Transport: decision awaited on trains threat

We are still waiting for a decision on the threat to limit Blackheath train services to Canon Street trains only under the new rail franchise - two months after this was due to be announced.

The Society again asked Southeastern in mid-November when its Rail Franchise Consultation report would be published, but we have heard nothing so far.

The report will form the basis for the new franchise from December next year. Southeastern earlier said it had been delayed partly because the consultation period had been extended, but it gave no further details.

At a June public meeting, DfT officials acknowledged the strength of public opposition to the idea and said they thought it was unlikely it would be taken forward.

Buried in the text of Southeastern consultation document was the highly disturbing suggestion that all North Kent and Bexleyheath line services should only serve Cannon Street station, as this would reduce the crossover of trains at Lewisham and improve service reliability.

The Society mounted a vigorous campaign to oppose this. We distributed 40,000 leaflets and encouraged people in the residential areas affected to email the Department for Transport to voice their opposition.

There was also a Parliamentary petition which gathered nearly 29,000 signatures before its premature closure when Parliament rose for the June general election.