The report on
the Transport Users’ Committee meeting provoked some comment. One could be
summarised as "is that all
that was discussed?". It was more or less, the railway debate went on for 25
minutes and having reviewed it again the only subjects left out of yesterday’s
report was that there is no budget to replace deteriorating over-bridges and
that Network Rail is experimenting with drones to search for trespassers. To
answer a specific question, I don’t think the Bexley Committee has ever
discussed the issue of fares being higher on Southeastern than equivalents
elsewhere. They certainly didn’t support residents in that way this time.
Because the loss of the loop services (under the new franchise) raised by Councillor Stefano Borella came as a surprise to me I asked him if he could expand on his comments.
He said his assumption is that they will no longer run is based on the loss of Cannon Street services on the Sidcup line except during the rush hour and the loop hasn’t, traditionally, been used in peak hours. With no Cannon Street services from Sidcup there cannot be a Cannon Street to Cannon Street service via Abbey Wood, Slade Green, Crayford, Bexley and Sidcup. Seems logical to me although I suppose a Cannon Street to Charing Cross loop service could operate.
Where Stefano is certainly right is his assertion that no one can be sure of travel patterns until after Crossrail and Thameslink services have bedded in.
There was a debate in Parliament last night in this very subject and I am grateful to Teresa Pearce MP for providing the Hansard link.
It was led by Matthew Pennycook (Labour, Greenwich and Woolwich) who complained first about his own North Kent line services.
He was aided and abetted by Bob Neil (Conservative, Bromley and Chislehurst) and our own Teresa Pearce who specifically mentions the lack of access to King’s Hospital being a problem. She also refers to the reduced services at Erith and Belvedere once Thameslink services are introduced on that line.
It was said in the Parliamentary debate that Lewisham is a fully accessible station which is not what was said in Bexley.
The MPs repeated what everyone now knows, the railways are run for the convenience of the operating companies, not the passengers. Clive Efford (Labour, Eltham) summed it up when he said the complexity of crossovers should not be used as an excuse.
The Hansard report makes for an interesting read. Thanks Teresa.