Those travelling from Tonbridge to Hildenborough in the evening rush hour have highlighted an unwelcome feature of the May 2018 timetable, namely a gap in departures of over an hour. The May timetable included no trains from Tonbridge to Hildenborough between 17:00 and 18:01.
Following TLC raising the issue, Southeastern has confirmed that from Monday 2 July the 17:41 from Tonbridge will stop at Hildenborough. Unfortunately the 17:33 cannot call at Hildenborough due restrictions imposed on the timetable by the single track Somerhill tunnel. TLC has long called for Network Rail to widen this tunnel to allow for a more flexible and robust timetable, but Network Rail stubbornly refuses to seriously consider this idea, instead placing it in the “too difficult” box.
We were aware from comments our social media channels that the lack of trains for over an hour has been causing considerable inconvenience, both to workers and students. As a result, we welcome the fact that Southeastern has listened to passengers and is restoring a stop on the 17:41 service, though it is regrettable that a regular half hourly service cannot be delivered throughout the evening.