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Thameslink New Franchise

The Government has been consulting about the future Thameslink franchise. The consultation period has just been extended to 14 September. See below for SRUG's comments, and how to make your comments and where to email them

STOP PRESS - This Thameslink  franchise consultation has converged with the South Eastern one covering our services to Victoria, so together they now cover ALL our services and rail issues. Read below for more info on the Thameslink one and here http://www.bellenden.net/victoria for more info on the Victoria one. But we have produced a short summary of the issues and what users could say in response to the two consultations together. See here. That can be enough for users to compile their own comments to email in to the Government, if they have no time to read the documents. Here is a leaflet to print out for neighbours and fellow rail users.

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The Government is now working on the Thameslink franchise specification and in October 2012 will put out an ITT (Invitation to Tender) to five rail companies: Abellio, FirstGroup, Govia, MTR Corp, Stagecoach. More details on them here. The successful bidder is likely to be announced in May 2013 and the franchise will start in October 2013 for a minimum of 7 years. At the start it will cover all the services currently run by FCC (First Capital Connect). These do not include services running through our SRUG stations (ie Peckham Rye, Nunhead, Denmark Hill, North Dulwich, East Dulwich, Queens Rd Peckham, Sth Bermondsey).

However, many of our services will be transferred to this new franchise after that:

  • in 2014, services to St Pancras and beyond from Sevenoaks via Nunhead, Peckham Rye, Denmark Hill, Elephant & Castle and Blackfriars;
  • in 2015, to London Bridge from Tulse Hill and beyond via North Dulwich, East Dulwich, Peckham Rye, Queens Rd Peckham, South Bermondsey. 

COMMENTS ON THE FRANCHISE CONSULTATION

SRUG has submitted detailed comments in response to the consultation. See the submission here.

These comments are based on removing the deficiencies in our services. It is basically quite simple - we are an inner London area without the Tube and we use our local rail services as a substitute. These are in theory well able to serve that purpose as they are directly connected within 10 to 23 minutes to several Tube lines at main Tube stations London Bridge, Elephant & Castle, Blackfriars, St Pancras, and Victoria. The problem is that the services are in part infrequent, irregular and not every day or every evening. So our continuing campaign is for our services to be Tube-like in their frequency and regularity - 7 days a week, early morning to late evening, and 4 trains per hour (tph) to Victoria, 4tph to St Pancras, and 6 tph to London Bridge.

This means that off peak rail services:

  • from Nunhead, Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill, need to be increased to 4 tph to St Pancras 7 days a week, and, [though not part of this franchise we mention it for completeness] to 4tph to Victoria 7 days a week;
  • to London Bridge via N & E Dulwich, Peckham Rye, Queens Rd Peckham, Sth Bermondsey, need to be no less than 6 tph 7 days a week.

Peak time services need to be more frequent as trains are often full.

The good news is that TfL (Transport for London) shares that Tube-like aspiration for all services within the TfL transport area which includes all our stations and services. But TfL does not control these services - they are part of the rail franchises that are specified by the Department for Transport, like the new Thameslink franchise.

EMAIL YOUR COMMENTS 

To save our current services, and to improve them, local rail users need to send in their comments:  email: thameslink@dft.gsi.gov.uk  by 14 September 2012. See also above under STOP PRESS.

The key thing is to write supporting the services that you value for yourself or your visitors, family and friends, and say why and how they are used.  There are two services in particular that it is important to raise now to demonstrate how important they are to us from our part of SE London - the trains that go beyond Blackfriars to St Pancras, and the trains to Victoria:

  • as a direct part of this Thameslink franchise there is a proposal to terminate trains at Blackfriars, rather then allow them to continue to St Pancras and beyond. This would force users to change trains at Blackfriars. We need to keep our recently restored 2tph to St Pancras and we need it extended to 4tph and to run after 9pm in the weekdays and to run at weekends as well. It is our only service that takes us across London and for that it is vital.
  • the loss of regular services to and from Victoria from December 2012 when the East London Line arrives. We will be left with no services in the evenings and none on Sundays.  Although this is not directly part of the services covered by this franchise, it is important in every comment to the Department for Transport that we make clear how essential it is that these gaps in the Victoria services are filled by new services as soon as possible. 

Please copy your emails -

Getting letters published in the local press is very important to keep alive in public the issue of our direct links into central London. Email them at: letters@slp.co.uk ,  letters@southwarknews.org