Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cleverly's Bakerloo bungle...

A bit late on this one, but it's still worth a mention. Despite the cries of joy around large parts of South East London at Boris's announcement of the proposed Bakerloo line extension, it seems there's one council that remains to be convinced - Bromley. I've been led to believe that Bromley council is refusing to get involved in discussions about the extension, possibly because of worries about losing the Hayes National Rail service. This seems to be borne out in the responses to the comments on this 853 piece about the extension.

In the meantime, James Cleverly, the London Assembly member for the area, has asked a number of questions of the mayor about the proposals, and specifically their effect on the Hayes service. What interested me most was this question:

If the Bakerloo Line Extension goes ahead, what would be the effect on journey time for those travelling from Hayes to London Bridge?

It seems to me this question was clearly designed to get the response that journey times would increase. I mean, it's obvious isn't it, the South Eastern service from Hayes often goes "fast" to London Bridge, so a tube line that stops everywhere is clearly going to be slower. Right?

This is the mayor's response:

Allowing for an average wait time of 3 minutes for a National Rail train at Hayes station, the current total journey time from Hayes to London Bridge is 41 minutes. The proposed Bakerloo line extension Option 1a via the Old Kent Road would reduce the journey time between Hayes and London Bridge to 35 minutes, delivering a journey time saving of approximately 6 minutes. Option 1b via Camberwell and Peckham Rye would reduce the journey time to 37 minutes, reducing journey times from Hayes by 4 minutes via a change at Elephant and Castle.

So, what this means in essence is that either option on the table would *reduce* journey times from Hayes to London Bridge, either by 6 minutes for option 1a and 4 minutes for option 1b, including a change at Elephant.
The mayor goes on:

This does not consider the additional benefits of enhancing the frequency of trains on the line from an average of 6 trains per hour to at least 15 trains per hour with the proposed extension. This means that Hayes station could be served by a train every 4 minutes rather than every 10 minutes, more than halving the gap between services.

So not only would journey times be faster, they would also be more frequent, jumping from 6 trains per hour to at least 15!
And of course, the extension would provide a direct link right into Oxford Circus and beyond, another benefit over the current National Rail Service.

I couldn't find Bromley's response to the consultation on their website (you try finding anything on a local government website), but I did find their response to the Mayor's Transport Strategy from 2010, which sets out their concerns about the Bakerloo line:

Whilst Bromley remains broadly supportive of this proposal in principle, we would need complete reassurance that the Hayes Line’s current connectivity to Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Waterloo East and London Bridge would in no way be lost by such a proposal, prior to committing our full support.

Surely, in the light of the response above, Bromley can see that the Hayes line would benefit from the switch over to London Underground, and that clinging to connectivity through a congested national rail link through London Bridge that struggles to cope with the number of trains it has to carry isn't benefitting anyone! Removing the Hayes trains from London Bridge and beyond would free up space for everyone else's lines, journey times from Hayes will still be quicker and Hayes would be better connected than it is now! I think that's what transport planners like to call a "no brainer".

Any Bromley residents want to follow this up with their council?

Update 18:00: Lewisham Council have published their response to the consultation, which is worth a read.


Stuart said...

For what its worth.

Clare Griffiths said...

Thanks Stuart, let's see what happens :)