The Greenwich Line

A presentation by Network Rail and southeastern to the Greenwich Society Annual General Meeting

Wednesday 15 October 2014 at 7.30pm

Thameslink Programme

Giles Bayram, Project Manager (Change) – Thameslink – Network Rail, reminded the meeting of the aims of the programme – (1) to reducing overcrowding on both Thameslink and commuter services, (2) to reduce overcrowding on the underground, (3) to reduce the need for interchange between main-line and underground services and (4) to introduce new cross-London services, thereby improving public transport accessibility in the South East.

rail lines

The programme is government funded with an aim of increasing capacity on commuter routes and removing bottlenecks through the redevelopment of London Bridge and the introduction of a new high frequency service through London.

The Department for Transport is heading the programme, which his being managed by Network Rail (providing £4.5 billion infrastructure investment as well as signalling, track, electrification and plant), Siemens (supplying £2 billion rolling stock programme including new trains, depots and sidings, and a consortium of GTR, southeastern and southern Railways (in a major re-franchising).

The infrastructure improvements are taking place at (1) Farringdon where, from 2018, Thameslink will connect with Crossrail, giving passengers direct links to three international airports and St Pancras International rail station, (2) Blackfriars, the first station to span the Thames on the world’s largest solar energy bridge, and (3) London Bridge, with its new concourse and new platforms, all with step free access.

At London Bridge, a main aim was to untangle the track layout in order to provide more reliable journeys and end delays to services. When finished, the new track layout through London Bridge will remove problematic crossing and complexities to leave three main streams – the Cannon Street lines to the North, Thameslink in the centre and the Charing Cross lines to the South.  A new flyover and track work will also be undertaken in Bermondsey for the necessary improvements to the Thameslink lines.

rail lines

The main station work began in May 2013 and platforms 12 to 15 have been rebuilt and opened to passengers. Platforms 10 and 11 are closed for their rebuilding until January 2015 and comprehensive signalling work is underway. 

Services Changes

Mike Gibson, Public Affairs Manager, southeastern Railways, explained the specific changes that will take place during and after the redevelopment work and which will impact on the Greenwich line and the passengers who use it.

Work will be completed in December of this year for the terminating platforms at London Bridge station and will move instead to the through-platforms – 1 to 6. There will, therefore, be major and unavoidable disruption both to Thameslink and southeastern services for the next three years. London Bridge station will remain open throughout the work but some service changes will be inevitable. As dedicated lines for three distinct ‘purposes’ are being created – Cannon Street, Thameslink and Charing Cross – some of the changes will be permanent.

December 2014
Between 07:54 and 09:01 from Monday 22nd to Wednesday 24th December 2014, southeastern services to Charing Cross will not stop at London Bridge. At other times the service will not be affected.

December 2014 to January 2015
Some southeastern services will be diverted to Blackfriars (with an additional stop at Elephant and Castle)

Between 20th December 2014 and 4th January 2015, Southern services will not operate to and from London Bridge. Southeastern services are unaffected.

December 2014 to January 2015
Between 20th December 2014 and 4th January 2015 no Thameslink services will call at London Bridge, but the service will still operate between Bedford and Brighton (calling at both Gatwick and Luton airports). However, from 5th January 2015 until January 2018 not only will no Thameslink trains call at London Bridge, but a limited services will run between the station and Brighton.

From 5th January 2015 – new timetable
Between January 2015 and August 2016, no southeastern services to/from Charing Cross will call at London Bridge. (However, between January and May 2015 there may be some exceptions to this pattern at the end of the operating day when trains leaving Charing Cross will call at Waterloo East and London Bridge)

Services to Woolwich Dockyard, Plumstead, Belvedere and Erith will also be diverted to and from Cannon Street until August 2016 – calling at London Bridge.

Services to and from Westcombe Park, Maze Hill and Greenwich (as well as Deptford, New Cross and St Johns will) cease permanently to operate to and from Charing Cross via Waterloo East. Services will all run into and out of Cannon Street.

