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Bonkers Blog November 2019

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7 November (Part 3) - Going round in circles

It was very silly of me to go to the Extinction Rebellion meeting last week instead of the Transport Users’ Sub-Committee in the the Civic Offices because I probably missed the details of how South Eastern are planning to mitigate the total loss of rail services on the Barnehurst, Bexleyheath and Welling line next February. Network Rail is going to fix the constant land slip problems and the only practical way is to shut the line for nine days 15th to 23rd February 2020.

The plan was first discussed at the meeting last March when Councillor Borella didn’t like the Chairman’s idea for rail replacement buses which involved a torturous journey all the way up to London and suggested express services to the nearest North Kent line station. Something like Barnehurst to Erith, Bexleyheath to Abbey Wood and Welling to Plumstead or Woolwich Arsenal.

I knew that this more sensible idea was taken on board by the rail authorities because of a conversation I had with Network Rail’s PR Department in September. Thanks to The Lewisham & Bexleyheath Community Rail Partnership, a commuter group as I understand it, I can bring news of what is actually proposed.

A half-hourly peak period only bus service from Barnehurst to Slade Green. (Not Erith which is a much easier road route but is served by fewer trains than Slade Green.)

Bexleyheath and Welling to be served by a quarter-hourly ‘circular’ service. Abbey Wood to Bexleyheath, on to Welling and back to Abbey Wood in a clockwise direction only. Bexleyheath commuters will be well pleased with that in the morning!

Going further afield Falconwood and Eltham will be provided with a quarter-hourly ‘circular’ serving Mottingham, Eltham, Falconwood and back to Mottingham. At present several peak hour trains skip Mottingham so the idea does not look too clever unless the train timetable is amended.

The Rail Partnership has proposed several amendments which make better use of existing TfL bus services but if one looks at the route detail for the rail replacement buses one can still see problems. Residents of New Road in Abbey Wood will see up to eight more double deckers passing their doors every hour and quite how they are supposed to turn right into Wilton Road at the end of Abbey Road and stop at the foot of the station stairs I am not sure.

I wasn’t surprised to hear that the Chairman of the Transport Users’ Sub-Committee has proved to be every bit as helpful to The Partnership as one might expect. She is fortunate to have one knowledgeable Councillor on her Committee in the shape of Stefano Borella (Labour, Slade Green and North End).

The full Barnehurst mitigation proposals may be viewed here.


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