Central Line Services

Date petition submitted: 
02 November 2016
Petition presented by: 
Tom Copley AM,
Petition presented at: 
London Assembly Plenary

Summary of petition

We the undersigned call on TfL and the Mayor of London to re-instate the rush-hour Central Line services on ‘the Hainault Loop’ which were axed with effect from Monday 8 August 2016. The effect of these cuts has been to leave hundreds of passengers who commute to work from Roding Valley, Grange Hill, and Chigwell tube stations with a service which is not fit for purpose. For instance, passengers who miss the 7.21am service (timed at Roding Valley) now have to wait over 45 minutes until 8.09am for the next through-train to London. This is because, without any consultation with local people or councillors, TfL halved the number of tube trains (from 6 trains to 3) running through these 3 stations during the key period of 7.30 – 8.30am. This unwarranted attack comes at a time when passenger usage of this section of the Central Line has increased by over 20% - surely more passengers should mean more trains, not a 50% cut in our rush hour service! We call also on the Mayor of London to fulfil his commitment to represent all those who live and / or work in London. What message doe it send to working people for the Mayor to preside over drastic cuts to our transport system when most service users, particularly at the affected times, are simply trying to get to work to provide for their families and to contribute to London life, whether by working in essential public services, or helping enrich London’s economy if they work in the private sector? Having publicly stated that #LondonIsOpen, the Mayor needs to support working people, like us, who help make that a reality.”

Response information

Response title: 
Mayor's Response
Name of person responding: 
Sadiq Khan, Chairman of Transport for London
Response date: 
06 December 2016
"Thank you for the petition presented to the London Assembly (Plenary) meeting on 2 November by Tom Copley AM about the new Central line timetable introduced on 8 August. I note that you also wrote to Mike Brown, I am replying on his behalf too. The new timetable was introduced to better balance services across the line as a whole, matching available resources more closely to customer demand. I recognise that the changes, although necessary, have had an impact on the daily journeys of a number of people and I apologise to those who have been affected. While TfL withdrew four through-trains between 06:30am and 08:21am from the Hainault loop (timings at Grange Hill), it added six trains to start from the far busier Epping and Loughton area. This is because between 06:00am and 08:30am, the period over which services were altered, there are typically over 8,000 customers on the Epping branch compared with 600 on the Hainault loop. The Epping branch used to have 93% of the customers and only 79% of the train service; under the new timetable the train service is now 91%. The new Central line timetable results in significantly reduced waiting times for customers. While this changes means fewer through-trains to central London on the Hainault loop, customers can catch trains that terminate at Woodford, and make a same-platform change at Woodford to trains into central London. Customers at Grange Hill, Chigwell and Roding Valley can also catch a through service to central London with a seat the whole way if they choose to travel via Hainault, though this takes about 7 1/2 minutes longer for passengers at Chigwell, for example. Using the example in the petition of passengers who miss the 07:21am through-service from Roding Valley, rather than waiting for the next through-service to central London at 08.09am, they could instead catch the 07.29am service to Woodford which connects with a central London departure at 07:36am. Alternatively, passengers could get a seat on a through-service via Hainault, which would be 24 minutes quicker than waiting for the 08.09am service. There is therefore no need for passengers to wait over 45 minutes for the next through-service to central London, as suggested in the petition. Between 2010 and 2015 there has been modest growth (365 passengers) in passengers using Grange Hill, Chigwell and Roding Valley but the corresponding increase in entries at stations from Buckhurst Hill to Epping over the same period is 1,210 passengers, which is over three times greater. This has also informed the decision to run the six extra trains on the Epping branch. Ideally, London Underground (LU) would also increase service on the Hainault loop to reflect growth in demand, but limits to the capability of the fleet, signalling and track, mean LU has to make decisions to maximise benefits for the line as a whole. LU of course continuously reviews the Central line timetables to match with demand as closely as possible and make the most of its available resource."