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Brighton to Clapham Junction direct services. What's happened?

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gray1404

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Does anyone know what has happened to the direct services between Brighton and Clapham Junction? I see there are regular services between Brighton and London Victoria but they are not calling at Clapham Junction. Is the station stop at Clapham Junction likely to be reinstated anytime soon?

Thanks.
 
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JonathanH

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Diverted to Eastbourne to remove the need for splitting trains at Haywards Heath. Not due to resume running to Brighton any time soon.
 

Horizon22

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I think this is partly due to Gatwick Airport infrastructure work, partly due to Covid, and partly operational convenience.

Just hop on a train to East Croydon and get a same platform change.
 

gray1404

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Poor show though not to be running direct services between Brighton and Clapham Junction.

I don't recall too many Brighton services splitting at Haywards Heath. Rather, the Littlehampton and Eastbourne service would be the one to split.
 

Ianno87

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Poor show though not to be running direct services between Brighton and Clapham Junction.

I don't recall too many Brighton services splitting at Haywards Heath. Rather, the Littlehampton and Eastbourne service would be the one to split.

Previously....

-There was a 2tph Victoria-Haywards Heath (split) - Littlehampton/Eastbourne service, plus a 2tph Brighton-Victoria semi-fast (non-Gatwick Express) service

-To thin out paths and add resilience for the Gatwick project, the 2tph Brighton semi-fast has been removed (as well as 2tph of the 4tph Gatwick Express), with the Littlehampton and Eastbourne services becoming seperate 2tph services.

Ending splitting/joining of Eastbourne/Littlehampton gives a journey time reduction to these passengers, plus also more capacity as a full 8/12-car train can service each route every half hour, rather than one or other being restricted to 4-car.

The downside is Brighton-Clapham Junction passengers needing to change at East Croydon (and the total Brighton-London service reducing from 8tph to 6tph).
 

gray1404

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The simple solution here is the existing 2 trains per hour that are running under the Southern brand, between London Victoria and Brighton have a call at Clapham Junction added.
 

JonathanH

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The simple solution here is the existing 2 trains per hour that are running under the Southern brand, between London Victoria and Brighton have a call at Clapham Junction added.
Yes, but that may not actually be 'simple' given the pathing at Victoria, Clapham Junction and East Croydon and desire to maintain a non-stop service to Gatwick. The much more simple option is for passengers wishing to travel from Brighton to Clapham Junction to change at Gatwick Airport or East Croydon or perhaps travel from Hove.
 

Ianno87

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The simple solution here is the existing 2 trains per hour that are running under the Southern brand, between London Victoria and Brighton have a call at Clapham Junction added.

They are basically the Gatwick Express services, but branded as 'Southern' (but still using Gatwick Express stock).

@JonathanH explains why adding a stop is not necessarily simple. Additionally, the timetable was conceived pre-Covid when maintaining a non-stop Express services was still important for air travel demand/politics.
 

Sad Sprinter

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At the risk of sounding like an industry-illiterate miserablist I do think the Brighton services were a lot better a few years ago, when you had a simple VIC-CLJ-ECR-Brighton stopping pattern. Then they added more stops in Sussex and now have taken away CLJ calls altogether...
 

cle

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It seems hard to level a drop in paths with an inability to call at Clapham. Surely with less running through there on P13, a stop is more feasible?
 

Ianno87

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It seems hard to level a drop in paths with an inability to call at Clapham. Surely with less running through there on P13, a stop is more feasible?

Depends where the "vacant" path falls relative to the Gatwick Express path.

Basically, from Victoria the xx15 and xx45 paths are deleted, but the xx00 and xx30 Express paths remain (but adding a call is tricky as they are surrounded by other services)

At the risk of sounding like an industry-illiterate miserablist I do think the Brighton services were a lot better a few years ago, when you had a simple VIC-CLJ-ECR-Brighton stopping pattern. Then they added more stops in Sussex and now have taken away CLJ calls altogether...

One might argue that the BML timetable had become too Gatwick and Brighton-centric (chasing airport and ORCATS revenue in Southern/FCC days) to the detriment of performance and serving other markets. The Brighton service was superb. But not much good for the Coastways.
 

Minstral25

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With the Gatwick Airport reductions there would be no problem in adding a call at Clapham Junction. Leaving at xx:00/30 (or xx:59/29 as they do in STP timetable) the next train is xx:05 (Portsmouth) which also calls at Clapham - thus a 5 minute gap to add a call. The previous departure is xx:54 so also they could leave a bit earlier to make the call too (although the ex-Littlehampton arrive at xx:58 which may make that difficult depending on platform allocations).

