The Anonymous Widower

I Like This TfL Proposal

Transport for London have proposed changes at the junction of Stamford and Kingsland Roads near where I live. The changes are detailed in this page on their web site. This image shows the proposed junction.

Proposed Kingsland Road Stamford Road Junction

Proposed Kingsland Road Stamford Road Junction

And this is a Google Map of the area.

Kingsland Road Stamford Road Junction

Kingsland Road Stamford Road Junction

Note the inevitable truck parked outside Tesco, gumming everything up. Why is it that Tesco do this more than other supermarkets? Or they seem to do it in my opinion! As the crossing has been moved to allow buses to turn left out of the bus station, the loading bay has been moved further south, so I suspect that trucks won’t be able to park there and cause other vehicles to block the crossing that I regularly use. So that is one reason I like it, as it will make it easier for me to cross the road to get into Dalston Junction station. As buses will be able to turn left out of the bus station, I do wonder if TfL have got plans for more bus routes from Dalston, which of course I would support. I don’t think others will be so supportive. Look at these pictures of the junction and Tottenham Road.

Note that the Tesco store is quite a way up towards the Balls Pond Road and after the changes are made, they will have a cycle lane in front of the shop. My heart bleeds for them! – I don’t think! There are quite a few businesses in Tottenham Road, who might find movements of vehicles rather difficult. Especially, as the Cycle Superhighway will soon cross the road in the middle. I also think that some residents of Tottenham Road will be objecting, as effectively unless they do a three-point turn, they will have to go a long way round to get out, as they’ll be a dead-end at one end of the road and the Cycle Superhighway across the middle. As I don’t drive, I don’t care!

June 3, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Crossrail 2 Through East London

TfL have now published their preferred route for Crossrail 2 and in this post I will detail, how I think it will affect East London.

In this post, I will refer to the Crossrail currently being built as Crossrail 1 to avoid confusion.

The Progression Of Large Projects

I have been around the management of large projects for just over forty years, since I wrote my first software system for project management in 1973. From talking to project managers over that time, I have come to various conclusions, some of which will certainly affect the realisation of Crossrail 2.

The second system I wrote; Artemis, was very much involved in providing the necessary management for the development of North Sea Oil. Project managers told me many times, that things were getting easier and more affordable because of the development of bigger and better rigs, platforms and lifting capabilities. In parallel better techniques and methods were also being developed.

I was also told many times, that doing the second, third or fourth version of something like a concrete production platform, got easier each time, especially if substantially the same team could be used.

Crossrail 2 Is The Next In A Long Line

You could argue that Crossrail 2 will be the latest in a succession of large tunnelling projects under London, since the Second World War.

1 The Victoria Line was bored in the 1960s and I can remember seeing film of the digging of both this line’s tunnels and those at Dartford on the television. Pleasant and safe working, it was not! The BBC have posted a 1969 documentary called How They Dug The Victoria Line on iPlayer. It is a must watch!

2. The Jubilee Line was bored in two sections and was completed as we see it now in 2000. In some ways it is the first modern line and stations in London, where some the latter were built to be architectural gems, like some of London’s pre-war stations.

3. Around the turn of the millennium, the Docklands Light Railway was also extended with two branches and four tunnels under the Thames. I have a feeling that the tunnels of the DLR are the first under London to have wholly concrete as opposed to all or partly iron or steel linings. This video, shows the tunnel from Bank to Shadwell.

4. The London tunnels of HS1, were completed in 2007 to St. Pancras and were the first full-size rail tunnels to be dug under London, since the Snow Hill Tunnel opened in 1866.

5. Over the last few years, the forty-two kilometres of tunnels for Crossrail 1 have been bored under London. Like HS1’s tunnels they are full-size with overhead electrification and hopefully non-corroding concrete linings.

These five tunnels show a constant progression of larger and better-designed and constructed tunnels, that have been built by using a succession of bigger and better machines.

You also have a tremendous base of knowledge built-up by companies, engineers and tunnel workers, which as the recent documentary on the BBC about Crossrail showed, includes families and individuals, who’ve worked on all these five tunnels and a good few others besides!

