By Joe Coughlan Local, Democracy Reporter
More than 1,400 people have signed a petition against timetable changes to a Southeastern Railway service.
Greenwich councillor Matt Hartley called plans to alter the “loop” service in Greenwich and Bromley boroughs a “farce”.
Under Southeastern’s new December timetable, New Eltham and Mottingham residents wanting to use the Elizabeth Line at Abbey Wood will be forced to take multiple buses instead of a direct train.
Currently, the loop service runs every half an hour. After passing Crayford, the route turns through Slade Green, before stopping at Belvedere and Abbey Wood on the way to Plumstead.
At a Greenwich council meeting on October 26, Cllr Hartley said that the loss of the loop service was “totally unacceptable” and thought it had been done “by accident”.
The councillor said that the line was relied on for University of Greenwich students getting to their campus in New Eltham, as well as local primary schools going to trips in Greenwich town centre.
Included in the changes is a 7.26am service from New Cross to Cannon Street, linking the Sidcup line to Abbey Wood.
In reference to Southeastern representatives previously calling the Elizabeth Line a “game changer”, Cllr Hartley said: “The Elizabeth Line is not a game changer for my residents in the very south of the borough.
“These changes take away our ward’s only direct public transport link to the Elizabeth Line at Abbey Wood. Talk about a self-defeating argument.”
Criticism for the proposed Southeastern Railway changes has largely focused on the Woolwich and Bexleyheath lines, both of which will see severely reduced services to Charing Cross.
Under the new timetable, commuters who need to get to Waterloo or Charing Cross will need to change trains at London Bridge.
Responding to concerns, a Southeastern spokesman: “We are listening and have made some changes to the December timetable in response to specific feedback regarding school flows not previously provided for and some other straightforward improvements that can be made.
“We will look into flexibilities on the loop service regarding its use by University of Greenwich students to reach the Avery Hill campus and by local primary schools to organise trips to the town centre.”
Pictured top: Councillor Matt Hartley speaking against the Southeastern Railway changes at the Greenwich council meeting (Picture: Greenwich council)