Beckenham's Member of Parliament, Bob Stewart, has welcomed the news that Southeastern will be reinstating the London Blackfriars Service from Beckenham Junction from the 11th December.
The rush-hour service was suspended at the start of the pandemic in 2019 when the country went into lockdown. However, since the country ended restrictions in 2021 the service had not been reinstated. Bob wrote to the Managing Director of Southeastern (before the franchise changed hands) and the then Rail Minister in 2021 urging that the service be reinstated.
Beckenham Town & Copers Cope Ward Councillor Michael Tickner also signed the Copers Cope Residents Association petition calling for the service to be reinstated, which was signed by over 2000 people.
In an e-mail to London Assembly Member, Peter Fortune (who recently wrote to another operator, Southern Railway, to highlight the number of cancellations affecting Beckenham) Southeastern confirmed the reinstatement saying:
“I am pleased to let you know that the direct Beckenham Junction to Blackfriars peak service will be returning at the end of the year.
Since we’ve been recovering from the pandemic, we have been looking at passenger usage patterns across our network, which have changed fundamentally with more people hybrid working. We’ve also been looking at how we can improve punctuality which, as your constituent’s email indicates, is an important priority for customers.
This peak service will be reinstated as part of our December timetable change which will be wide-ranging and comprehensive and will make a significant improvement to train punctuality, by reducing congestion at busy railway junctions. We will be publishing full details on this change at the end of the month and the new timetable will be uploaded in journey planners very shortly.”
Welcoming the news, Bob said:
"This is great news for passengers, I very much welcome both the commitment not just to restore the service this year but also to improve punctuality on the network. Since we came out of restrictions the service provided just has not been good enough. This is certainly a step in the right direction and, along with Councillor colleagues and Peter, I will continue to fight for the best service for local rail users”.