Council leader demands reversal of decision to cut rush-hour rail services at Edmonton Green

Nesil Caliskan writes letter to transport minister as TfL confirms no additional London Overground services will run to compensate Greater Anglia’s axe of route, reports James Cracknell

Edmonton Green Station and (inset) council leader Nesil Caliskan
Edmonton Green Station and (inset) council leader Nesil Caliskan

The leader of Enfield Council has called on the government to reverse a decision by a train company to axe all national rail services at Edmonton Green Station.

In a letter seen by the Dispatch, Nesil Caliskan tells Conservative transport minister Huw Merriman that Greater Anglia’s decision to no longer run any trains via Edmonton Green – ending its current two-trains-per-hour service at peak times – “will mean a longer and more difficult journey” for commuters.

Greater Anglia confirmed earlier this month that its new timetables being introduced in May will see all existing Edmonton Green national rail services axed, with all services on the Hertford East branch going via Tottenham Hale instead. The move will significantly reduce rush-hour capacity at Edmonton Green, which is one of the busiest on the London Overground network, but Transport for London (TfL) has since insisted it is “confident there is sufficient existing capacity on our routes to meet this additional demand on our services”.

In her letter, Cllr Caliskan criticises the apparent lack of co-ordination between Greater Anglia and TfL and lack of “oversight” by the Department for Transport (DfT), with no plans in place to mitigate the impact of the decision.

The council leader said: “While local people may be well-served by London Overground services, the additional two trains per hour on weekdays provided by Greater Anglia provides more capacity and a faster link to and from Liverpool Street.

“The cancelling of this service will mean a longer and more difficult journey for Enfield commuters into central London.

“Under Greater Anglia’s new timetable, there will be two less trains per hour thanks to the Department for Transport’s oversight. It appears no discussions have taken place between Abellio Greater Anglia and National Rail to see if Transport for London could increase the London Overground services on the Liverpool Street to Cheshunt line.

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“The decision to remove the National Rail service has been done with no planning or joint working between train service providers […] We are calling on you to step in and reverse the planned changes to this route or provide Transport for London with the resource to increase London Overground services, so our residents do not lose out.”

Asked whether TfL had any plans to provide more services via Edmonton Green as a result of the gap in the timetable left by Greater Anglia’s decision, Rory O’Neill, TfL’s general manager for London Overground, said: “We regularly review capacity on London Overground to ensure our customers can enjoy regular, reliable and comfortable journeys when using our services.

“We have carefully considered the impact on existing London Overground services following Greater Anglia’s decision to no longer operate some peak services between Hertford East and London Liverpool Street, and are confident there is sufficient existing capacity on our routes to meet this additional demand on our services.”

In a statement, Enfield Transport User Group (ETUG) confirmed it was also not consulted about Greater Anglia’s decision and stated: “We agree with Cllr Caliskan that the axing of Abellio [Greater Anglia] services via Edmonton Green should have been co-ordinated with an increased provision by TfL on the Southbury branch to Cheshunt. It presently has just two trains per hour, which is 50% of the mayor’s minimum turn-up-and-go standard.

“It is essential that we see four trains per hour to both of the London Overground branches in Enfield, resulting in eight trains per hour from Edmonton Green to Liverpool Street.”

The group adds that four trains per hour to Enfield Town, at all times of day, was something promised by TfL when it took over the running of the route eight years ago and that “a business case for the off-peak upgrade in 2015 showed increased services along the route provided excellent value for money and would result in a significant modal shift from road to rail”.

TfL has provided some good news, however, confirming that from May it will provide additional late-night departures from Enfield Town on Friday and Saturday nights, calling at all stations to Liverpool Street. These will depart Enfield Town at 11.42pm and 12.14am on Friday night and 12.14am on Saturday night, other than when events are taking place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

DfT was contacted for comment.

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