Rail service cuts during Olympics

1:06pm Monday 18th June 2012

By Mark Chandler

WE can't promise Olympic glory this summer but misery for train travellers during the Games seems guaranteed with cuts across the service.

Southeastern customers are no strangers to coping with adversity but the new Olympic timetables, published for the first time on the company's website last week, will still hurt.

When the cuts, now confirmed, first surfaced last year there was massive opposition from Lewisham and Greenwich Councils, along with MPs, community groups and, of course, long-suffering passengers.

The worst of the reductions will see Woolwich Dockyard station closed and trains calling at Deptford and Westcombe Park stations slashed from six to just two per hour.

Lewisham Deptford MP Joan Ruddock said: "I understand their difficulties but such a reduction in service is very unfair to Deptford, which of course won't get a great deal of benefit directly from the Olympics.

"My next task will be to inquire how passengers will be assisted to make their necessary journeys."

Kidbrooke services are also cut from six to four trains per hour. Elsewhere, Kentbound trains will not stop at Maze Hill in the morning and the station will also lose its London service in the afternoon.

Dick Allard from the Westcombe Scoiety said the loss of services to neighbouring Maze Hill and Westcombe Park meant people in the area were being "doubly hit".

He said: "It seems quite over the top. Both stations are being slashed in different ways."

Changes will take effect during the Games from July 28 to August 12 and again during the Paralympics from August 29 to September 9.

Southeastern claims small stations were targeted to help meet demand for spectators.

A spokesman said: “Our timetable for the duration of the Olympic Games is at the behest of the Olympic delivery authority. There is a large increase in passenger numbers expected during the Games period, therefore there need to be changes to some services and these have been approved by the Department for Transport in consultation with all affected stake holders.

"To cope with the additional demand, Southeastern will be operating more and longer trains where possible. Season ticket holders affected by the closure of Woolwich Dockyard Station will be offered compensation. However, services will be busy and we advise passengers to allow additional time for their journey.”

To see the timetables visit southeasternrailway.co.uk/london-2012-olympic-games/timetables/

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