August 2016 to early 2018
Services to and from London Charing Cross will resume calling at London Bridge.

Between August 2016 and the beginning of 2018, no southeastern services to/from Cannon Street will call at London Bridge.

The Greenwich Line

  • Services to and from Westcombe Park, Maze Hill and Greenwich will all run into and out of Cannon Street.
  • Cannon Street Station – both main line and underground - will be open for longer hours and over seven days a week to accommodate the additional passenger numbers that are anticipated.
  • The line will be served by longer trains to boost capacity
  • There will be slightly fewer peak trains (2 fewer in the morning and 4 fewer in the evening).
  • Southeastern will monitor passenger numbers over the course of the new timetable. 

Assistance for Passengers

In October 2014, timetables for December 2014 and January 2015 were confirmed. Southeastern also worked with stakeholders to raise awareness of the upcoming changes and both ticketing and re-rerouting advice to passengers commenced.

From November 2014 targeted information and communication to all affected passengers will be made available – including advertising at stations.

station&shard

Questions & Answers

Q: Will Cannon Street tube station remain open all the time that the rail station is open and in use during the redevelopment work and service changes?
A: Yes.

Q: Will there be any improvement in the opening hours for Cannon St?
A: Yes - The operating hours of Cannon Street Station will be enhanced and will be similar to those of Charing Cross - including late night and weekends.

Q: Is a bus link between Cannon Street and London Bridge/Waterloo East/Charing Cross during the redevelopment work a possibility?
A: Yes

Q: Is there any chance of a rail shuttle between Cannon Street and Charing Cross during the redevelopment?
A: No

Q: Is there any chance of a permanent shuttle between Cannon Street and Charing Cross after the redevelopment work?
A: No

Q: While there are no direct trains from Greenwich to Charing Cross, will there be some direct services from Lewisham?
A: Yes

Q: Do TfL plan to improve bus links during the work?
A: Answers will be sought from TfL.

Q: For those communing to Waterloo East and Charing Cross, what would be the impact on journey times?
A: Journey times may indeed be longer during the work.

Q: For those communing to Waterloo East and Charing Cross, will there be any reimbursement of the additional costs of alternative travel arrangements?
A: Those involved in the project have agreed in principle that no passengers will be 'out of pocket' as a result of the work, but a final decision is awaited from Department for Transport. The Travel Demand Management Board has been working on ticketing and there may possibly be some extra bus links from some North Greenwich.

Q: Can there be better signage at London Bridge for platforms? How will the changing of trains operate?
A: The interchange at London Bridge will be similar – with three separate streams of traffic (Charing Cross, Thameslink and Cannon Street) but the availability of both lifts and escalators to every platform should make it easier for everyone.

Q: Greenwich line users are going to suffer for the benefit of those living outside London. Many passengers who use the Greenwich Line don't want to go to Cannon Street and these changes will detrimentally effect Greenwich line users more than anyone. Will you reconsider no direction link to Charing Cross?
A: Greenwich line doesn't operate in isolation and some sacrifice is necessary to improve the overall capacity - extra 18 trains an hour will be possible because of the project. There will be better service for the Greenwich line eventually, albeit one that necessitates an interchange at London Bridge – but a much easier interchange than there is currently.

Q: What benefits will there be for Greenwich from the completion of the work in 2018 especially with so many new residents? Greenwich line seems to be outside TfL remit and those who will gain something from the redevelopment.
A: The Mayor did not get control of the rail franchises  - passed to TfL - as he wanted. The official position of southeastern railways is that they would be happy whatever the ultimate management of the franchises. It is true that Kent residents were opposed to Mayor’s plans.

One improvement for all passengers will be improved reliability, with an end to so much waiting outside London Bridge station. Another improvement for all passengers will be a new station at London Bridge with step free access to all platforms.

