Southwark Rail Users Group (SRUG) LATEST NEWS
FIRST PUBLIC MEETING
SRUG held a lively and informative public meeting on 17th November 2008, about a range of issues facing local rail users. These included the imminent closure of the East Croydon-London Bridge service, the planned closure of the South London Line in 2012, the delays to the planning for the East London Line Extension through Peckham Rye to Clapham Junction, and the state of local stations. Over 70 people were present along with a representative from each of 6 railway companies, and two passenger watchdog organisations. It was a very fruitful discussion which has provided the basis for effective future dialogue. See here for minutes and web links including diagrams and meeting presentations. http://www.peckhamvision.org/brg/srug-meeting-notes-17-november-08. If you have any difficulty in accessing this, email SRUG@bellenden.net
The following are brief reports on news since the meeting, on some of the current issues in our local rail services. Detailed background to these and other issues can be found in the November 08 meeting minutes. There is also some information on the developing SRUG webpages at www.peckhamvision.org/brg/srug
EAST CROYDON – LONDON BRIDGE SERVICE via Peckham Rye
The off peak 2tph (trains per hour) service was stopped by the train operator Southern Rail in mid-December. A few trains still run during peak hours. There was an outcry as there was not adequate information and consultation and few users of the service knew about it until the last moment. Tessa Jowell MP carried out a user survey and we are promised the results soon. The franchise for Southern’s services is up for renewing this year, and she has written to the potential franchisees saying she will support any bid that reinstates the East Croydon link and looks at the uneven distribution of trains in the peak. Southern Rail are due to conduct a review of the new timetable in February. If you used this service, as a link through beyond to Gatwick, Brighton etc, as well as to Croydon itself, please email Tessa Jowell to give your views.
SOUTH LONDON LINE (SLL) Victoria – London Bridge via Peckham Rye
The rail industry still plan to stop the all day and evening 2tph service on the SLL, in 2012. It would cut the direct link between Denmark Hill and London Bridge, the direct link between Queens Rd and Victoria, and reduce the trains to London Bridge from Peckham Rye by two an hour. A major reason given for cutting the SLL is that there will not be enough terminating platforms space at London Bridge station after the rebuilding which is due to start in 2012. We discovered that it is in fact possible to increase the platform space to accommodate the SLL trains, and had this confirmed by Network Rail at the SRUG meeting. Assembly member Valerie Shawcross who was there, says she has now taken it up with Network Rail, TfL Rail and Dept of Transport, and it will also be included in the London Assembly Transport Committee’s recommendations on Rail Overcrowding. This report will be available at www.london.gov.uk/assembly/transport/index.jsp the week before the Assembly Transport Committee meeting on 12 February. The continuing strong feeling of local rail users is that due regard has not been given to the important roles the SLL plays in inner south London travel, and it needs to be kept and not stopped. If you want to support the campaign to keep this service make sure you see the Transport Committee’s report and email your views to email@example.com
EAST LONDON LINE EXTENSION phase 2 (ELLX2):
This service would bring TfL-run overground trains from Canada Water (interchange with Jubilee Line) to Clapham Junction via Queens Rd, Peckham Rye, Denmark Hill. There has been continuous wrangling between Mayor Boris Johnson and the Department of Transport on the last £30m of the £100m funding. These wrangles continue now with the Dept of Transport saying they will not pay their share unless TfL finds more money to build a new station at Surrey Canal Road in South Bermondsey. Decisions have to be made very soon if the extension can be built in time for 2012 the planned date. The ELLX2 continues to be used to justify the stopping of the SLL in 2012 even though it provides no services into central London stations, and can never therefore be a substitute for the crucial rail links into central London to London Bridge and Victoria. But the new service is welcome as it would fill the gap in the Orbital railway, and open up east and west routes from this part of London. Emails to the decision makers in this wrangle might help to get the wrangling stopped and the decision made in time email Geoff.Hoon@dft.gsi.gov.uk, AND firstname.lastname@example.org
PECKHAM RYE STATION
Southern Rail have in the last few months started some repair and improvement works, and the station has at last been included in the Government’s NSIP (National Station Improvement Work) for more substantial improvements. We have managed to make contact with the rail company managers of the programme to try to influence the quality of the work so it enhances its historic architecture rather than ruins it, and to create the beginning of a channel to the decision makers for users’ views on what changes are needed for station users.
SOUTH CENTRAL FRANCHISE
The Government decides which Train Operating Companies (TOCs) will operate the franchise for services in particular parts of the country, and has selected 4 TOCs to bid for the new South Central Franchise which will run from 2009 to 2015. These are Ned Railways, National Express, Stagecoach Rail, and Govia – the owner of Southern Rail, the current operator. The services are all those which run through Peckham Rye to London Bridge. This is the time to try to influence what these companies put in their bids to try to get the franchise. They are all keen to hear from local rail users about their travel needs and their views on the services. This is an opportunity not to miss if you are a rail user. Go online to get more info and give your views asap (18 Feb deadline).
Govia/Southern Railway http://www.yoursouthcentral.com
National Express http://www.nationalexpress.com/why_choose/nxl/yoursouthcentral
Ned Railways http://www.nedrailwayssouthcentral.co.uk/
Stagecoach Rail http://www.stagecoach.com/scg/about/bids/south_central/
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Southwark Rail Users Group
For further information email SRUG@bellenden.net