Bromley North Line
|Bromley North Line|
Southeastern Class 465 unit 465931 at Bromley North.
|Type||Suburban rail, Heavy rail|
|Rolling stock||Class 466 "Networker"|
|Number 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 less than 2-mile (3.2 km) long branch line in Greater London that connects at Grove Park with the South Eastern Main Line operated by Southeastern. During the 2010s the line which has two stations of its own has been served by a non-through (shuttle) service to and from Grove Park railway station in the London Borough of Lewisham. Network Rail records the line as route SO350.
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.
A shuttle service operates, known by the staff as "the popper". The service is mainly three trains per hour in each direction, reduced to two in the late evenings and on Saturdays. Public holidays and Sundays are not operated by the franchisee. Previously[when?] through services operated, to Holborn Viaduct, Victoria, Cannon Street and Charing Cross. There was a consultation to bring through services from Charing Cross back into operation for the December[when?] timetable, instead timetable slots and terminus paths were allocated to the longer distance Charing Cross to Orpington services, boosting those services to four trains per hour rather than two.
Additional use during engineering works
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.
The post peak evening service from London that arrives at Grove Park at 12 minutes past the hour is not treated as a connection with the 15 minutes past shuttle service and the official Network Rail timetable indicates that passengers should connect with the 35 minutes service, a 23-minute wait on a shuttle service that runs every 20 minutes.
Class 466 rolling stock primarily operates on this route. Until 2010 this was the only 'true branch', that is branch-only service, in Greater London for trains to be worked with a driver and a guard. Since 2010 driver-only, as mirrors and monitors have been provided on the platforms to allow the driver to look back. As the mirrors are positioned for a four carriage service but the service usually operates with two carriages, at Bromley North the train stops half way along the platform.
The Southeastern Main Line into central London is at full capacity. Service patterns have begun to entrench all longer distance service destinations as direct, many trains per hour, stations. Therefore, Southeastern consider that it is not economically justifiable to reinstate direct services from Bromley North into central London, and consequently all (non-contingency Bromley South backup) services 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
- incorporation into the London Overground via New Cross — problems of line capacity make this a less likely 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 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.
- Train Times 6: 15 May to 26 August 2016. Timetable booklet. Southeastern. Retrieved 2016-06-18
- "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.