Q: If you are building a flyover for the Thameslink service, why cannot there also be one for the Greenwich line? It's obvious that Thameslink priority. Why can't Greenwich to/from Charing Cross be re-instated? The industry could remodel North Kent East junction to include a junction for Greenwich line. There is some spare capacity that, with little infrastructure changes, could help.
A: The questions will be referred back to Network Rail for an answer.

Q: There has been a lack of information for Greenwich Line users and a lack of transparency about any priority for Greenwich Line users. Please will you provide this in future to the Greenwich Society?
A: Yes – and also to GLUG

Q: What arrangements can be made for those people who for one reason or another (such as claustrophobia) are unable to us the tube as an alternative to the train?
A: TfL, like all transport services, have special assistance arrangements for passengers requiring it. A specific answer will be checked and supplied.

Q: Will there be any job creation as a result of the redevelopment work?
A: Yes – both locally and for apprenticeships. southeastern confirmed an extra 75 platform staff would be recruited.

PDF icon The Network Rail and Southeastern presention

PDF icon Rail Industry Q&A sheet

new station

thameslink

 

Tall Ships Festival

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Ending Traffic Domination of Greenwich

BY INTRODUCING A SHARED SPACE POLICY IN THE CENTRE

Take a look at the on-line PowerPoint Presentation:  This could be a popular action for our new councillors to take; but enough said for the present. The case of Poynton in Cheshire well illustrates how we could benefit.

powerpoint

How?:  Step 1: Control the density of vehicles in the centre.

How could this apply to Greenwich?:  By smart traffic lights outside the centre which only allow vehicles into the centre when the exits are clear.

But, you will say: “But won’t this cause a lot of congestion?”

PowerPoint Presentation:  No. It just means that when the traffic is greater than the capacity of the system, then it will be held outside the centre rather than clogging up the streets in the centre.

How?: Step 2: Take out all four sets of traffic lights. Establish clear ‘gateways’ where vehicles are entering shared space, with a 10 mph speed limit. Repave the streets in the centre to reflect the priority of pedestrians.

 There are three main roads in and two minor ones. So vehicles would wait at the traffic lights outside the centre until the exits are clear and the density in the centre is low, instead of clogging up the centre when the traffic is heavy.

So should the Greenwich Society promote this?: 

To let us know your views please contact Chris Todhunter by email. ct@stalf.org.uk: 

 

Why I joined the Greenwich Society

LC

Lesley Curwen

My working life as a financial broadcaster has been a succession of early starts. You may have heard me on Money Box Live, Business Daily or Today, or seen me presenting TV business news; sometimes that means travelling in to the BBC at 3.30am. So I've had the lonely joy of seeing the Observatory and the Park by starlight or glorious dawn as the car makes its way down Trafalgar Road. 

Living here in Greenwich for the last nine years has been a source of great happiness. But the rapid building of flats around East Greenwich has also brought unease about the knock-on effects on the streets around my home. As soon as I moved into the area, I joined the Greenwich Society, which I see as a bulwark against ugly and damaging changes to our environment in this most beautiful part of London.

Sooner or later, this threat might arrive on your doorstep. Our house overlooks the good old Arches Leisure Centre which is condemned to perish all too soon when a new leisure centre is built on the site of the old District Hospital.

I have every confidence that when the time comes, the Greenwich Society will represent the views of local residents and hopefully restrain the worst excesses of developers who will no doubt want to build more high-rise flats on the old Arches site.

...by Lesley Curwen

 

Before and After?

Here is a comparison of the view from Greenwich Park across the river to the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf (before) and the same view, adding the computer generated appearance of all the high-rise towers that are proposed (after).

high-rise

 

Jonathan Chandler 


Greenwich Hospital Plans in the town centre

- a presentation to the Greenwich Society AGM by Gillie Bexson (Property Portfolio Manager, Greenwich Hospital).

Gillie Bexson offered her assessment of the Hospital’s plans by establishing the context of its work within its charitable objectives, describing the Greenwich estate, explaining the Hospital’s vision, how it hoped to achieve that vision and the nature of the collaboration that would be required in the process.

