Big Changes for Hayes Trains

Rail services from Hayes to Cannon Street are set to end under plans set out by the Department for Transport (DfT) late last year. However,  new services are set to replace them.

The DfT is inviting train operators to bid for the South Eastern rail franchise from April 2019 with the major changes coming in December 2022. For the Hayes line the bid specification (pdf 93kb) demands the Hayes to Charing Cross service should run non-stop from Ladywell to London Bridge with, optionally, stops at Lewisham only in rush hour. However, a new service to Victoria will also commence which will include Lewisham stops and open up a wider range of South London stations such as Denmark Hill (for Kings College Hospital). There appear to be no plans for a Cannon Street service.

It was over three years ago that Transport for London controversially suggested an extension of the Bakerloo underground line to Hayes, which would have seen an end to any direct services to either London Bridge or the City. Those plans now appear to have been subsequently shelved.

These new plans, although coming from central government this time, will still see the more direct City link severed, though a London Bridge connection remains allowing changes for Cannon Street as well as Blackfriars and beyond with the completion of the new London Bridge station. The technical justification for the changes is to reduce train congestion around Lewisham and so make for more reliable services.

We would be keen to hear what Hayes train users think.

26 thoughts on “Big Changes for Hayes Trains”

  1. Sounds like the upgrade is needed at Lewisham.
    All the tall flats being built in Lewisham, Catford Bridge, Lower Sydenham and more proposed flats in Beckenham… the transportation infrastructure at Lewisham (for vital links to Canary Wharf and through to Greenwich and subsequent South East England links) has clearly been pushed down the agenda.

    1. Agree – Lewisham is dangerous. Huge chasms in the already narrow platforms. It’s a busy station in its own right, let alone a key hub for links to Canary Wharf

  2. Working near Liverpool Street Station, no direct Cannon Street trains would be a major disruption to my journey. I have two kids and work 8.30-4.30, changes to my route and the timings of my journey would make my day even more impossible than it already is. If you want to free up congestion around Lewisham, run the Cannon Street trains fast without stopping there.

  3. Sounds great! It’s soneasy to catch a connecting train to Cannon Street at London Bridge. Good to have connections to Victoria & Denmark hill!

  4. Would love trains from Hayes to Denmark Hill. Work at Kings and have a young family so having a more direct and quicker journey (and probably less congested) to work would be fab!

  5. I work in the City and go into Cannon Street daily. Although given how the trains from Cannon St to Hayes are in the evening (feckin awful!) It wouldn’t surprise me if this decision has aleady been made.

    1. The cynic in me agrees. They are doing this to alleviate the dangerous situation at the under-capacity Cannon Street (that has only recently been redeveloped).
      Rather than fixing the problem, they are adding to it

  6. Agreed regards the need for a Lewisham upgrade.

    Losing Cannon Street for Blackfriars and Victoria would be a positive move. Provided the fare charging was changed in line with North and East London, where ongoing journeys via the Tube are included in the standard fare. Criminal that charging structures are a lottery and noit standardised across Greater London.

  7. The link to Victoria via Denmark Hill is very fast from Bromley South. Surely there is no need for the additional line from Hayes. I assume it will be a long journey between the two (as demonstrated during the holiday period recently). However the link to Cannon Street is necessary and it is more important to keep that link instead of expecting passengers to always alight at London Bridge to change to a Cannon Street train.

  8. I am unsure how I would get to NX if the Cannon Street service ends, and they run the trains fast from Ladywell. I guess I would have to change at Catford Bridge. Let’s hope they consider all options.

  9. Obviously the hundreds of commuters who alight at Cannon St will not be impressed and those who need Victoria will be. This train line to Cannon St is one of the reasons I moved to West Wickham, getting on at London Bridge in the evening will be a nightmare having to stand on a journey that can regularly take 40 mins. Bloody annoying for me, I work and catch up with stuff sitting down to and from work, only real peace I get during the day 🙄

  10. Based on the volume of people currently using the Cannon Street services I would chalk this up as a completely moronic decision if they are scheduled to be canned. Once again, the commuter is put over a barrel by the franchise as we will have to use and pay for whatever service is running and adjust accordingly. It’s not like we’ll have a choice right? We can’t “not” go to work.

