Bromley North Line
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2009)|
|Bromley North Line|
Southeastern Class 465 unit 465931 at Bromley North.
|Type||Suburban rail, Heavy rail|
|Rolling stock||Class 466 "Networker"|
|No. of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||750 DC third rail|
|Operating speed||30 mph (48 km/h)|
|Bromley North Line|
The Bromley North line is a short (less than 2 miles long) branch line in Greater London that connects at Grove Park with the South Eastern Main Line operated by Southeastern. The line is known as Network Rail route S0 350.
The line was built by the 'Bromley Direct Railway Company', in co-operation with the South Eastern Railway (SER), to compete with the London, Chatham and Dover Railway, which owned the other Bromley station, Bromley South. It opened on 1 January 1878 and was worked by the SER from the outset. The two companies merged later in the same year.
Currently only a shuttle service operates, known by the staff as "the popper". The typical off-peak service is three trains per hour in each direction. Services run Mondays to Saturdays only, with no service on public holidays. Previously through services had continued on to Holborn Viaduct, Victoria, Cannon Street and Charing Cross. There was a proposal to bring through services from Charing Cross to Bromley North back into operation for the December[when?] timetable, but the extra paths were instead used to make the Charing Cross to Orpington services four trains per hour rather than two.
Bromley North Station also serves as an alternative station for Bromley, when engineering works are being carried out on the Chatham Main Line or when other maintenance works are occurring at Bromley South. Trains are diverted from London Victoria to Bromley North via Lewisham and Grove Park, and vice versa. During this operation, it is more common to see Class 375s and 376s as well as Southeastern Networkers.
Networkers (in the Metro layout) primarily operate on this route. Until 2010, the branch was unique in being the only line in the suburban area for trains to be worked with a driver and a guard. The service is now driver-only, as mirrors and monitors have been provided on the platforms to allow the driver to look back.
Because the Southeastern Main Line into central London is at full capacity, Southeastern have claimed that it is not now possible to reinstate direct services from Bromley North into central London, and consequently the shuttle service must terminate at Grove Park for the foreseeable future. Various proposals have been put forward to convert the Bromley North Line to an alternative mode of transport to make better use of this isolated piece of rail infrastructure. Transport for London have indicated that they are considering a number of possible options for connecting the Bromley North Line to one of the other public transport systems in London, including:
- incorporation into the Docklands Light Railway via a link south of Lewisham
- incorporation into London Underground by extending the Bakerloo line from Elephant and Castle
- conversion for tram use as an extension of the Tramlink system
Additionally, it has been suggested that the Bromley North Line could be connected to London Overground via an extended service from New Cross, although the problems of line capacity make this seem an unlikely solution.
These schemes have not been taken beyond the proposal stage and recommendations are expected to be published around 2017. In a report published by the London Borough of Bromley in 2012, proposals to extend Tramlink beyond Beckenham Junction into Bromley town centre are outlined, with a further option to continue this route along the Bromley North Line to Grove Park. The report also considers the Bakerloo line extension favourably, but notes difficulties with tunnelling a connection between Lewisham and Grove Park, and with the provision of a depot. The Tramlink proposal also features in the Rail Utilisation Strategy report by Network Rail.
- Body (1989), p.57.
- "Could the DLR or Bakerloo line be coming to Bromley?". This is Local London. 23 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- "The Past and Future of the Bromley North Branch". London Reconnections. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- "Future Rail and Tram Links to Bromley" (PDF). Report No. ES12004. London Borough of Bromley. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- "8.10 Gap Q – Tramlink extensions" (PDF). London and South East Route Utilisation Strategy. Network Rail. July 2011. p. 159. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
Geoffrey Body, Railways of Southern Region, (1978), Patrick Stephens Ltd. 1-85260-297-X.