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Rail passengers using Southeastern services are being urged to check before they travel as a major timetable change comes into effect from Monday 12 January.

On that date work will start on Southeastern’s platforms at London Bridge as part of the £6.5 billion government-sponsored Thameslink Programme – which will dramatically increase capacity on one of Europe’s busiest stretches of railway once complete.

As a result, Hastings to London Bridge via the Charing Cross services will be unable to stop at the station until August 2016 whilst these works are carried out. The new timetable from Southeastern includes service changes required to accommodate the construction work and also includes new long-term improvements that provide extra services and new journey opportunities.

The principal changes to services to accommodate the Thameslink Programme include:southeastern-CharingX1-trains

  • Charing Cross trains won’t stop at London Bridge from January 2015 until August 2016. If passengers need London Bridge they should catch a Cannon Street service or interchange enroute.
  • Charing Cross services to and from New Cross, St Johns, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill and Westcombe Park will be permanently diverted to and from Cannon Street. There will be fewer peak trains (two fewer trains in the morning peak, and four fewer trains in the evening peak). The line will be served by longer trains to boost capacity in peak hours
  • Charing Cross services to Plumstead, Woolwich Dockyard, Belvedere and Erith will also be diverted to run to/from Cannon Street
  • Some trains will be diverted to or from an alternative London terminal
  • Longer metro trains to increase capacity
  • Longer opening hours for Cannon Street station (0500-0100), including all day opening on Sundays. (Cannon Street tube station to also offer longer opening hours)
  • Diversion of some trains from Rochester, Broadstairs, Ashford, Dover and Orpington into London Blackfriars
  • Since 20 December, Rochester to Bedford and Ashford to Bedford services (and vice versa) will start and terminate at London Blackfriars

Long-term service improvements include a new fast service from Hastings to Charing Cross departing at 0804 and a Charing Cross to Hastings service departing at 1620, offering a 90 minute journey time

Southeastern has informed us that they are working together with the transport industry to co-ordinate planning and an arrangement is in place for rail tickets to be accepted on specific London Underground, bus and Docklands Light Railway routes to ensure that passengers can get to London Bridge at no extra charge while Network Rail is doing this crucial work. More details can be found on the Southeastern website.

David Statham, managing director of Southeastern, said: “The project to rebuild London Bridge station will provide a brand new station with a concourse the size of the pitch at Wembley Stadium, new journey opportunities to the north and south of England, and it will untangle the railway lines to remove the bottleneck we experience today.

“This will however, mean our passengers, particularly those who use London Bridge station will need to change their travel patterns while the work is carried out. Our new timetable is designed to provide a service that meets demand at a time when track capacity has much reduced, whilst also providing new journey opportunities, longer trains and later services.

“We consulted with our customers and stakeholders to develop our plans and this timetable balances the competing needs of passengers with the infrastructure constraints.”

Passengers can check for changes to their services at www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/thameslink/january2015/.

Southeastern trains 2015 timetable published.

Southeastern has today published the proposed timetable for January 2015 at www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/your-journey/timetables/januarytimetable/, giving passengers advance notice about upcoming improvements to services and the changes needed to accommodate construction work at London Bridge station.

The work at London Bridge is part of the £6.5 billion government-sponsored Thameslink Programme – which will dramatically increase capacity on one of Europe’s busiest stretches of railway.

Once complete, the station will include new platforms for more trains and a huge new concourse. Work will also commence on untangling the track southeastern-CharingX1-trainsoutside the station, which will reduce delays from trains crossing pathways and waiting outside the station for platforms to clear.

From January 2015, work will commence on Southeastern’s platforms 4, 5 and 6 and the approaching track and signalling. Southeastern’s new timetable includes the service changes required for when construction work starts and also provides new long-term improvements developed to provide extra services and new journey opportunities.

The Southeastern trains 2015 timetable has been developed following consultation with passengers and stakeholders.