Greenwich Hospital is an ancient Crown charity providing support (including annuities, sheltered housing and education) to serving and retired personnel of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and their dependants. It was established in 1694 for the following purpose: -

“The reliefe and support of seamen serving on board the shipps or vessells belonging to the Navy Royall who by reason of Age, Wounds or other disabilities shall be uncapable of further service at sea and being unable to maintain themselves. And for the Sustentation of the Widows and the Maintenance and Education of the Children of seamen happening to be slain or disabled. Also for the further reliefe and Encouragement of seamen and Improvement of Navigation.”

The Hospital supports 26,000 people through 20 charities, 3 sheltered housing schemes and a Naval Care Home. It also supports a faculty at the University of Greenwich and students at Trinity/Laban. Plans are also on-going for the establishments of apprenticeships, the retraining of injured service men and women and business start-up assistance. There is no public money involved in any of the Hospital’s investments - which are in Greenwich, the rural estates (8,000 acres in Suffolk, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear – a total of 15 farms with many residential cottages), two properties in central London and in equities.

 

Greenwich Estate

Greenwich Hospital Estate

The Property Portfolio provides an income stream from its assets to enable the Hospital to meet its charity commitments. These properties have been in ownership for three hundred years and the Hospital has a duty to maintain its value and income for the future.  In order to do so, the Hospital will manage its holdings to the best advantage, invest for long term growth and improvement of Hospital properties and consolidate the core estate - acquiring premises within it or adjoining it where there is benefit to the core. There are very few town centres in single ownership and this makes Greenwich almost unique.

Following the decision to drop permanently the previous market regeneration plan, the Hospital has embarked on a series of projects to enhance and improve its buildings - to refine, not purify, the town centre and it is the Hospital’s intention to implement a series of strategies to enhance this thriving retail and residential community including the investment in and commitment to improving retail and residential accommodation, the public realm and the market. Greenwich Hospital’s vision for the town centre is not to change it, but to improve and enhance it where it holds the freehold. In doing so it aims to enhance the character of the World Heritage Site, of which it forms a part.

 

Town Centre Freehold

Greenwich Hospital Freehold

Historically the buildings have been let as a whole on long leases to retailers who have used the upper floors for storage, staff accommodation and it is unfortunate but true that they have not been looked after well. The Hospital is now taking back buildings whenever possible and working hard to provide modern retail and restaurant accommodation at the ground floor, returning the upper floors to residential use.

Greenwich Hospital aims to work collaboratively, with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and other stakeholders, to undertake a long-term strategic investment programme that will refine Greenwich Town Centre’s historic assets and enhance their contribution to the local economy. The Hospital would like to work as a partner in everything in which it invests in Greenwich generally and meets regularly with the senior members of Greenwich Council in a number of forums (enjoying support at a high level even if there are some challenges in dealings with conservation officers) and with Nick Raynsford MP twice yearly.

The Hospital has been accused of failing to care for its assets, but it is responsible for all the fine buildings in the town and has no no intention of destroying them, only refurbishing them for modern and future use with the adaptations necessary for 21st century occupation. In order to deliver this vision, the Hospital aims to be an active Landlord, to offer responsible stewardship of the historic environment, to consult, engage in planning, providing a development framework strategy and deploy an integrated approach to servicing. Specific plans are to : -

  • Conserve Greenwich’s urban village character through a proactive commitment to the protection and enhancement of its built heritage.
  • Improve the appearance of the Hospital’s buildings by investing in the external fabric of the retail and residential frontages.
  • Deliver buildings that respond to the character and quality of the area with a commitment to architectural excellence and the business needs of the 21st Century.
  • Create prime accommodation to attract strong covenant and high quality restaurateurs and retailers.
  • Continue to mix uses by taking back upper floors wherever possible and return them to residential use.
  • Enhance and improve the historic market place and maintain its significance in the context of Greenwich’s history.

