It seems I only blog about trains these days, sorry about that. But this is important to anyone who regularly commutes up to London from Whitstable or Herne Bay.
From May 20th, 2018, the train service is changing. A lot. There are significantly fewer direct trains to and from Whitstable.
We’ve lost two trains from the morning rush hour and three trains from the evening peak, nearly 25% less.
In the morning, the early 6:25 St Pancras direct train has disappeared, as has the really useful 7:38 Victoria which currently links up with the 7:58 St Pancras from Faversham. The others have all shifted about, especially before 7am, so watch out for that.
In the evening it’s worse.
My current most-used train, the 18:11 from Cannon St, has simply disappeared. On that train today, in a quiet Easter holiday period, there were around 100 passengers travelling onwards from Faversham on this train, who will no longer be able to go direct.
If you go from Victoria, I feel sorry for you. Not only is your train so much slower than it was 10 years ago, there’s now no direct trains for 90 minutes between 18:10 and 19:40, and another one has been lost between 5 and 6.
There’s only three trains in total from London to Whitstable between 6 and 7 in the evening, compared to five before – given that this is generally when I travel, it’s really going to be a pain. Bear in mind also that the current trains in that time frame are already rammed with people – the other day there were folks who couldn’t physically get on the 18:25 at St Pancras because it was so full. How we’re going to cope with 2 fewer trains, is beyond me.
It seems that some of these trains are now going to Canterbury and Dover from Faversham, instead of on to the coast line – this seems like a really bad decision. Both those towns are already well served by the alternative High Speed line through Ashford, with extremely fast trains. Whitstable has no other line, and the population has been steadily growing year on year.
If you care about this, as I do, I urge you to do something about it. Write to Southeastern Rail, write to your local MP (Rosie Duffield, for Whitstable, Roger Gale for Herne Bay and North Thanet). I know I will be.
Here’s some hastily cobbled together screenshots of the before-and-after timetables. Note: the Wed 11th one has the 17:52 in it twice – blame National Rail’s website for that, not me!