It is my belief that when the politicians press the Go-button on Crossrail 2, the tunnels will make a painless progression under London as Crossrail 2 sneaks along the defined route.

Crossrail 1 And Crossrail 2 Compared

At first sight, both Crossrails would appear to be two large tunnels and train lines across London, from where lines fan out into the wider suburbs and nearby towns and cities at each end.

But there are some major differences.

Crossrail 1 is much more complicated than Crossrail 2. I suspect some will argue that if they were designing Crossrail 1 today, it would be very different to what is being built. For instance, of the major rail terminals in London, it only serves Liverpool Street and Paddington. I think that the design of Crossrail 2 cleverly builds on Crossrail 1 and helps get over some of the earlier line’s deficiencies.

Crossrail 1 was designed in an era, where passengers needed booking offices in stations. In the last couple of years, the growth in contactless ticketing is showing that booking offices can be closed and the space used for more productive purposes.

Crossrail 1 chose to have the major tunnel portals at Royal Oak, Pudding Mill Lane and Plumstead which would appear to be much more cramped and congested sites than those of Crossrail 2 at Tottenham Hale, New Southgate and Wimbledon.

In addition the surface sections of Crossrail 1 would appear to require a lot more work to bring them up to modern standards, than similar parts of Crossrail 2.

This efficient simplicity in the design will keep costs, time-scales and disruption during the construction phase of Crossrail 2, to a much lower level than Crossrail 1.

Crossrail 1 was skilfully threaded through the mass of tunnels under London, as the BBC documentary showed. The engineers could have gone deeper to get under the Northern Line at Tottenham Court Road but for some reason they didn’t. Perhaps going deeper would have meant difficulties and extra costs in the design of stations. Crossrail 2 will have to go deeper in the Dalston area to get under High Speed One and it will also have to pass Crossrail 1 at Tottenham Court Road. The tunnels of High Speed One are at a depth of 34 to 50 metres, so will we see Crossrail 2 bored across London below all the other foundations and infrastructure?

Crossrail 1 by virtue of its route through Central London has necessitated the expensive rebuilding of quite a few stations. It has also needed expensive new stations at Canary Wharf, Woolwich and Custom House. On the other hand, Crossrail 2 would appear not to require so many stations to be completely rebuilt, as the three central stations of Euston/St. Pancras, Tottenham Court Road and Victoria, will have been or are being rebuilt for other reasons and like Angel will have been rebuilt with provision to link to Crossrail 2. This will save time and costs in construction and probably mean that the disruption caused by Crossrail 2 would be much less than Crossrail 1.

The big station reconstruction will be Euston for HS2 and that will cause massive disruption to everything. Making sure the new station will connect easily to Crossrail 2, is a small problem in the grand scheme of things.

When Crossrail 1 opens, Whitechapel station will be the Jewel In The East. And this will not be just about how the station was designed and will look, but about the way it was built. Instead of digging down from the current station to the new Crossrail 1 tunnels, the thirty metres or so long shaft for the escalators and lifts is being dug upwards from the tunnels, using a coal mining technique called uphill excavation.

Currently the escalators in London with the highest vertical rise are those at Angel station, which rise twenty-seven metres, but this is a dwarf compared to some of the longest in the world. Crossrail 2 looks certain to break London’s record.

Crossrail 2 Could Be A Very Deep Line

I think we could see an unprecedented deep tunnel for Crossrail 2 across London, with tunnels in places over fifty metres below the surface. By comparison, Crossrail 1 is thirty metres deep at Whitechapel, which is not as deep as the Saint Petersburg metro , which has one station at a depth of eighty-six metres.

No major station rebuilding, the digging of stations from the tunnel up, longer escalators and other smaller improvements in techniques and machines , lead me to the conclusion, that the central section of Crossrail 2 will be one deep tunnel that excavates its way to the surface mainly direct into existing Crossrail 2-ready stations.

It will be a very cost effective and hopefully much quicker way of building a railway under London, which could cause a lot less disruption than the current Crossrail 1.

What Can Crossrail 2 Learn From Crossrail 1?

In my view from the outside, Crossrail 1 has been a pretty well-managed project. But it has skilfully used various ideas to make construction flow smoothly.

One big problem with large tunnelling projects is getting rid of all the spoil dug out of the tunnels. Crossrail 1 changed, the tunnelling strategy to remove excavated material by barge from Leamouth rather than the originally proposed complex conveyor system in Mile End.

To further use the spoil on the Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project was a master-stroke with a large dose of green.

It would appear that all three of Crossrail 2’s portals have good rail and/or water access to remove spoil. Will it be used to similar effect?

Crossrail 1 has been able to use archaeology for positive publicity to balance negative stories. I don’t think Crossrail 2 will be going through such rich veins of historical interest, but they will have to find a positive story to spin, that is not directly-related to the project.

Crossrail 1 had a major problem with the junction of the two eastern branches under Stepney. Instead of being heavy, they worked with the Stepney City Farm to create a solution acceptable to both parties. Crossrail 2 must work the same way in sensitive areas, like their proposed junction under Stamford Hill and the only new station on the line at Chelsea.

When people talk about Crossrail 1, the subject of disruption always comes up. In any plan for the design and construction of Crossrail 2, minimising disruption should be an important objective.

There is an entry entitled Controversy in the Wikipedia entry for Crossrail.

This is one of the things that is said.

There had been complaints from music fans, as the redevelopment of the area forced the closure of a number of historic music venues. The London Astoria, the Astoria 2, The Metro, Sin nightclub and The Ghetto have been demolished to allow expansion of the ticket hall and congestion relief at Tottenham Court Road tube station in advance of the arrival of Crossrail.

Crossrail 2 might well find that if they avoided unnecessary demolition, they might calm a few Nimbys.

What Can Crossrail 2 Learn From Other Metros?

From the little of Crossrail 1, I’ve seen in reality, and the masses of visualisations I’ve seen in places like the Crossrail 1 web site, the line strikes me as sound and solid, but not that adventurous in its approach to design and architecture. The stations with perhaps a couple of exceptions, do not have mould-breaking designs that characterise the Piccadilly and Jubilee Lines.

London Transport, the predecessor to Transport for London, was rightly famous for its design from typefaces and maps to stations and buses.

The rules still seem to be applied, but Crossrail 1 doesn’t seem to have extended them, in the way that the Victoria Line did and the Docklands Light Railway and the London Overground still are.

I recently went to Bilbao and saw Norman Foster’s award-winning Metro, which is very much a design-led system.

Crossrail 2 needs to find itself a modern extension of London Transport’s philosophy. They might perhaps start by stealing and Londonising the fosterito idea from Bilbao.

The Safeguarded Areas For Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 has now firmed up the areas they want to be safeguarded from any possible development that might make building the line difficult. has also given a handy checklist of all the changes, that have been recently agreed.

The web site says this about safeguarding.

The updated route means that relevant planning applications in safeguarded areas will be referred to TfL for advice. If development interferes with Crossrail 2, either a compromise will be reached or the development will not be allowed.

It also says this about TfL and compulsory purchase.

TfL said it currently has no plans to compulsorily purchase properties along the route.

This page on the Crossrail 2 web site, explains all about safeguarded areas and acts as a key to the detailed maps.

The maps show the route of the line and how it effects individual areas, streets and houses.

The only problem is that the PDF maps are sometimes a bit on the skew, but hopefully they will be improved.

Crossrail 2 Through East London

I’m going to look at the area as it works it way through Hackney from Tottenham Hale to The Angel.

Tottenham Hale

The portal for the North Eastern branch is south of Tottenham Hale station, from where it goes up the West Anglia Main Line to Cheshunt, Broxbourne and Hertford East.

It is basically a good plan, as it would appear that the tunnel portal appears to be in an area with all the beauty and charm of East London after the Blitz. It is also located close to rail and water for the efficient and environmentally sound removal of tunnel spoil. Thames Water are even ceating the Walthamstow Wetlands in the area and may have innovative uses for some f the tunnel spoil.

This post entitled Crossrail 2 At Tottenham Hale, shows some maps and pictures and gives my thoughts in full.

South Tottenham/Seven Sisters

It looks increasingly like South Tottenham and Seven Sisters stations could share a double-ended Crossrail 2 station and become a major  interchange between London Overground ‘s Gospel Oak to Barking and Lea Valley Lines, the Victoria Line, Crossrail 2 and National Rail services.

Such an interchange will support major development in a part of London, that desperately needs more housing, jobs and leisure and business opportunities.

This post entitled Crossrail 2 At South Tottenham/Seven Sisters, shows some maps and pictures and gives my thoughts in full.

The Junction Under Stamford Hill

The two northern branches of Crossrail 2, that go to New Southgate and Tottenham Hale respectively, would appear according to the safeguarding map on the Crossrail 2 web site, to join together under Stamford Hill.

It all seems to point to some clever strategy and alignments, that will allow the junction to be created deep underground, without disturbing anything or anybody on the surface.

This post entitled The Crossrail 2 Junction Under Stamford Hill, shows some maps and pictures and gives my thoughts in full.


If there is one area in East London that needs to see its existing transport links tidied up and new ones added, it is Hackney and Dalston.

I have heard from Michele Dix of Crossrail 2, that they are looking at a double-ended station to serve both Dalston Kingsland and Junction stations. This was said.

We have been working closely with the London borough of Hackney on the early development of the proposals for how Crossrail 2 could ultimately serve Dalston. The work to date has been based around delivering a double-ended station, with one end being at Dalston Junction, and the other at Dalston Kingsland, thereby allowing the Crossrail 2 station to link to both existing stations. As Mr. Miller rightly points out, the distance between the existing stations is well suited to the 250m long platforms that will be required for the Crossrail 2 station, and the greater interchange opportunities to London Overground services also deliver significant benefits.

I believe that there is an opportunity to create a world class station that subtly brings together all the good elements of the area. The only necessary demolition would be the unloved Dalston Kingsland station. TfL have told me off the record, that Kingsland station will be replaced fairly soon.

This post entitled Crossrail 2 At Dalston, shows some maps and pictures and gives my thoughts in full about the stations.

De Beauvoir Town

Looking at the safeguarding maps gives the impression that Crossrail 2 will swing under De Beauvoir Town before turning in the direction of the Angel and Kings Cross.

I think the only negative effect will be the possible use of the Bentley Road Car Park as a work site. Why else would it have been singled out for safeguarding?

This post entitled Crossrail 2 Under De Beauvoir Town, shows some maps and pictures and gives my thoughts in full.


Just as at Stamford Hill, I feel that Crossrail 2 could effectively take a route through the hill at the Angel, well below the foundations of any building on top.

Angel station was rebuilt in the 1990s and this was after a route for Crossrail 2 was first safeguarded, so I suspect that creating a Crossrail 2 station at Angel would have been taken into account in the rebuilding.

I think the biggest decision to be made at the Angel, is whether the new station is double-ended with entrances on both sides of the hill or it just pops up into the current station.

As at Dalston, there is scope for the creation of an affordable world class station, which is subtly blended with the good buildings in the area.

How Will Crossrail 2 Be Built?

Crossrail 1 was built rather traditionally, in that the tunnels have been bored first and then the stations have been created.  One thing that surprised me was that the surface sections, which have nothing to do with the tunnels were not prepared for Crossrail 1 a lot earlier.

This is probably because politicians dithered for years about giving the go-ahead for the line. More time and the better planning before tunnelling started would have enabled, the surface stations and possibly one or two of the Central London ones to be made Crossrail 1-ready.

Crossrail 2 has a big advantage over Crossrail 1, when it comes to the politics of the route and construction.

With the exception of a few stations in Hertfordshire and some in the boroughs of Elmbridge, Spelthorne and Epsom and Ewell, Crossrail 2 is a London project, where nearly everything is under the control of Transport for London and ultimately the Mayor. As the only work that will need to be done to outlying stations like Hertford East and Epsom, is bring the existing structures up to a modern standard, that will be capable of handling larger trains, I can’t imagine many complaints about Crossrail 2 from that quarter. It’s interesting to note, that now tunnelling is complete most of the negative stories from Crossrail 1 are about works on the surface section.

