4 trains an hour coming right up!
We did it! Thanks to everyone, from 21st May we will be enjoying our well-deserved 4 trains an hour on the Cinderella Line, doubling current capacity and giving us vital new services across London.
Here are the key changes:
Our core service:
4 trains an hour all day every day Monday – Saturday. Sunday will initially have 2 trains an hour increasing to 4 once Network Rail have completed some engineering works that will allow Thameslink to run the full service on Sundays too.
You can read more about the engineering works here.
Two of our services will terminate at Blackfriars and two will go beyond to Kentish Town, linking us up to Farringdon for Crossrail and Kings Cross St Pancras.
Weekday mornings into London:
On weekday mornings we will have 4 trains an hour and Crofton Park and Bellingham will also have some direct services to London Victoria:
The 4 Thameslink services will be spaced at 10 and 20 minute gaps. This is to pave the way for eventually increasing our service to 6 trains an hour and we're going to be pushing for this to happen.
Just imagine: a train every 10 minutes!
Travelling beyond Blackfriars?
2 out of our 4 services will go as far as Luton and 2 will terminate at Blackfriars. Eventually the two that terminate at Blackfriars will be extended to run to Welwyn Garden City in the morning peak time, once some key engineering works are completed.
For the first few weeks of the timetable, more of our services than usual will terminate at Blackfriars but after a few weeks they will go all the way through the core route to St Pancras and beyond.
You can view the amended timetables for the first few weeks here.
Travelling to Victoria?
We have been able to retain our three direct services to Victoria from Crofton Park, and secure direct services from Bellingham to Victoria, as well as retaining the Victoria services from Nunhead.
If you are travelling from Ravensborne, Beckenham Hill or Catford, we recommend you change at Bellingham, Crofton Park, or Nunhead to make your connection. The journey planner may tell you to change at Denmark Hill, but it its easier to change at the other stations as you don’t need to cross a bridge to change platforms.
If you are travelling from Bellingham or Crofton Park to Victoria and there is no direct service for the time you want to travel, change at Nunhead for an easier ride to your destination.
Weekday evenings back from London:
We will have 4 services an hour, 2 of which will start from Blackfriars and two from Luton. After the peak commuting time, they will come from Kentish Town and Blackfriars.
Travelling from Victoria?
There are currently no direct Victoria services southbound in the evening that call at Cinderella Line stations (with the exception of Nunhead) but we are working to change this.
In the meantime, the easiest way home from London Victoria is to take a service to Nunhead and change there to complete your journey.
Weekday off peak times and Saturdays:
Our normal service at off peak time will be 4 trains an hour; 2 between Sevenoaks and Blackfriars and 2 between Kentish Town and Orpington.
This means that we will have at least 2 direct services an hour that go beyond Blackfriars for 6 days a week which is a huge improvement for us. The waiting times at Blackfriars for an onward connection are also vastly improved with less than a five minute wait for most connections.
How do I check my new journey?
The easiest way to see your new journey times is to check the National Rail Enquiries website that has been updated with the new timetable information.
Don't forget our tips about where to change if you are going to and from Victoria.
We know that some of our supporters are concerned about what the new timetable will mean for them and so we have tried to address some key questions.
Q: Thank you for your work on securing more trains for us. What will the Cinderella Line do now you have achieved your aim?
The Cinderella Line campaign was set up to improve rail services for Crofton Park station users and those at nearby stations too.
Overall we are pleased with the new timetable that is coming into place, however this is by no means the end of the campaign. We will still continue to fight for more services to London Victoria to give us a vital connection to the west of London and we want to see more done to improve the whole passenger experience, including things like improved station facilities, better accessibility and even more services.
We will continue to work to improve our service but if there is something specific that you think we should focus on then please contact us as we welcome ideas.
Q: I rely on the trains to London Victoria but it appears that we have lost one of these in the new timetable from Crofton Park – can you clarify?
From Crofton Park there are currently three direct services to London Victoria on weekday mornings departing at 7:36, 8:23 and 8:43. In the new timetable from May, these times have been amended to depart at 7:46, 8:15 and 9:21, so our third service will be more than 30 minutes after it currently is.
We have raised this with Southeastern Railway and the reason for this is that under the new timetable with all of our core services through Blackfriars, it is not currently possible to have a train that stops at Crofton Park at around 8:45 to Victoria as this could cause a knock-on delay to other services.
Southeastern will monitor the situation and if they can return a service to the timetable at this time then they will do.
In the meantime, if you need to get to Victoria around this time, this would be the best option to take:
8:28 Crofton Park – Nunhead (arriving 8:30)
8:34 Nunhead – London Victoria (arriving 8:55)
Q: I am a regular commuter from Catford into Central London and it appears that in the new timetable we have fewer trains in the morning rush hour – why is this?
Currently, Catford enjoys a few services that run fast to Denmark Hill (skipping out other stations on the line) but these are closely bunched together with services that call at all stations.
The only way to deliver more capacity for all users is for all trains to call at all stations, meaning that our trains can move in unison with each other (in the same way tube trains all move together). While this does mean different timed services for people at Catford, there will still be the same number of services they will just be more evenly spaced and all trains will stop at all stations.
Overall this will provide more capacity for everyone and allow for more in future when it is needed.
Q: The new timetable is all well and good, but what about the new trains? I know there have been some reliability issues so how can Thameslink run the new services if the trains can't be relied upon?
A: It is true that the new trains have had some teething issues being implemented and some of this was because even though the trains are tested thoroughly before being put onto the tracks, they are running on Victorian infrastructure and so there was no way of being able to predict how everything would work in the real world.
The trains are now 4 times more reliable than they were when they first came into use and this is improving each week as Siemens, the train manufacturer release new software updates to correct any problems.
In addition to this, the new trains will drive themselves between Blackfriars and St Pancras, using an automatic train operating system. The reason for this is to safely move 24 trains an hour in both directions between these stations (with each train starting from a different station and heading to a different destination) so it’s a hugely complex plan to deliver the new timetable and get all the trains loaded in the correct order to then go out the other side to their destinations at the right time.
Thameslink and Siemens have been working to make sure that the technology works in order to help deliver the new timetable and they have now successfully used the automatic system to move trains through the core part of the route so we are confident that the reliability will continue to improve each day.
Thameslink have also put expert engineers, at some of the key stations on the route (Blackfriars, Farringdon, St Pancras) so they can quickly get to any train that has an problem to assist the driver to get things moving again and minimise any delays.