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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 12:39 am 
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Hi - wondering if anyone's DS or DD travels by train to Dartford Grammar or DGGS from either Blackheath or Kidbrooke? Or if they're starting yr7 in sept and will be travelling this way? Just wanted to say hi. We live between the two stations, but slightly closer to Kidbrooke which is good as it involves fewer road crossings - and as i discovered yesterday is also cheaper to travel from!

If your dc already travels this train route, can I ask how reliable it is? My son initially wanted to go by bus as he doesn't like the uphill walk from Dartford station (a little lazy i know) but i'm not keen because it involves two buses, the 89/132 and then the 96...and with traffic the journey could take up to 1-1.5hrs. By train it's 45 mins door-to-door - 20 mins on the train with 10 mins walk either side (maybe 15 up that hill!) But if there are ever train delays, is it best to divert to bus routes, or just wait for the later train? Does anyone have DC with experience of this?

We've tried both train and bus routes, and will practise routes a bit more during the summer break....DS is small for his age (and a day dreamer to boot) so of course i'm a little anxious :? about him travelling by train alone. Although i'm sure he'll make friends and love it once he's used to it. If you have any experience to share, or are a fellow parent of yr7-to-be, i'd appreciate your insights. Thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 5:57 am 
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Congratulations, DGS is a great school. My son is in year 8 and goes by train every day. He then walks uphill as he prefers the exercise. If the bus is there he would take it sometimes, but it depends on whether his friends want to take the bus too. They have a series of shortcuts. The best thing is to follow the older kids. If you are going from Blackheath, you'll have to take the train via Lewisham. That's not the one my son takes, but I can tell you that trains are very reliable. Occasionally there has been a problem and to begin with he and friends would be given a lift. Later, they would just go to Lewisham and take the train from there. My son has never been late to school as he takes an earlier train in case there was a problem and because other primary school friends take it going to other schools. Please don't worry, the trains going away from London are practically empty and only seem to carry students at that time. My son enjoys his travel by playing cards, reading, filming, playing computer games or chatting to his friends.
When he gets to school he sometimes plays football or has a second breakfast!
The best thing is to download the train app and check the trains every morning in case there is a problem so that you can plan accordingly. I am in the habit of doing this every day and I have set up an alert in case there are problems. However, he became very proficient with trains and knows what to do. Of course at the beginning he took the wrong train twice. He called me and I told him what to do. So, your son would need to know what to do as he may get the train via Greenwich which doesn't go via Blackheath.
Good luck.


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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 10:26 am 
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Hello Mani

Just a thought - I think the 286 bus goes from Kidbrooke Park Road or the 386 from the Standard and these drop down fairly quickly (10 minutes) in the mornings to the Greenwich Line (Westcombe Park station) which is a quiet line and goes straight to Dartford in a few stops. Otherwise, I agree with Salsa that Blackheath/Kidbrooke to Lewisham and then change onto the line to Dartford from there. There seem to be a lot of children on the Lewisham platforms in that direction travelling to the Dulwich schools/St Olaves/Dartford so should be safe. From what my friends say, the school journey is a great sociable time.
The train app alerts is a great idea!


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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 10:59 am 
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I believe the train goes past Blackheath, doesn't it? At least it does on the way back.


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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 12:04 pm 
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Location: Essex
salsa wrote:
I believe the train goes past Blackheath, doesn't it? At least it does on the way back.


Lewisham is in the opposite direction from Dartford if you are getting on at Blackheath or Kidbrooke. Looking at the 'Station Facilities' web page for Kidbrooke, there are trains to Dartford today - do they not run to Dartford during the week now? They used to when we lived near Lewisham station (the Blackheath line was at the bottom of our garden :) ).

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 1:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:36 am
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I "think" for getting into school on time I have seen dgs boys getting the Gillingham train from Blackheath at 7:58 but there is a fast direct train to dartford at 8:12 but it arrives at 8:24 which may be too late to get to the school (not sure if different classes have the same start times).
Am really not sure of going from Kidbrooke but I think there is a earlier train at 7:45


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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 1:07 pm 
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Yes, the 7:58 should be fine. Registration is 8:40 for everyone.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:42 am 
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Thanks to everyone who replied - I got so caught up in end of yr 6 activities that I forgot to check in! Yes there's a direct train from Blackheath and Kidbrooke, just 6 stops - takes around 20 mins.
I'm used to travelling the opposite direction for work but later than the school run, and less familiar with the early Dartford-bound service. Good to know that there are lots of students on it in the mornings! :D Thanks Salsa, useful advice to take earlier trains in case of problems. I've just given him a phone with the train and bus times apps.
Thanks also for the tips on bus routes -- will check those out too -- good to know back ups in case the Bexley line is out of action!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2015 4:24 pm
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Also train app alerts - great idea Salsa, thanks for sharing - will set up for both of us.
I've just checked again - there are 2 direct trains from Kidbrooke, but at least 4-5 from Blackheath, so it's a question of checking early, and switching plans if needed. We ran into a yr8 child (from same primary) who gets the 7.21 from Kidbrooke to be on the safe side. It's feels painfully early but sensible as the next one is not till 7.53 -- and once you get used to a routine, it's fine. As you say, extra time for football / games / chat is never a problem!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:27 pm 
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You're most welcome. They all use shortcuts from the station to the school. My son also meets some local friends along the way to school.


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