, overhead wires etc).

I rarely encounter problems directly caused by the private franchise operators who run the trains.

But is they private though?

The reality is the area is well serviced. 12 trains per hour. Recently refurbished London Bridge. Multiple ways to get home. Crofton Park, East Dulwich and Catford all a decent bus ride away. You can’t plan a public transport system around signal failures.

Every metropolitan city in the World, the public transport system is overcrowded between 7:45-9 and 5:30-7. It doesn’t matter how much you build or expand. All that results in is more people and/or people adjust their journeys who are currently avoiding those hours.

The only way to truly avoid it is get in to work at say 8am and leave before 5 or after 7. Having said that I always get a seat from London Bridge regardless of what time I leave work.

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I would never tell my colleagues at work that I always get a seat from my Zone 3 station in the morning rush hour to Central London. I wouldn’t want them all moving to Forest Hill after all :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

@Flora_Noris: I believe it actually means two more Overground trains per hour in each direction, without Southern services being reduced. It will probably make a difference to those who can’t get onto the train at all at stations like Brockley, but the trains will always be packed between 8 and 9 as they are almost everywhere in London (our London Bridge trains being one exception).

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I think he’s left out a few e.g. Arriva owned by Deutsche Bahn.

It is interesting how UK state monopolies are disapproved of by government in the UK, but apparently the monopolies of other states are welcome to run services.

In response many of us dont have the luxury of being able to do flexitime or chose our work hours.
I actually feel that the service is ‘ok’ on the trains with frequent enough services however we are dependent upon that one line in Forest Hill.
I think we could do with a bus route that at least links us to the central west end as at the moment there is no direct bus you have to change.

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There are many foreign state operators bidding to provide UK train operation services, and no single state has a monopoly on UK train operation. No monopoly, no problem :+1: