It was rubbish at Abbey Wood!
I thought I might take the scenic route to East Ham today, the new slower than you have ever seen before (†) Thameslink to Blackfriars and then the District LIne. I was at Abbey Wood station at 8 a.m. planning to photograph the arrivals screen but no Thameslink trains were shown, neither was there any cancellation announcement.
At 1 p.m. I was there again to begin my trip. The same; nothing whatsoever on any display board. I asked the ticket man if he knew anything and he shrugged in a ‘what do you expect’ sort of way and said there had been no official word on the situation.
I descended to the platform to find a 25 minute wait for the next London bound train. Gone are the days when trains were so frequent that there was no need to check the timetable. Today’s experience suggested the ‘service improvement’ provides for two trains every half hour with service intervals of five and twenty five minutes. You don’t have to be stupid to work in Southeastern’s offices but it will help your promotion prospects if you are.
Then the penny partially dropped, no trains were going beyond Slade Green. Was there some planned engineering work going on? Surely not; what sort of idiot would announce a new train service for 20th May knowing it cannot run?
However the web provides evidence that there are indeed such idiots in abundance…
While in East Ham I noted that Twitter was reporting Thameslink trains through Charlton but when I returned to Woolwich Arsenal there was a 35 minute wait for a train. One was cancelled, There was another due to terminate at Plumstead which is not timetabled. It was then that the penny fell all the way down. Thameslink services were only running as far as Plumstead. Haven’t they got reversal facilities at Slade Green?
Things are not much better on weekdays. A neighbour asked my advice on travelling to King’s Cross early tomorrow morning and I suggested Thameslink. But forget it; there is only an hourly peak period service and it is horribly slow.
In East Ham the latest issue of the fortnightly Pravda had been distributed. It used to be noteworthy for the number of times former Mayor Robin Wales could get his mug shot into its pages. I sometimes counted as many as nine but new Momentum backed Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz is aiming far higher; she is pictured prominently 15 times in its first eight pages.
† London Bridge to Abbey Wood by Thameslink, 28 minutes. 30 years ago by British Rail. Fastest service 19 minutes. Slowest, 24 minutes.