Greenwich Conservatives urge residents to reject ‘one line, one terminal’ in Southeastern consultation

Greenwich Conservatives are calling on residents to take part in a new consultation on the future of the Southeastern rail network, and help ‘nip in the bud’ a suggestion that trains on the Bexleyheath line should go to Cannon Street only.

The Department for Transport is consulting on the ‘Future of South Eastern rail services’, as it looks to award a new franchise when Southeastern’s contract expires in December 2018.

Plans under consideration include positive changes such as extra carriages and rolling stock, reconfigured carriages with more standing room and fewer seats, and an improved Delay Repay scheme with compensation applying after delays of 15 minutes.

The consultation also includes, however, the suggestion that all trains on the Bexleyheath line will go to Cannon Street only, with no trains going to Charing Cross or Victoria.  The suggestion is being strongly opposed by local Conservatives, as well as several Conservative MPs representing constituencies along the line.

Councillor Matt Hartley, Leader of Greenwich Conservatives, said: “The answer to South East London’s transport problems is more connectivity, not less. We have already lost Charing Cross services from Greenwich Line stations due to the London Bridge redevelopment. To send all Bexleyheath line trains to Cannon Street as well would not only put too much strain on that station, but will also cause huge disruption to commuters’ journeys. It is essential that we nip this suggestion in the bid.”

Councillor Matt Clare, Greenwich Conservatives’ Transport Spokesperson, said: “The Department for Transport consultation contains some welcome principles, but the suggestion of a ‘one line one destination’ approach is simply unacceptable. Such a measure would significantly lengthen long established journeys for many local people as well as for those commuting from further afield. It would also cause overcrowding on Cannon Street trains and at Cannon Street station.

“As local councillors we will vehemently oppose any measure which will be detrimental to your commute and travel into central London. We urge residents to please complete the consultation to share your views as clearly as possible.”

Residents have until 23rd May to take part in the consultation, which can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/604904/south-eastern-rail-franchise-public-consultation.pdf

In January local Conservatives backed the London Assembly’s unanimous call for a rethink on rail devolution, with full transfer of the management of commuter rail franchises to Transport for London.