However the STP timetable seems to be adding a call at East Croydon currently with no problem, which could easily have been Clapham Junction especially as there are 4 Thameslink per hour from East Croydon to Brighton.

I suspect it is the unnecessary DfT insistence of a non-stop service to Gatwick which means they do not call rather than Timetabling issues which could be resolved if they exist.
 

Ianno87

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However the STP timetable seems to be adding a call at East Croydon currently with no problem, which could easily have been Clapham Junction especially as there are 4 Thameslink per hour from East Croydon to Brighton.

East Croydon has the advantage of 3 Fast Line platforms (and generally better passenger circulation / stepping distances etc.), whereas Clapham Junction only has two platforms.
 

JonathanH

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If you make the reasonable assumption that the path through East Croydon is fixed, it looks to me as if the problem at Victoria is likely to be greater in the up direction than the down one (given the use of platform 13 / 14 for these trains). At the moment, the arrival from Brighton at Victoria involves crossing in front of the departure of the xx09 to Reigate with the Arun Valley train immediately behind.

In the down direction, the issue would appear to be slotting in xx27/xx57 behind the xx24/xx54 Eastbourne timing and dwell times at Clapham Junction knocking the xx43/xx13 additional stop at East Croydon.
 

ValleyLines142

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Also stops local passengers at Clapham Junction hopping onto Victoria services, unless they're made set down/pick up only but that is hard to enforce, like with SWR services out of Waterloo.

Was absolutely luxury last week travelling down to Brighton from Victoria, 12 car 387s and first stop East Croydon! I hope it stays that way post-COVID.
 

Minstral25

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Currently there is no Clapham Junction to Brighton train so passengers to and from Wimbledon, Richmond, Shepard's Bush etc need to make two changes. I am sure when Covid is gone that will dissuade passengers when a fix is very simple. As is often the case provide the train and passengers will come. Trying to justify on existing use will never happen.

If you make the reasonable assumption that the path through East Croydon is fixed, it looks to me as if the problem at Victoria is likely to be greater in the up direction than the down one (given the use of platform 13 / 14 for these trains). At the moment, the arrival from Brighton at Victoria involves crossing in front of the departure of the xx09 to Reigate with the Arun Valley train immediately behind.

In the down direction, the issue would appear to be slotting in xx27/xx57 behind the xx24/xx54 Eastbourne timing and dwell times at Clapham Junction knocking the xx43/xx13 additional stop at East Croydon.

I'd assume East Croydon fixed too so the amendments (which would be needed of course) would have to be at Clapham and Victoria. The train would have to leave a few minutes earlier from Victoria say xx:27/57 which as you say clashes with xx:27/57 arrival from Littlehampton but the Brighton departs platforms 13/14 and Littlehampton arrives 15/19 so as there are separate routes for departure and arrival there would be no clash.

In terms of arrival being a minute or two later means the xx:09/39 Reigate can leave before the Brighton arrives at say xx:11/41 which is 3 minutes ahead of the Arun Valley. Again achievable.

But of course they won't listen to us or passengers, mostly because the Airport insists on a non-stop service which the DfT support. It is interesting that the Southern train that now calls at East Croydon still manages the 30 minute timing to Victoria that the Gatwick Express does which suggests enough slack exists in existing timings that would enable a stop at Clapham without changing timings much.
 

Deepgreen

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I think this is partly due to Gatwick Airport infrastructure work, partly due to Covid, and partly operational convenience.

Just hope on a train to East Croydon and get a same platform change.
"hope" indeed!

Also stops local passengers at Clapham Junction hopping onto Victoria services, unless they're made set down/pick up only but that is hard to enforce, like with SWR services out of Waterloo.

Was absolutely luxury last week travelling down to Brighton from Victoria, 12 car 387s and first stop East Croydon! I hope it stays that way post-COVID.
That's the spirit - be helpful to the masses, eh? We can't have people using trains to get from one station to another to ease to loading overall now can we?
 

infobleep

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East Croydon has the advantage of 3 Fast Line platforms (and generally better passenger circulation / stepping distances etc.), whereas Clapham Junction only has two platforms.
Which means changing at East Croydon isn't a same platform change as @Horizon22 suggested.

Another alternative is to change at Haywards Heath. Take the x25 with an x46 arrival at Haywards Heath and x50 departure from Haywards Heath. You get into Clapham Junction at x28.

Surprisingly this is an official connection, even though it's just 4 minutes.

Thus it is only 1 hour and 3 minutes to Clapham Junction.

There are faster trains if you change at East Croydon but they might not be cross platform changes.

