Blackheath Station – more carriages in the morning, and a lift at last

One issue that has been raised from time to time on the door step with David, Pat and I is the recent changes to the train timetable at Blackheath. While the number of off-peak trains to and from Blackheath has gone up, there has been a slight reduction in the number of trains from Blackheath to London between 8am and 9am and this caused some more crowding on services after the change was made in December 2009.

Nick Raynsford and I met with Southeastern in late March, and they announced that the most crowded train – the 8.48 from Blackheath to Charing Cross – will be made ten cars rather than eight cars long with effect from May 22nd. Southeastern also say that the long-awaited lift at Blackheath station will finally be installed in the summer of this year.

There are no timetable changes proposed, but apparently the crowding problems have eased- possibly because those who live elsewhere have stopped driving to Blackheath to catch trains. There has always been a problem with stations in Zone 3, such as Blackheath, being used by commuters from Kent driving up here and parking on local roads and caching a train to avoid higher fares by commuting by train all the way from Kent or wherever. Certainly the number of complaints about overcrowding I have received have gone down in recent months – and on my own commute via Blackheath station I have managed to get a seat or at least stand comfortably.

We will be watching closely what the effects are of the latest proposed change, and if necessary push for more substantial changes in the next timetable change in December 2010.

The timetable change was very good news for Maze Hill and Westcombe Park stations, but more mixed news for Blackheath. Southeastern have shown themselves to be more responsive than the old train operator Connex, which was widely derided as useless, so I hope that the service will be maintained and improved. I remember in the 1980s that Westcombe Park station only had two trains an hour in each direction in the daytime – it now has six – so we need to make sure that the levels of service we now take for granted are not cut.

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One Response to Blackheath Station – more carriages in the morning, and a lift at last

  1. Pingback: After 16 years as a Labour councillor in Blackheath and Westcombe Park, Alex Grant says thank you and goodbye | Blackheath Westcombe Labour

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