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Councillor calls for rail works to stop when Charlton home games playing

By Caitlin Webb, local democracy reporter

A councillor is calling for rail works to stop during Charlton Athletic home games as elderly and disabled fans struggle to get home.

Season ticket holder Cllr Tom Maddison says trains from Kent are often cancelled on weekends when the Addicks are playing at The Valley.

The councillor for Dartford Borough Council said: "For some reason it seems like every time Charlton are at home there are rail works.

The Charlton ground, by by foshie on Flickr (2482367)
The Charlton ground, by by foshie on Flickr (2482367)

"I don't see why Southeastern and Network Rail can't work together to make things a little bit easier for fans by rescheduling it for when Charlton play away.

"I'm worried about fans who are disabled or elderly trying to get to the games.

"Either there is a bus replacement or there's nothing so people have to find other ways home."

Southeastern run direct trains from Strood, Dartford and Slade Green to Charlton.

However Network Rail are responsible for the railway lines and organise the repair works.

Chris Denham, a spokesman for Network Rail said: "Planned engineering work of the type that would affect Charlton fans is planned a year to 18 months in advance, if not even more.

"As an example, the work we undertook in Polhill Tunnel near Sevenoaks over the last Bank Holiday was in the pipeline for two years.

"By the time the fixture list is published, timetables are well on their way to completion and it’s too late to move engineering work.

"Even more significantly, there’s often changes to fixtures for TV listings after the season has started.

"The cost of the Polhill Tunnel job, for instance, was around £2m, and had it been postponed it would have delayed the vital work for potentially years and increased the costs massively.

"While the disruption to Charlton fans is to be regretted, and we do appreciate their patience, there really is no way round it."

Cllr Maddison says he is "disappointed" that more cannot be done to help the fans and added the season fixtures are often published a year in advance.

Charlton AFC has been contacted for a comment.

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