Were/are suburban services on the SR Central section conisdered the "Cinderella" of the SR?

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Sad Sprinter

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I say that because suburban services from Victoria often seem the quietest out of the three SR divisions, even nowadays in the morning peaks there are seats avaliable on stopping trains on the approach into Victoria. The Central, historically, was the only place in London apart from the Thames/Chiltern routes where you can find two car services-the class 456. Plus, most post-war infrastructure plans seem to involve easing congestion into London Bridge or Waterloo. Were the Brighton slows considered the least important of the SR's suburban traffic? If so, why?
 
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yorksrob

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I'm sure I read that when the EPB refurbishments started the refurbished ones went to Selhurst for the central division, whilst Slade Green got the unrefurbished ones. That suggests that the central division services might have been held in higher esteem at the time.

Also they had 455's long before the Eastern got the networkers (Not that I would personally regard 455's as an improvement over proper trains :lol:)
 

Dr Hoo

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I say that because suburban services from Victoria often seem the quietest out of the three SR divisions, even nowadays in the morning peaks there are seats avaliable on stopping trains on the approach into Victoria. The Central, historically, was the only place in London apart from the Thames/Chiltern routes where you can find two car services-the class 456. Plus, most post-war infrastructure plans seem to involve easing congestion into London Bridge or Waterloo. Were the Brighton slows considered the least important of the SR's suburban traffic? If so, why?
Surely you have answered your own question.

If the services were 'quiet' and didn't suffer from overcrowding why would anyone want to spend loads of money on infrastructure enhancements? Obviously there are a lot of social and demographic factors as to why this was the case over a long period. The closure of the Crystal Palace High Level linen 1954 indicates that there was over-capacity.
 

Sad Sprinter

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I'm sure I read that when the EPB refurbishments started the refurbished ones went to Selhurst for the central division, whilst Slade Green got the unrefurbished ones. That suggests that the central division services might have been held in higher esteem at the time.

Also they had 455's long before the Eastern got the networkers (Not that I would personally regard 455's as an improvement over proper trains :lol:)

I'm born and raised on the CD and was in awe of the Networkers on the "exotic" line as they followed my creaky 455 into Victoria.

But I don't know, there's just something so sleepy about the CD suburban services. I don't think it helps that most of the routes are fairly radial and undirect; Gipsy Hill to London Bridge via Dulwich, Streatham Hill to Victoria via Battersea and so on. Plus, it probably doesn't help that most of the West End is easier to get to from middle South London by taking the bus to Brixton and catching the Victoria Line, instead of taking a detour through South West London to avoid Clapham Common.

Surely you have answered your own question.

If the services were 'quiet' and didn't suffer from overcrowding why would anyone want to spend loads of money on infrastructure enhancements? Obviously there are a lot of social and demographic factors as to why this was the case over a long period. The closure of the Crystal Palace High Level linen 1954 indicates that there was over-capacity.

I think I wanted to know if it was known somewhat offically that they were the least important or whether the quietness of the services was just from my own personal experiences.
 

yorksrob

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I'm born and raised on the CD and was in awe of the Networkers on the "exotic" line as they followed my creaky 455 into Victoria.

But I don't know, there's just something so sleepy about the CD suburban services. I don't think it helps that most of the routes are fairly radial and undirect; Gipsy Hill to London Bridge via Dulwich, Streatham Hill to Victoria via Battersea and so on. Plus, it probably doesn't help that most of the West End is easier to get to from middle South London by taking the bus to Brixton and catching the Victoria Line, instead of taking a detour through South West London to avoid Clapham Common.

That might be a point that people had more options in the central area. Certainly, when visiting relatives in Catford, the train was the only real option to/from "the centre".

Also, the central area never had the 10-carriage train scheme !
 

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Back in the mid-'eighties, when I was a guard at Brighton, the Central Division mainline services into/out of both London Bridge and Victoria were absolutely rammed in the peak hours. We also had quite a few suburban "round the houses" jobs, but they were mainly in the off-peak period with refurbished 4-EPBs.
 
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Seats into Victoria doesn’t mean spare capacity. It means a quarter or more of the passengers got off at Clapham Junction.
 

Journeyman

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I'm sure I read that when the EPB refurbishments started the refurbished ones went to Selhurst for the central division, whilst Slade Green got the unrefurbished ones. That suggests that the central division services might have been held in higher esteem at the time.

