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‘Nunhead needs more trains!’ say beleaguered commuters

Frustrated commuters in Nunhead are celebrating this week after the ‘welcome news’ that Transport for London may become the decision-makers on who is awarded train franchises from next year.

A petition was set up recently by exasperated passengers calling for improvements to the services “operating massively over capacity” at Nunhead, referred to as “absolutely ludicrous.”

Ward councillor Fiona Colley said the proposal last week that TfL would be taking over decision-making on who is awarded franchises, from the Department of Transport, was “very welcome news” for Nunhead residents.

Southeastern services’ franchise is up in 2018 and Thameslink services in 2021 “As more and more young professionals are commuting from Nunhead, the services are creaking at the seams,” said Cllr Colley.

“People literally can’t get on the trains. They are arriving packed at the station and people are being left on the platform at the station.

“Meanwhile they see half empty trains from Kent whizzing past them. For residents who really need this service to get to work, it’s really not OK.”

Chris Brown, a commuter who has travelled to St Pancras from Nunhead for the last six years, told the News: “The service has been pretty poor most of the time, though it has really deteriorated over the last two to three months. “My regular train has not been on time once since the turn of the year.”

James Nicholls, a commuter who travels to Victoria, said: “I am now of the belief that the Southeastern has a culture of laziness from top to bottom.”

Jess King said she could count on her hands the amount of times the 8.14 to Blackfriars had been on time over the last three months.

“Nunhead simply needs more trains at this time of morning. This line must have the least amount of trains going into central London at peak times in the whole commuter belt. It’s absolutely ludicrous.”

A spokesman at Southeastern said: “We understand it has been a difficult few weeks for passengers due to a series of problems, many of which have been caused by faults with the infrastructure we use. Signalling and track circuit failures have also caused delays during peak time travel.

“All of these have caused frustration for passengers and we would like to reassure them that Network Rail works hard to solve infrastructure problems when they happen. In addition, we are investing more than £70million in improvements to our services. We have also invested heavily on new equipment, such as information screens and extra ticket machines, to make it easier for passengers. Decisions on awarding a franchise to a train company are a matter for the Department for Transport, however, we remain committed to our franchise and bringing about improvement.”

The first service to come up for renewal will be South West services in 2017, followed by Southeastern in 2018 and South Central (Southern) services and Thameslink in 2021.



  1. Terminating trains will always limit capacity to move more people and trains – add up the time that the trains sit still in a valuable city centre platform and also block the next train coming in. When Thameslink opened there was an entire station closed and developed as a prime commercial site with more trains (and more people) going through the 2 platform station then the 6 platforms it replaced.

    One option for kent is to look at a railway like Paris RER (following the Seine) to follow the Thames Bermondsey to Battersea so that trains often those that alternate between Victoria and London Bridge/Charing Cross station simply loop round through Central London. many commuters may then be able to avoid the misery of that 2-3 stops on the Tube as their train would get closer to their workplaces – and walk. Stations would run from Battersea Park (already the ‘secret’ 1 train per day London Overground station), and then Nine Elms/Battersea Power Station, Vauxhall (North of the bridge so that the North exit can come out at Lambeth Bridge (for the many Government ministries across the river) Waterloo (perhaps again built to have a link to Blackfriars from the East end of the station) Blackfriars (or a combined station with Waterloo – called perhaps South Bank), then London Bridge and possibly an additional station before Bermondsey (or links to New Cross)

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