  11. Considering how busy the trains are from New Beckenham to Cannon Street it makes no sense at all to stop this service.
    I appreciate people’s comments about a Victoria service being beneficial, but as this is already accessible from Beckenham Junction it surely makes sense to have all possible central London station options.

    1. For people working in the City, Victoria is not a solution. They already have to block the exit to the Tube at Victoria now. Add to that City commuters from Hayes, Clockhouse, Beckenham etc who are now forced to travel to Victoria AND pay for a Tube journey.
      The Circle and District lines and Victoria will not be able to cope with that extra capacity

  12. FOR a service that is massively over crowded and therefore very popular, this is an odd suggestion. Hundreds commute to the city on the Hayes line daily, and many have made significant life decisions such as a property purchase that supports their required commute. This is not a service that can be withdrawn.

  13. Much of the problem is Southeastern’s own incompetence. Stick some efficient people in charge of operating the service and managing the platforms and crowds and the problems will subside.
    It is worth noting that when several stations were closed at the end of 2017 and extra contractors were drafted in to manage the increased crowds at those stations remaining open, including Cannon Street, the crowd control was fantastic. The contractors were so much more capable than the regular station staff.
    Same thing in the morning. Time and again I tell the Cannon Street staff to user passengers through all the barriers to disperse alighting crowds more quickly yet all they do is loaf around chatting.

  14. I commuted into Cannon St service for 20 years and can’t remember a day (other than at Christmas) when it wasn’t overcrowded. I now commute into Charing Cross: my 7.20 train from Elmers End to Charing Cross has recently been reduced from 10 to 8 coaches, meaning that a service that was merely overcrowded now has shouting, rows and abuse pretty every much day as people try to cram their way on. How are they going to get the thousands of people from the Cannon St services onto the already overcrowded Charing Cross services, so that they can change at London Bridge?
    Anyone who has got off a rush hour train at Cannon St will testify to the fact that a huge number of people are leaving the station and heading into the City, not going to the underground to get to Victoria.
    The removal of the Cannon St service would be a big problem for thousands of people, who are already being treated like cattle.
    Also, why make New Cross less accessible if the aim is to open up different transport routes? The Overground service out of New Cross seems to be well used, after all.

  15. I travel daily from West Wickham to Cannon Street (and back) during rush hour. The issue i see is the trains from London to Hayes being crowded before they get to London Bridge. The Charing Cross trains often are already. With additional trains to Victoria i question how there will be more, longer trains to Hayes?

    1. Agree. The statement from DofT about Cannon St having free Hayes line commuters using it is fundamentally incorrect. Mornings and evenings, the vast majority of commuters alight and board these services at Cannon St. London Bridge during rush hour is not as popular.

  16. I can’t believe they are going to close such a busy line. The train to cannon street is such a busy line and packed everyday as it is currently the only station from Hayes that goes into the city. This is ridiculous, and whoever they have commissioned to do the analysis should think again.

    1. The comment in the proposal about more trains for the shoulder peak as a benefit does not feel like a fair trade for reduced services in the peak.

  17. I disagree with this decision. For more than 2 years we have endured a lot of disruption accessing the London stations due to works, which most people have endured gracefully and on the understanding that service would ultimately improve and return to normal. Now the end is in sight a service much relied on is being withdrawn. Bromley serves Victoria well in little under 15-20 mins why spend close to an hour accessing this station from Hayes!!

  18. Bromley South services Victoria which is a short bus ride and faster.

    Victoria is overcrowded and just pushing more people there.

    Severing City link will overcrowd the Charing Cross trains that are also overcrowded.

    In short, a terribly thought out proposal that should not go ahead.

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