Also they had 455's long before the Eastern got the networkers (Not that I would personally regard 455's as an improvement over proper trains :lol:)
The refurbished EPBs went to the Central, because the Eastern got refurbished BEPs. It was done to share the benefits of limited funding. The Western Section got the 508s followed by the 455s.
 

yorksrob

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The refurbished EPBs went to the Central, because the Eastern got refurbished BEPs. It was done to share the benefits of limited funding. The Western Section got the 508s followed by the 455s.

We got the CEP's, but arguably the BEP's didn't last long on the Eastern !
 

Islineclear3_1

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Seats into Victoria doesn’t mean spare capacity. It means a quarter or more of the passengers got off at Clapham Junction.

And Balham for the Northern line

We got the CEP's, but arguably the BEP's didn't last long on the Eastern !

And the refurbished CEP's were a significant downgrade ...
 

Journeyman

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We got the CEP's, but arguably the BEP's didn't last long on the Eastern !
Sorry, I meant CEPs! That's true, the BEPs migrated west fairly quickly.

And the refurbished CEP's were a significant downgrade ...
Nonsense. They were the only long-distance Southern EMUs for years with even vaguely modern interiors, when every other region was getting aircon mark 2s and mark 3s.
 

yorksrob

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Nonsense. They were the only long-distance Southern EMUs for years with even vaguely modern interiors, when every other region was getting aircon mark 2s and mark 3s.

I found the facelift of the Brighton CIG's a lot more to my taste. Yes, they did get flourescent lighting and donkey-stripe moquette, but the deep comfortable seating was retained.

Yes, the CEP's were modern, however the seats were hard and the colour scheme of orange and white was quite harsh to my mind.
 

Taunton

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Seats into Victoria doesn’t mean spare capacity. It means a quarter or more of the passengers got off at Clapham Junction.
Indeed, the high point of Southern suburban occupancy must be south of Clapham Junction. I am not surprised when leaving Waterloo outbound in the morning to the likes of Woking, Bracknell, etc that the train is so empty, because many services departing the London termini in the morning peak are so. But come Clapham Junction and there is commonly a huge influx, far more boarding than did so at Waterloo, and I presume a considerable proportion have come in from Croydon etc on Southern trains. It can go from seating bay to yourself leaving Waterloo, to standees beyond Clapham.

Separately, I think far more get out of Southern trains at Clapham to go in to Waterloo than the other way round, from SWR trains to go to Victoria - many of those heading in that general direction stay on to Vauxhall and get the Victoria Line to the West End.
 

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Indeed, the high point of Southern suburban occupancy must be south of Clapham Junction. I am not surprised when leaving Waterloo outbound in the morning to the likes of Woking, Bracknell, etc that the train is so empty, because many services departing the London termini in the morning peak are so. But come Clapham Junction and there is commonly a huge influx, far more boarding than did so at Waterloo, and I presume a considerable proportion have come in from Croydon etc on Southern trains. It can go from seating bay to yourself leaving Waterloo, to standees beyond Clapham.

Separately, I think far more get out of Southern trains at Clapham to go in to Waterloo than the other way round, from SWR trains to go to Victoria - many of those heading in that general direction stay on to Vauxhall and get the Victoria Line to the West End.

I've thought that too, from my time communting into Victoria I got the impression they transferred into Waterloo. That said, the Underground platforms at Victoria are always busy, but perhaps they're going onto longer distance routes.

I wonder how busy trains on the Dulwich to London Bridge line are? Considering its only two trains an hour on the Norbury Line to London Bridge I'd imagine most people get off at Balham for the Northern Line.
 

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That said, the Underground platforms at Victoria are always busy, but perhaps they're going onto longer distance routes.
I think it may be because the platforms and booking hall at Victoria Underground are so busy, with regular queueing being held outside, that many from SWR especially choose to change at Vauxhall into the Underground instead.

The route structure of the Southern inner suburban services is different to that of SWR. The latter is essentially a tree/branch fanning leading out from Waterloo, whereas the Southern has main lines out from London Bridge and Victoria, and a series of cross-connected lines essentially at right-angles to Central London. Thus instead of frequent services into one point, it is a whole series of overlapping, commonly just every 30 minutes, services, and not at all turn-up-and-go. Having known someone who lived near Carshalton Beeches, what a zig-zag and infrequent route that was to get to Victoria; no wonder people there used to take the 154 bus up to Morden and get the Northern Line.
 

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The Central suburbans were a mixture in my commuting days 40+ years ago:
Victoria towards Croydon and Sutton and London Bridge via Norwood Jn busy, Victoria via Crystal Palace quieter, London Bridge via Tulse Hill quietest (apart from the 2-car routes).

