A website about the Bromley North Branch Line
No snow this year so I have used this seasonal shot of a Postman on the Footbridge North of Bromley North taken last year.
Looking Back on 2011
Today ends the year of 2011, which has been on the whole a year of progress. First we had the installation of Driver Only Operation which although sent the friendly assortment of guards packing did pretty much half the cost of running the 'Popper.' I don't know if the service does make a profit on the whole but I am sure it does in the peaks and this 'improvement' helps this. Congratulations go to Southeastern for allowing 4 Carriages to use the installment although this does mean that the 2 Car Stopboard is exactly 2 Carriages north of Bromley North station building!

Then came the Bromley North Station Improvements, in actual fact this had nothing to do with platform, tracks or even the Grade II listed station building but was instead focused on replacing the 'patio' in front of the latter. This began by removing the two or three trees which were ripping up the patio bricks, then a lengthy wait was followed by the removal of the ruined patio. In it's place a new redder brick patio was installed along with 20 odd bollards around the perimeter and two neatly contained trees (see photos in gallery). The end result allowed photographers and the general public to see and appreciate the grand building without having to peer through foliage and branches, I was very pleased.

The end of 2011 was marked by a service increase in the December timetable change, perhaps as a result of the cost cutting measures of the Driver Only Operation Facility installed earlier in the year. 'The Bromley North Branch line will be fully 3tph (trains per hour)', this website's news report proclaimed and indeed it is now, barring the 0thp statistic on Sundays and late night and early morning (6 O'clock) figures which remain 2 tph.

Looking Forward to 2012
Tomorrow we start the year of 2012 and there are wide amount of posts already planned for the ‘latest news’ section. Perhaps a more appropriate title for ‘latest news’ would be ‘blog’ as I will be examining options and potential throughout the year as well as faithfully reporting latest developments on the branch.

As in 2011 we saw three improvements which have been discussed earlier, perhaps and appropriate thing to  do would be to list three ‘desired’ improvements for 2012.
Full restoration of the waiting room at Sundridge Park. (already underway)

And a more ambitious but achievable (it has good arguments)-
Reinstatement of the Sunday Service. (especially during the Olympics)

It seems this website has almost turned into a sort of Passenger Lobbying Group for the Branch and so I will be writing letters to various contacts
Much much more ambitious (and some times ridiculous) schemes will be brought forward in various ‘blog’ posts along the course of the year so watch this space!
In the meantime I wish you and your families a happy new year!
Today, as those of you following the latest news will know, is the last Saturday of the current timetable, of coarse it would not be so significant if it weren’t for the fact that the timetable to be introduced includes 3tph in most of the off-peak (and peak). An increase of 48 services in each direction per week boosts the current weekly total of 253 to 301. Saturdays has the biggest improvement, previously having 2 trains per hour (tph) in each direction as of next week Saturdays will be predominately 3tph. Weekdays also see a service increase but already being 3tph in the peak it is not such a big one. Anyway, to mark the occasion, today I decided to do a photoshoot.

To see the photos go Gallery
For an (epic) account of the day see The Last Saturday

A class 466 taken from a vantage point accessible from the footpath.
Today, On my regular walk from the bus dropping off point to home, which involves a trip through Bromley North station itself I saw a class 465. The line is usually run by a class 466 EMU, which are a 2 carriage version of the class 465 (which has 4 carriages), Southeastern usually bring these out for no apparent reason or, in some cases to reduce the chances of the train breaking down in frost or snow (as there are more 'pick-ups' on a longer train)- but the first thing that stuck me was- 'bet those peak time passengers are pleased.'
And they would be, for when my Dad was living a street away he commuted from Bromley North and he told me that he regularly failed to get a seat. So, why don't they run 465s all the time?
The answer is, of course that the demand in the off-peak does not justify the use of the longer unit all day, indeed the off-peak could probably not fill a single carriage train.

There are a number of solutions that spring to mind-
1. Re-introduce the Bromley North- London direct service with a class 465, this would satisfy all overcrowding and would not be used in the off-peak.
2. Run the 465 on the shuttle in the peak and replace it with a 466 in the off peak. (seems rather obvious but I have a feeling it won't work, I'll look into it)
3. Run two 466s in a rapid service in the peak, ferrying passengers to Grove Park every 5 minutes or so as they come- they may have to wait at Grove Park but it would avoid overcrowding and the passengers would otherwise be waiting at Bromley North (or Sundridge Park) anyway (although Bromley North is much nicer to wait at in my opinion, Sundridge Park is even Nicer!) In the off peak one of the units would leave the branch and leave the other to continue the 3tph sequence. (alternitively the extra unit could wait in one of the two platforms at bromley north between the two peak times.

Website about the Bromley North Branch Line which runs between Bromley North and Grove Park with a intermediate stop at Sundridge Park