Despite the assertions the Night Overground would not be serving New Cross, it did so on the second weekend of the much touted service. There was no official launch. No Night Czar on hand to announce the first departure from either Dalston or New Cross. No shiny glittering roundels to be seen anywhere at the additional destination. What a huge let down! The unprecedented alteration, something not even done yet on the rest of the tube/overground network, was to use a line not even part of the night services.
The first release of the Night Overground details back in November included both stations at New Cross and New Cross Gate. Whilst there was condemnation at TfL’s in ability to produce a properly rendered map it may have been due to the fact New Cross would be served for one weekend only and mis-interpreted as a regular service. Still doesn’t explain the strange rendering (New Cross followed by New Cross Gate when they are on different branches) as shown by the tweet below.
— Geoff Marshall (@geofftech) November 28, 2017
Note: The tweet I originally linked to for the Night Overground map was CaledonianL however the account no longer exists. This is why I am now using a similar tweet from GeoffTech.
Its not entirely an outrage however to have the two stations illustrated as such, although TfL clearly made an error in that example shown above. Tube maps did at one time illustrate New Cross and New Cross Gate as a succession rather than two separate stations. This occurred when the East London Line was closed for conversion to London Overground and system-wide maps during that time did show the stations in such a way but as a replacement bus service instead. This is depicted on the example below:
Having said all that, we need to get back on track subject wise (or off track particularly related to New Cross!) So little has been said about this change in the services. Last week during the launch night I found TfL bosses didn’t know of it! Having raised the question I was present when one TfL member of staff explained to her surprised boss no services were running to New Cross Gate the following weekend!
Exactly a week after the launch the Night Overground makes it presence at New Cross Gate, but only for half an hour before being diverted to New Cross
Departure times for the three trains from New Cross Gate only in the early hours of 23 December 2017
The last train to New Cross Gate was the 00.32 from Dalston, arriving there at 00.53. After this the service was diverted to New Cross, the first being the 00.51am from Dalston, arriving at 01.13am.
Was there any publicity re the changes? None whatsoever it seems. TfL obviously didn’t want to advertise a non-Night Overground service. Even its tweets on the day insisted New Cross Gate would be the usual fayre.
Poster announcing alterations – but nothing re services to New Cross
As these pictures show there were indeed some posters, however they specifically referred to the daytime services being affected and that New Cross would be the only southern destination from 05.30 until 09.45am. Nothing at all about the night services.
The poster clearly refers to daytime services! In other words New Cross only from 05.30
The distance between New Cross and New Cross Gate is just over half a kilometer or about two thirds of a mile. Yet TfL suggested buses could be used.
Using buses between the two stations is hardly worth it, its just a couple of stops. Its not too bad going eastwards. The area’s one way system does make it awkward and adds extra walking distance especially in for those heading New Cross – New Cross Gate, so one might as well walk the whole distance.
I didnt see any engineering works of any sort at New Cross Gate while I was there. Still no wiser as to why the Night overground had to go to New Cross. Perhaps it was signal testing or track circuits or something which didn’t require heavy presence or equipment.
Rotherhithe’s unusual over the tracks indicators shows the last service to New Cross Gate
Anyway, we are getting off track once again. Since this post is all about the Night Overground going to New Cross, let’s get on with that part of the story!
Canada Water’s indicator showing the first two Night Overground trains for New Cross
Passenger numbers were far lower compared to the first weekend of Night Overground, though in fairness its Xmas so the whole tube/overground system is generally quieter as is normal this time of year. So its difficult to know if passenger numbers were being affected by the switch to New Cross. I would think most would be well used to the New Cross/New Cross Gate thingy and that these stations were a short distance apart.
The first train from Canada Water to New Cross departed at 01.06 am and the following pictures show that particular run.
The 01.06 for New Cross arrives at Canada Water
Fairly busy train though not as much as the previous weekend
The standard NO service to New Cross is fifteen minute intervals which is reasonable, though nothing considerably exciting as even in the early days the 1929 Red Rail Guide specified a fifteen minute service from each station all day Monday to Saturdays.
This has always been a constraint on the line even in underground days when working either New Cross or New Cross Gate as a shuttle service. It is only by operating trains beyond New Cross Gate that frequencies can be increased considerably to as much as six minute intervals.
The next station is New Cross….
Arrival at New Cross station on the first of the diverted services
No staff about (a totally non TfL station) so the indicator was obviously left like this all night! Actual departure time was 01.21am
Barely anyone got on at New Cross. Just five passengers. Well there was me too – making it six in all!
378 154 in Platform D at New Cross. Not your usual Night Overground station!
No Night Czar to cheer up the so far non-event. No interviews. No glittering Night Overground roundels either! Not even a member of South Eastern Trains in sight!
Its goodnight from me to New Cross station!