The number of passengers using Thornton Heath station plunged 12 per cent last year, the first fall in over nine years, writes David Fell. 

Following 12 months of strikes, staff shortages and signal failures, the number of people using the station dropped by more than 460,000, down to 3,483,000 last year, the largest fall on record for two decades. 

Now the rail operator is promising a significant ‘uplift’ in services with an upcoming timetable shake-up.

Thornton Heath was not the only station to record a drop in passengers. 

All eight stations on the line between East/West Croydon and London Victoria saw a double digit fall in patronage during 2016/17. The number of passengers using Streatham Common fell more than at any other, down 16 per cent from 2015/16.

On Sunday May 20, Southern Rail will rip up the timetable and start again.

These changes will mean the time of almost every train on the network will change, including those stopping at Thornton Heath station. 

While some stations will see big changes, for Thornton Heath they are a little more modest.

Those travelling into London at rush hour will be the winners with 14 trains instead of 13 leaving Thornton Heath after 7am and arriving in Zone One before 9am. An additional Victoria train is timetabled at 7.13am, between the 7.03am and 7.23am.

Journey times will also fall slightly, from an average of 31 minutes into Victoria down to 26. Journey times to London Bridge will fall from 40 to 38 minutes and unchanged to Watford Junction at just over an hour. And right through the day Watford Junction bound trains will be eight coaches instead of five.