The latest GLIAS newsletter has arrived - and contains the following article about our local train services.
Do people think this is true?? Answers in our comments column please.
COMMUTING FROM SOUTH EAST LONDON
Evidence suggests that on trains to and from South East London travelling has generally been bad for a long time. R W Kidner on page 24 of his book 'The Southern Railway' (1958) mentions newspaper headlines such as 'appalling scenes at Charing Cross' and 'Girls crushed at Waterloo'. However, it is not clear if the incident at Waterloo was at Waterloo East or the main line terminus. Mention of fights breaking out at London Bridge among frustrated passengers can be found on the internet, eg during hot weather in June last year and a 25-year- old woman, an architect from Lewisham, was mugged last September with little reaction from surrounding passengers (Evening Standard 14 March 2012, p22).
Southern Region's Kentish lines were the most densely occupied in the world; see LTC Rolt, Red for Danger (Pan 1966) page 275. It was in South East London that the Bullied 'double-deck' trains were introduced in an attempt to pack more people onto a train of given length. These 4 - DD units held 122 more passengers than a standard four-car train and first appeared from Lancing Works at the end of 1949. They ran from Charing Cross to Dartford, and sometimes on to Gravesend and elsewhere. Accounts from people who commuted on theses trains suggest that the experience was unpleasant and they were withdrawn on 1 st October 1971. Platforms were lengthened and standard 10 car trains used instead. Two of the 4 - DD coaches have been preserved.
Ladies-only compartments were numerous on these lines c.1979. From memory there was something like one or more in each 4 or 5 car emu. While one did occasionally see 'ladies only' compartments at St Pancras and Paddington there seemed to be far more of these on trains running between London Bridge and Dartford. Is this subjective memory at all correct? If there were more than usual there was almost certainly a good reason. Can any reader explain what was going on?
(and thanks to GLIAS and hope neither they nor Bob will object to this - I promise to send any comments you append below on to them - and personally I don't remember any Ladies Only compartments)