The Tulse Hill routes suffered (then) from the shift in commuting to the West End and competition from the South Eastern; the tube was a factor across the inner parts of Central suburbia.
.
OT: the Hounslow Loop was quieter than the others out of Waterloo.
 

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To be fair the "new" Victoria signalling center (at Clapham) , extensive rebuild of Victoria and the East Croydon remodelling showed some investment into the Central Division , - but remember how London generally had a falling population in the early 1980's onwards , the move towards new towns like Crawley and so on , and the relative un-attractive (then) Victorian suburbs - say Balham which became uber trendy enough to be termed "nappy Valley" some years on , but was nothing like it is now then. The BRB was encouraged to tone down inner suburbia in favour of what was deemed more lucrative longer distance flows.

Nothing more interesting than urban / social / transport history.
 

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I say that because suburban services from Victoria often seem the quietest out of the three SR divisions, even nowadays in the morning peaks there are seats avaliable on stopping trains on the approach into Victoria. The Central, historically, was the only place in London apart from the Thames/Chiltern routes where you can find two car services-the class 456. Plus, most post-war infrastructure plans seem to involve easing congestion into London Bridge or Waterloo. Were the Brighton slows considered the least important of the SR's suburban traffic? If so, why?

Interesting thought. I always gained the impression that the central division was certainly more “prestigious” than the south eastern division for the coastal services - look at the way Kent trended towards Veps towards the end (though to be fair they suited the lines quite well in their way).

I’d say apart from the Sussex coastal services (especially Brighton) and the Kent boat trains, both the SC and SE division were slightly cinderella compared to the SW - both suburban and mainline.

Kent has always been an odd network because of the way it’s two railways spliced together. It’s really quirky the way there’s still separate stations at places like Maidstone and Canterbury.
 
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One reason for more people changing to go to Waterloo than changing to go to Victoria is that the trains to Waterloo which stop at Clapham Junction will almost all also stop at Vauxhall. Passengers can get the Victoria line there. Waterloo provides a destination of itself and access to the Jubilee line for Canary Wharf.
 

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I think it may be because the platforms and booking hall at Victoria Underground are so busy, with regular queueing being held outside, that many from SWR especially choose to change at Vauxhall into the Underground instead.

The route structure of the Southern inner suburban services is different to that of SWR. The latter is essentially a tree/branch fanning leading out from Waterloo, whereas the Southern has main lines out from London Bridge and Victoria, and a series of cross-connected lines essentially at right-angles to Central London. Thus instead of frequent services into one point, it is a whole series of overlapping, commonly just every 30 minutes, services, and not at all turn-up-and-go. Having known someone who lived near Carshalton Beeches, what a zig-zag and infrequent route that was to get to Victoria; no wonder people there used to take the 154 bus up to Morden and get the Northern Line.

I've always thought that about the Carshalton Beeches route. Perhaps in an ideal world South Central services can be reorganised as:

Everything beyond West Croydon: Fast to London Bridge from Norwood Junction
Everything via Mitcham Eastfields to Victoria (incorporating Epsom Downs services)
Thameslink to take over Norbury/Crystal Palace to LBG trains.
LBG to Wimbledon via Dulwich (Sutton loop services diverted to Waterloo)
Victoria to Croydon via Crystal Palace or Norbury.

I’d say apart from the Sussex coastal services (especially Brighton) and the Kent boat trains, both the SC and SE division were slightly cinderella compared to the SW - both suburban and mainline.

That's true-you think of the Southern Region the first train you think of is London to Brighton. The SE certainly is the Cinderella nowadays as their mainline services can hardly be considered "mainline".
 

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Interesting thought. I always gained the impression that the central division was certainly more “prestigious” than the south eastern division for the coastal services - look at the way Kent trended towards Veps towards the end (though to be fair they suited the lines quite well in their way).

I’d say apart from the Sussex coastal services (especially Brighton) and the Kent boat trains, both the SC and SE division were slightly cinderella compared to the SW - both suburban and mainline.

Kent has always been an odd network because of the way it’s two railways spliced together. It’s really quirky the way there’s still separate stations at places like Maidstone and Canterbury.

I always thought that the Capital - Coast Express seemed quite prestigious. Until they took the 8 DIG's off of it, anyway.
 

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I always thought that the Capital - Coast Express seemed quite prestigious. Until they took the 8 DIG's off of it, anyway.
Only 25 or so years before that, there were regular Pullmans with full meal service!
 

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Yes, that must have been quite impressive. Especially seeing Lauwrence Olivier sat opposite having his kippers !

