What is Trainflation?

It’s a word I coined to form a short form hashtag to describe how minutes have been added to train journeys over the years.



I was looking up past information about Dartford in the run up to the last Election, and noticed that it was still possible to get hold of old train timetables.  I have a few of these saved off on old hard discs, but these weren’t easy to find…however thanks to the internet, those pages and respective PDFs had been saved for all to find.

I’ve always thought that minutes have been added to train journeys over the years, though as time passes, and memory fades, confirming this was something that wasn’t so easy

The trainflation project

Over the coming months I will look at how certain journeys from Dartford, and around Dartford, have increased, and how this adds time to your weekly commute.

On the flipside, Southeastern’s performance has increased over the last decade.

You might think there’s a correlation between the two.

You’d be right. Both trainflation, and performance have increased.

The start of trainflation analysis can be found with our simple guides posted on the proposed August 2016 timetable (morning and evening weekday services), and shows a comparison from 2014 to 2016.

When some trains don’t have similar routes these have been excluded, however in future I plan to highlight stopping patterns and how the time between some stops has increased by nearly 100% in some cases.

London bridge rebuild project?

I have been challenged by a few people on twitter on my initial tweets on this subject.

Yes the London Bridge rebuilding project has added extra time to train journeys.

Charing Cross bound trains haven’t had to stop on the notorious platform 6 coming into London, and have been able to run straight through the station, which should, in theory reduce journey times.

When platforms 7-9 open for Charing Cross bound trains, which will then stop at London Bridge, of course the journey time, compared to the current running 2015 timetable, will increase.

However…on the whole, journey times from Dartford to Charing Cross from 2014 to the proposed timetable in 2016 have an increase of 11% in the morning and

And from 2015 to 2016 there is a further increase of 11% in the morning and 6.3% in the evening

We have been lead to believe that the change of layout will result in better performance through London Bridge – right now, this seems to be by increasing journey times.

What next?

I’ll be posting some examples of train services from over a decade ago, to the service that Southeastern are proposing we get from August 2016.

A lot of us, myself included, moved to Dartford for the variety of train services, with a reasonable journey time.  In over a decade this journey time has increased, as have our fares, and the increasing displeasure with the service.

In the meantime, I’ll be happy to listen to any thoughts you might have on the above!


About Phil Rogers

Co-founder of Dartford Rail Travellers Association. A weekday commuter into London Charing Cross, since 2001, and campaigner for better services for Dartford Rail users. Makes occasional appearances on radio and the local press.


Trainflation — 2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Initial thoughts on the August 2016 proposed timetable - Dartford Rail Travellers' Association

  2. Interesting article, and I like the term ‘trainflation’. When I first moved to Dartford in 2004, I used to catch the 17:10 from Charing Cross in the evenings. It was fast from Waterloo East to New Eltham and had a scheduled arrival time into Dartford of 17:44 (although it was nearly always a minute or two late). Still, a journey time of 35 minutes or thereabouts was fantastic – and then the big timetable change of 2009 came along and the 17:10 became a Bexleyheath line service which didn’t get into Dartford until 17:58, adding 14 minutes to the journey time in one fell swoop. The replacement Sidcup line service, which was retimed to leave Charing Cross at 17:17, also didn’t get into Dartford until 17:58 (I think it called at London Bridge, which accounted for some of the extra time; and it regularly had to stop outside Sidcup while the stopping service ahead moved into the sidings), so it changed from a scheduled 34-minute journey to a 41-minute journey. I’m sure you’ll find lots more examples when you look through the timetables…

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