Many retailers have been “Grown in Greenwich” and the Hospital aspires to continue that tradition with new market traders. However, the current retail tenant mix has evolved over a number of years and the quality requires improvement as opportunities arise. The specification of the market area requires substantial upgrading in order to attract high quality designer-makers to the market. The public realm and access require upgrading to attract visitors of all ages. The Hospital will work with its retailers and traders to market the town centre through the web site and by hosting events for charity bringing in an ever-wider audience to the town centre.

Greenwich Market Vision

 

Market vision

Market Vision

The Hospital’s plan focuses on the creation of a flexible food market with publically accessible open space, seating, hard and soft landscaping to reduce the number of food stalls in the existing market space at weekends, thereby reducing congestion in the historic Portico. It is proposed that this will be accommodated in the area known as Fry’s Court.  A new covering for the market roof using the existing structure  (which will have improved daylight, lighting, event specific lighting and ventilation capabilities) is planned as is the restoration and relaying of the cobbles on the market floor, improve access for all ages as well as improving the drainage and power for stall holders. The brief itself includes: -

  • Creation of an attractive destination at the heart of Greenwich town centre
  • Retention of the historic character of the market
  • Restoration and reuse the original structure of the market roof
  • Improvement of the public realm
  • Improvement of the range of potential uses – Antiques & Crafts market, food market and event space, for example
  • Reconfiguration of the service areas, aiding efficiency

The Hospital will continue its dialogue with Nick Raynsford MP, with the Council’s Planning and Conservation Officers. It will provide Council member briefings, pre-application meetings and ensure consultation with key stakeholders – like the Greenwich Society.

Although there is no town centre master plan, the Hospital has a continual investment programme and a coordinated construction timetable. Through consultation with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the local community the Hospital also hopes to minimise disruption and maintain its commitment.


Greenwich Society Achievements

  • Since 2001 our team of volunteers have removed more than 16,000 graffiti which disfigured the town centre, Trafalgar Road and our residential streets.
  • We have helped make Greenwich a greener place by planting the now mature trees outside Greenwich Station; in front of the Arches in Trafalgar Road; in Greenwich High Road and in Crooms Hill as well as creating small gardens around the area.
  • We look at every planning application and comment constructively and vigorously too when we see unsuitable development proposals.
  • In the run-up to the Olympics we worked hard to ensure that the organisers and the Borough protected residents' interests during the Games.
  • We have helped launch the Greenwich Line Users Group to provide a voice for passengers as the London Bridge development begins to impact on all
  • The Newsletter has a great track record of keeping members informed about local affairs and events; the latest is our 173rd edition
  • We are playing a part in bringing about an improvement to the town centre street scene. And the Society led the campaign against the garish neon signage on the Pier restaurants, supported by the Royal Borough and the Government Inspector.
  • The Society campaigned successfully against the plan for a one-way system which would have increased rat- running

Greenwich Society Challenges

  • Pressure from developers pushing the limits of the planning system to build taller apartment buildings with high densities, too few family homes and little outdoor space for recreation.
  • Plans in the pipeline could produce an increase of 50,000 new residents between the Convoys Wharf towers in Deptford and the Peninsular. Will public transport, the roads and the infrastructure cope?
  • How do we achieve a balance between the needs of residents and the pressures of a growing tourist industry?
  • Plans for the new river crossings are supported by little evidence about the health and pollution impacts. What effect would a proposal to finance the crossings by charging tolls in the Blackwall tunnel have on the town centre?

 

What does Greenwich mean to you?

 Greenwich Park Panorama

The Greenwich Society, which was born as a civic amenity group in the late 1950s, aims to work to make Greenwich a better place for all who live, work and study here – from Deptford Creek to the O2 and from the river to Blackheath. The Society has a special interest in thriving, long and sustainable businesses, the town’s commercial centres East and West, regeneration, traffic management, the natural and built environment and relations with the local authority and all the agencies who have to manage change. Whether it is the watchfulness that is required to protect the town’s heritage or the natural concerns of local residents to improve its amenities, the Greenwich Society welcomes members and gives a voice to everyone who cares about the past, the present and the future.