The principal changes to services to accommodate the Thameslink construction include:

  • Charing Cross trains won’t stop at London Bridge from January 2015 until August 2016. Then Cannon Street trains won’t stop there until early 2018
  • Greenwich line services will no longer run direct to Charing Cross and will only run to Cannon Street, and there will be fewer peak trains (one less train in the morning peak, and three less trains in the evening peak). The line will be served by longer trains to boost capacity in the peak hour
  • New Cross and St Johns trains will only run to Cannon Street
  • Some trains will be diverted to London Blackfriars instead of Cannon Street or Charing Cross
  • Longer metro trains to increase capacity
  • Longer opening hours for Cannon Street station (0500-0100), including all day opening on Sundays. (Cannon Street tube station to also offer longer opening hours)
  • Diversion of some trains on Metro and Mainline services such as from Rochester, Broadstairs, Ashford, Dover and Orpington into London Blackfriars
  • All current Rochester to Bedford and Ashford to Bedford services (and vice versa) will start and  terminate at London Blackfriars
  • Catford Loop services no longer part of the Southeastern timetable (as these will have transferred to the new Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise in December)

Long-term service improvements include:

  • Highspeed:
    • A new Highspeed ‘rounder’ service improving connections between London and North / East Kent, providing another choice of London terminal
    • Highspeed trains will stop at Snodland, Birchington-on-Sea, Martin Mill and Walmer for the first time
    • Extra seats on the Highspeed service (with 698 seats at Ashford in the morning peak and 349 extra seats from Ebbsfleet.)
    • Two additional Highspeed trains from Margate and Broadstairs creating a half hourly service at these stations in the morning peak
    • An additional Highspeed service from Ramsgate via Canterbury to St Pancras
    • A reduction of splitting and joining on the Mainline and Highspeed services
    • A new hourly direct off-peak service between Maidstone East and Canterbury West
    • A new fast service from Hastings to Charing Cross departing at 0804 and a Charing Cross to Hastings service departing at 1620, offering a 90 minute journey time
    • A new peak hour service from Maidstone East to Blackfriars departing at 0845
    • A new Blackfriars to Maidstone East service departing at 0719
    • New additional services between Dartford and London Victoria at 0640 and then new later services half hourly from 1905 until 2308 (Dartford to Victoria) and from 2039 until 0009 (Victoria to Dartford)
    • A new direct through-service between London Victoria and Sheerness-on-Sea (two trains in  the morning peak and two trains in the evening peak)

hastings-train-stationSoutheastern have said that they are committed to providing improvements to services and keeping passengers informed during the London Bridge work, and they say that today’s announcement is the first stage in assisting its customers with forward-planning for the period.

The company has stated that it is also working together with the transport industry through the Travel Demand Management Board to co-ordinate planning – and more detailed information, including routing advice will be communicated over the coming months.  The rail industry is also working out how these specific service changes affect ticketing, with the objective that customers shouldn’t be out of pocket while Network Rail is doing this crucial work.

Charles Horton, managing director of Southeastern, said: “The project to rebuild London Bridge station is an enormous challenge and one of the biggest railway construction projects since the Second World War.

“The government investment will provide a brand new station with a concourse the size of the pitch at Wembley Stadium, new journey opportunities to the north and south of England, and this will untangle the railway lines to remove the bottleneck we experience today.

“This will however, mean our passengers, particularly those who use London Bridge station will need to change their travel patterns while the work is carried out. We’ve got a huge job to provide a service that meets demand at a time when track capacity has much reduced, and we’ve developed a timetable – with new journey opportunities, longer trains and later services to help meet that challenge. 

“We consulted with our customers and stakeholders to develop our plans and this timetable balances the competing needs of passengers with the infrastructure constraints.

“Today we’ve released the timetables early, so that customers can look at the changes and start to plan ahead, and as we move closer to 11 January 2015, when the Southeastern trains 2015 timetable takes effect, we’ll be ramping up our efforts to keep people informed.” 

The Rail Minister, Stephen Hammond MP has today confirmed that there will be an additional, fast train running from Hastings to London Charing Cross during peak hours in the morning and evening. This service will operate a direct train between Hastings and Tunbridge Wells and start running from January 2015 as part of the new timetable for the next franchise.

hastings-train-station

The Hastings Express is coming in 2015.

This new Hastings Express, which is in addition to the current service, is believed to be the first ever train to run direct from Hastings to Tunbridge Wells.

Most commuters know that once you get to Tunbridge Wells the rest of the Journey to London only takes 45 mins.

With the current time around the 1.5 to 2 hour mark this will save significant time for commuters and visitors to London and make Hastings an even more attractive location for investment which will make it an ideal location for businesses from all sectors to thrive in.

The Short travel time from Brighton to London has helped the City grow significantly over the years and if Hastings can get near this it will make Hastings a very popular place to live as well as property prices are some of the lowest in the Southeast.