You have to read Julian Morrells book on "Pullman" - he wrote the menu's and was well versed in "service" - as someone said , much of what they served came out of a tin , but the description of "curled butter and crisp toast" - or "pan fried egg and bacon club sandwich" is wonderful. Not jam or marmalade , but bottled English preserves. Cigars stored in a teak cupboard.

All this available on services from Ore , Worthing etc. Resumption of Pullman service on the Southern was very quick after 1945.
 

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look at the way Kent trended towards Veps towards the end (though to be fair they suited the lines quite well in their way).
It was a curious reason behind the VEPs coming to the South Eastern. It was adequately stocked with CEP and HAP units at electrification in 1962, which with refurbishment should have lasted a full lifetime. However there was an incident in the 1970s in the narrow single line tunnels between Folkestone and Dover with a non-corridor HAP stuck inside (failure? derailment?) which led to difficulties in its evacuation, whereupon non-corridor stock was banned there. The HAP units, which did the local trains, were transferred elsewhere on the SR, and the final build of VEPs sent there in their place.
 

Journeyman

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It was a curious reason behind the VEPs coming to the South Eastern. It was adequately stocked with CEP and HAP units at electrification in 1962, which with refurbishment should have lasted a full lifetime. However there was an incident in the 1970s in the narrow single line tunnels between Folkestone and Dover with a non-corridor HAP stuck inside (failure? derailment?) which led to difficulties in its evacuation, whereupon non-corridor stock was banned there. The HAP units, which did the local trains, were transferred elsewhere on the SR, and the final build of VEPs sent there in their place.
The HAPs were also laden with asbestos, and lack of gangways made on-board ticket checks very difficult. I think that had quite a lot to do with their fairly early withdrawal. The CEPs were asbestos stripped on refurbishment.
 

yorksrob

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You have to read Julian Morrells book on "Pullman" - he wrote the menu's and was well versed in "service" - as someone said , much of what they served came out of a tin , but the description of "curled butter and crisp toast" - or "pan fried egg and bacon club sandwich" is wonderful. Not jam or marmalade , but bottled English preserves. Cigars stored in a teak cupboard.

All this available on services from Ore , Worthing etc. Resumption of Pullman service on the Southern was very quick after 1945.

Ah yes, I'd forgotten quite a few express services had a pullman carriage. Sounds like a nice trip down to the coast !

It was a curious reason behind the VEPs coming to the South Eastern. It was adequately stocked with CEP and HAP units at electrification in 1962, which with refurbishment should have lasted a full lifetime. However there was an incident in the 1970s in the narrow single line tunnels between Folkestone and Dover with a non-corridor HAP stuck inside (failure? derailment?) which led to difficulties in its evacuation, whereupon non-corridor stock was banned there. The HAP units, which did the local trains, were transferred elsewhere on the SR, and the final build of VEPs sent there in their place.

Ah, I'd always wondered why the HAP's were replaced.
 

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It was a curious reason behind the VEPs coming to the South Eastern. It was adequately stocked with CEP and HAP units at electrification in 1962, which with refurbishment should have lasted a full lifetime. However there was an incident in the 1970s in the narrow single line tunnels between Folkestone and Dover with a non-corridor HAP stuck inside (failure? derailment?) which led to difficulties in its evacuation, whereupon non-corridor stock was banned there. The HAP units, which did the local trains, were transferred elsewhere on the SR, and the final build of VEPs sent there in their place.

Very interesting post.

I’d always wondered how SE came to get VEPs, as they’re hardly a “mainline” spec - even if mechanically they were identical to CIGs.

To be fair they worked quite well on the coastal routes. Somehow they seemed to fit well, even if some people found them a bit draughty (I never found this an issue personally).

In fact I preferred VEPs to CEPs, not being quite old enough to have experienced the latter in their original state. They’ll never build such quality trains again, though to be fair the 375s with their Connex interiors are a very worthy replacement.
 

Journeyman

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Very interesting post.

I’d always wondered how SE came to get VEPs, as they’re hardly a “mainline” spec - even if mechanically they were identical to CIGs.

To be fair they worked quite well on the coastal routes. Somehow they seemed to fit well, even if some people found them a bit draughty (I never found this an issue personally).

In fact I preferred VEPs to CEPs, not being quite old enough to have experienced the latter in their original state. They’ll never build such quality trains again, though to be fair the 375s with their Connex interiors are a very worthy replacement.
I'd say the original 2+2 seats in 375s and 377s are about the nicest modern train interiors you'll find anywhere.
 
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