Representatives from Tonbridge Line Commuters attended the 2013 Kent Rail Summit on 20 May 2013. Organised by Kent County Council and held at County Hall in Maidstone, the event brought together representatives from Southeastern, Network Rail and the Department for Transport to answer questions on the future of rail services in Kent.
TLC was keen to use the opportunity to ask about the nature of the train services that will run during the rebuilding of London Bridge station, which is taking place between now and 2018. We are particularly concerned about the period between January 2015 and August 2016, when services to and from Charing Cross will not stop at London Bridge. This would potentially mean that Tonbridge, Hildenborough and Paddock Wood would only have trains serving London Bridge during the rush hour. On cross examination from ever-astute TLC Vice-Chairman John Reynolds, a representative from Southeastern said that its current plan is to divert the half hourly Charing Cross-Tunbridge Wells services in and out of Cannon Street. This would provide an all day service to and from London Bridge, at the expense of reducing from the frequently of services from Charing Cross. Our members will wish to consider whether this plan would work for them. While we feel all-day access to London Bridge is essential, the thinning out of services at Charing Cross is a concern, particularly in the late evening when services are already fairly sparse and very poorly spaced.
Rest assured that TLC will continue to press both Southeastern and the Deparment for Transport on this matter. Even before the submmit TLC had been in touch with the Department for Transport to receive assurances on the future of the South Eastern franchise, including on the nature of services during the rebuilding of London Bridge. Watch this space for further information.