Member of Parliament for the Beckenham constituency, Bob Stewart, has written to both the Managing Director of Southeastern Railways and the Secretary of State for Transport to call for the immediate reinstatement of the Cannon Street services from Hayes, West Wickham, Eden Park, Elmers End, Clock House, New Beckenham and Lower Sydenham. This followed two emergency evacuations at London Bridge in January due to overcrowding.
On the 25th January a trespasser elsewhere on the line caused cancellations and delays on a number of services at London Bridge. The station was then evacuated due to concerns about overcrowding. This follows a timetable change from Southeastern Railways in December where the rail operator removed a number of services to Cannon Street across the network, including the services from Hayes in Bromley. Bob Stewart, who along with local Councillors, petitioned against the decision, claims that the move has reduced resilience on the network and the services should be reinstated to address it.
Southeastern claimed that the services had to be removed to increase rail efficiency and improve services, citing that reducing the number of trains crossing a busy junction near Lewisham was the reason for a number of delays. Addressing this concern, Bob has also written to the Secretary of State for Transport to ask that his department investigate ways in which the junction can be improved. Works to the junction would have been included as part of the proposed Bakerloo line extension, which are now looking unlikely to proceed due to the state of Transport for London’ finances.
“Since the changes in December local services on the Hayes line have been more crowded and more people are having to use London Bridge. This is severely reducing resilience on the line and, as we saw on the 25th January, has consequences. This lack of resilience on the network means there is no room for error. It is time Southeastern admitted they got it wrong and reinstated the Cannon Street services to Hayes immediately, then we work with the Government, local MPs and other stakeholders to access the options for a long-term solution. Taking services off the network does not mean better services for rail users.”