COMMUTERS say train bosses are “tearing the railway system to pieces” after discovering services from south-east London are to be cut.

Train company Southern plans to cut the number of services to London Bridge from Brockley, New Cross Gate, Sydenham and Forest Hill from six trains per hour to four from December 13.

There will also be no direct trains to and from Charing Cross from these stations after 7.30pm and further service reductions are expected in May next year.

According to the Office of Rail Regulation nearly 11 million people used this stretch of the line in the 2007/8 financial year.

Commuter Michael Abrahams is a web product manager who uses the London Bridge service to get to work in Waterloo East.

He said: “It is complete madness. People are really angry about this and rightly so.

“They say Southern and Transport for London (TfL) are tearing the railway system to pieces.

“In the 21st century you expect train services to get better, not the other way around.

“You expect there to be more services and faster trains, not fewer and slower.”

The 35-year-old, of Taymount Rise, Forest Hill, added: “It will be hugely frustrating for people.

“My travelcard does not include the Underground.

“I may now be forced to fork out for the Tube which could cost me an extra £400 a year.

“My journey home will now be very complicated and tiresome, and getting to and from central London will be so much harder.”

Lewisham Council has demanded an explanation from rail bosses after hearing of the plans.

Green Party councillor Dean Walton tabled a successful motion calling on the Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock to demand answers from Southern and TfL.

He said: “The whole council has spoken with one voice to say these cuts are unacceptable.

“If they are being imposed for capacity reasons we need to see the figures showing why it is necessary.

“The Mayor must now demand answers and a meeting with Southern, which so far has refused to meet local people.”

The Forest Hill Society is also campaigning against the plans and has set-up a petition calling for services to remain as they are.

It has already received 1,010 signatures.

To add your name to the list, visit A spokesman for TfL said: “It is important to remember TfL is not cutting any services.

“We are in fact extending the East London line and it is because of this Southern has decided it can afford to cut their trains as fewer people will be using them.”

A Southern spokesman said: “We are working on our timetable for May 2010 when London Overground’s extended East London Line starts operating from Dalston to Crystal Palace and West Croydon.

“This extension will necessitate changes to Southern services in the south London area.

“The opening of the East London Line extension, together with Southern services, will provide a significant overall increase in trains along the route.

“The number of trains will double from six trains per hour to twelve in the off peak and evening, with even more services an hour in the morning peak.”

He added: “There are various timetable specifications included in our franchise contract and this includes changes in May 2010 to support the extension of the East London Line services along this route via New Cross Gate, Forest Hill, Sydenham etc.

“The current timetable plans include six Southern trains an hour to London Bridge between 7am and 9.30am and four trains per hour in the off peak.

“Once the East London Line has reopened we will monitor the effect of this on our services and determine if any further timetable changes are required.”