Beckenham’s Member of Parliament, Colonel Bob Stewart, has called on Southeastern Railways to reinstate the Beckenham Junction to London Blackfriars to rush hour service, which was suspended at the start of the pandemic.
Bob has written to both the Minister for Rail, Chris Heaton-Harris, and the Managing Director of Southeastern, David Statham, to highlight the risks that scrapping the route can cause as well as the benefits that the connection provides to local commuters.
The line, which also serves Kent House, Penge East, Sydenham Hill, and West Dulwich, was suspended at the start of the pandemic when the Government issues the stay-at-home order. Despite the Prime Minister confirming that this order will be lifted on the 19th July there has been no announcement from Southeastern on the line being reinstated, leading the Beckenham to seek clarification on the subject. Additionally the Copers Cope Residents Association last year claimed that Southeastern had refused to guarantee the line would be reinstated and launched a petition calling for the route to be protected, which was signed by over 1,600 people.
In his letter to both the Minister and Rail Operators Managing Director Bob highlights that the removal of the service will mean more people using the Victoria services and having to change at Herne Hill – which on pre-pandemic commuters numbers was “near impossible” due to the trains through Herne Hill being at capacity.
“This service is relied upon by hundreds of local commuters, and as we emerge from these unprecedented times we need train operators like Southeastern to be doing all they can to help people get to their offices safely and commuters need confidence that this is the case. I cannot reconcile how scrapping this popular and well-used service helps to achieve this, given the negative impact the decision would have. That is why I have not only raised this matter with the Managing Director of Southeastern but also with the Rail Minister. I hope now that Southeastern will provide the clarification local commuters need and reinstate this vitally important service”.