Also stops local passengers at Clapham Junction hopping onto Victoria services, unless they're made set down/pick up only but that is hard to enforce, like with SWR services out of Waterloo.

Was absolutely luxury last week travelling down to Brighton from Victoria, 12 car 387s and first stop East Croydon! I hope it stays that way post-COVID.
Even if it is hard to enforce, that doesn't stop it being the case at Waterloo and they don't look like getting rid of it any time soon there.
 
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Ianno87

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Currently there is no Clapham Junction to Brighton train so passengers to and from Wimbledon, Richmond, Shepard's Bush etc need to make two changes. I am sure when Covid is gone that will dissuade passengers when a fix is very simple. As is often the case provide the train and passengers will come. Trying to justify on existing use will never happen.

Pedantically, Wimbledon can be done in a single change by using Tramlink, and Shepherds Bush etc is ordinally possible as a single change (albeit slower) on the Milton Keynes-East Croydon service.
 

Horizon22

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Which means changing at East Croydon isn't a same platform change as @Horizon22 suggested.

Another alternative is to change at Haywards Heath. Take the x25 with an x46 arrival at Haywards Heath and x50 departure from Haywards Heath. You get into Clapham Junction at x28.

Surprisingly this is an official connection, even though it's just 4 minutes.

Thus it is only 1 hour and 3 minutes to Clapham Junction.

There are faster trains if you change at East Croydon but they might not be cross platform changes.


Even if it is hard to enforce, that doesn't stop it being the case at Waterloo and they don't look like getting rid of it any time soon there.

It isn't always a same platform change, but it often is. Don't have the data to hand to suggest how often it would be.
 

OliverH68

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It isn't always a same platform change, but it often is. Don't have the data to hand to suggest how often it would be.

It would be a same/cross platform change, Ianno87 is right with 3 fast line platforms, but all the Victoria trains use P1/P2, and all the down trains use P3.
 

Horizon22

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It would be a same/cross platform change, Ianno87 is right with 3 fast line platforms, but all the Victoria trains use P1/P2, and all the down trains use P3.

True but you could theoretically get a quicker TL service to Brighton depending on whichever train you catch from/to Clapham Junction.
 

Peter Mugridge

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Pedantically, Wimbledon can be done in a single change by using Tramlink, and Shepherds Bush etc is ordinally possible as a single change (albeit slower) on the Milton Keynes-East Croydon service.

There's also Wimbledon - Blackfriars - Brighton available as a single change.

At present the Milton Keynes - East Croydon doesn't run below Clapham Junction, though, and is unlikely to for some time on account of the virus thingy.
 

Minstral25

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It would be a same/cross platform change, Ianno87 is right with 3 fast line platforms, but all the Victoria trains use P1/P2, and all the down trains use P3.

No - Trains from Victoria and Clapham Junction could call at p2/3 (Main Line - Brighton's tend to use P2 if my memory serves me correctly) or P5/6 (Reigate/East Grinstead/Cat-Tat peaks)
 

OliverH68

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No - Trains from Victoria and Clapham Junction could call at p2/3 (Main Line - Brighton's tend to use P2 if my memory serves me correctly) or P5/6 (Reigate/East Grinstead/Cat-Tat peaks)

I mean, yes, you're right. Only the Southern Brightons use P2, everything else on the down fast use P3.
 

Minstral25

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I mean, yes, you're right. Only the Southern Brightons use P2, everything else on the down fast use P3.

Depends on your definition of the down fasts - everything that calls at P13 Clapham uses the down fast non-stop almost to East Croydon, but some move across after Selhurst to the slows so end up in platforms 5 or 6 - i.e. Reigate/East Grinstead & some peak services to Cat/Tat. So you could end up non-stop in p5/6 from Clapham.

I think Eastbourne's or Littlehampton's often use P2 as well - there is quite a split as they can arrive at P2 without delaying a Thameslink simultaneously arriving from London Bridge allowing more rapid turnover of platform capacity.
 

infobleep

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Pedantically, Wimbledon can be done in a single change by using Tramlink, and Shepherds Bush etc is ordinally possible as a single change (albeit slower) on the Milton Keynes-East Croydon service.
I didn't think point to point tickers we're valid on Tramline, despite National Rail Enquiries wanting to put you on that mode of transport from time to time.

It would be a same/cross platform change, Ianno87 is right with 3 fast line platforms, but all the Victoria trains use P1/P2, and all the down trains use P3.
I've been on fast trains from platform 4. I mean fast between East Croydon and Clapham Junction. Passengers probably don't care how fast a train runs south of East Croydon if it's non stop between East Croydon and Clapham Junction.
 
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