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Southeastern reveals plans for more high-speed trains and extra capacity to deal with the long-term closure of London Bridge for refurbishment

17 December 2013
by Chris Price

More all-day high-speed services and extra seats at peak times are being proposed by Southeastern to mitigate the impact of a long-term closure of London Bridge.

The plans put forward for consultation are designed to soften the impact for commuters unable to use the station while the final stage of a £6.5bn rebuild is implemented from January 2015 to early 2018.

The proposals include nearly 700 extra peak-time seats on high-speed trains from Ashford International and nearly 350 more from Ebbsfleet International.

Southeastern high-speed trains passing through Ashford

Southeastern high-speed trains passing through Ashford

Deal and Sandwich will enjoy all-day off-peak high-speed services as part of a circular service connecting Faversham, Ramsgate and Dover Priory.

This will also stop at Martin Mill, Walmer, Whitstable, Herne Bay and Birchington-on-Sea. Snodland will also get high-speed services, subject to improvement work.

Two additional services from Margate and Broadstairs will create a half-hourly service and one extra service will be added at the start of off-peak time from Margate and Canterbury West.

There will also be new direct services between Maidstone East and Canterbury West.

The plans also suggest a wider choice of London terminal destinations from east Kent by offering a circular high-speed service to St Pancras.

There will also be more late services between Dartford and Victoria via Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill.

However, the proposals suggest stopping the hourly off-peak Victoria to Dover service via Gillingham.

Saturday services will reflect the Monday to Friday off-peak service, while Sunday service patterns are still in development as Southeastern awaits confirmation of engineering requirements of renovating London Bridge.

Southeastern's High Speed One train service

Southeastern's High Speed One train service

From Monday, January 12, 2015, to August 2016, platforms four, five and six at London Bridge will be closed to allow the Thameslink Programme to carry out its refit.

During this time, Southeastern services to Charing Cross will not stop at London Bridge, although Cannon Street services will.

There will be a two minute increase in journey times for safety reasons. Changes to the track layout will mean services from New Cross, St Johns, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill and Westcombe Park will not be able to go to Charing Cross.

Then from August 2016 to early 2018, Southeastern services to and from Cannon Street will not call at London Bridge station.

Services to and from Charing Cross will resume calling at London Bridge. A separate timetable consultation process will take place for this phase of the programme.

Southeastern train fares will be capped

Southeastern has apologised to customers after cancelling services

Southeastern train services director Richard Dean said: "We asked our passengers, stakeholders and staff what they'd like to see for the Southeastern services over the next few years, and this is the first phase of our plans going forward.

"These proposals provide new journey opportunities for our passengers including an all day off-peak high speed service for the Kent coast, and new direct services between Maidstone East and Canterbury West.

"We've done our best to meet as many of our passengers' aspirations put to us as part of the Direct Award Consultation and stakeholder meetings as possible and maintain performance at a time when the Southeastern network is seeing the most sustained period of investment, engineering and construction work for many years."

The public consultation closes on February 7 next year.

The final decision will be made by the Department for Transport.

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