As construction of Crossrail 2 is unlikely to start for some years, the tunnelling can probably be scheduled to start after all of the stations have been upgraded to be Crossrail 2-ready.

When St. Pancras was rebuilt for High Speed One, provision was made for Thameslink, and in the same way when Euston and Victoria are rebuilt, I will be surprised if the designs don’t incorporate full provision for Crossrail 2.

Where I live in Dalston, which according to my letter says will have a double-ended station serving both Dalston stations, a TfL manager told me that Dalston Kingsland station is to be rebuilt in the next few years. So as Dalston Junction station was built with Crossrail 2 in mind, boring the tunnels through Dalston will only require threading two needles with the same thread simultaneously.

Probably the only station that needs to be created or rebuilt after or alongside the tunnelling is Chelsea Kings Road, which I suspect will be more politically difficult than any other.

A lot of other features of Crossrail 2, like trains, signalling and the design of tunnels, platforms, track and overhead line systems will probably be the same as Crossrail 1.

I would suspect that a decision will be made to use the same Class 345 trains for Crossrail 2, that are being built for Crossrail 1. The only difference would be that they will need to be dual-voltage to run on the third-rail lines in the south. But they could be built as a run-on to the trains needed for Crossrail 1 and possibly introduced early on the surface lines from Liverpool Street to Hertford North or Victoria to Epsom. I feel that a common weakness of Crossrail 1 and Thameslink, is that they are introducing new types of train as they are respectively building or updating the lines. By using a proven train type the risks associated with the project will be reduced.

So I think we will get a series of phases for Crossrail 2.

1. Introduce some of the new trains on some of the surface sections. New trains on these lines will be needed anyway, as some of the current ones are getting pretty tired and dated.

2. Rebuild Euston station for High Speed Two and make provision for connection to Crossrail 2. This phase alone is probably the most expensive and contentious rail project that will happen in London in the next few years and inextricably links the work for Crossrail 2 and HS2.

3. The current situation at Victoria station is difficult to say the least. Hopefully in 2018, it will have a much better Underground station, with two platforms at which Crossrail 2’s tunnellers will aim their boring machines.

4. Make all the existing stations on the surface lines, Crossrail-2 ready and to a modern standard. Much of the work on the surface sections will be done anyway under Network Rail’s Access for All program.

5. Bore the tunnels through Central London.

6. Fit out the tunnels and the new station platforms.

7. Build the station at Chelsea. This could be an independent last phase, as was Pimlico station on the Victoria Line

Obviously, there are other ancillary projects like the creation of a depot for the trains and as a lot of Phases 1 to 4  won’t interfere with Phases 5 and 6, it could be scheduled to be done at the same time, if planned properly.

As so many elements of Crossrail 2 should be the same as Crossrail 1, any good project manager would probably say costs would be saved by scheduling Crossrail 2 to follow Crossrail 1 by a couple of years or so.


I am optimistic that Crossrail 2 can set new standards of design, affordability, accessibility and neighbourliness as it is built across London in a much shorter time with less demolition and disruption than Crossrail 1.

Well! At least I’m very hopeful!

March 29, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Crossrail 2 At Dalston

In a post called An Opportunity For Dalston, I looked at how a double-ended station for Crossrail 2 might connect with both Kingsland and Junction stations. I felt it could bring major advantages to the area of not requiring any demolition, except for the unloved Kingsland station, much better interchange for passengers and improved pedestrians routes in the area.

I concluded that all was possible because the Victorians spaced the stations to enable a modern Crossrail station to fit in between. This map from the Crossrail 2 web site, shows the two stations and the safeguarded area.

Crossrail 2 In Dalston

Crossrail 2 In Dalston

The rail line at the far right or north is the North London Line with High Speed One beneath. The safeguarded area would appear to follow the Kingland High Road, but it does pass close to both stations.

I just thought it was logical and never envisaged that those working on the project would entertain a similar idea. But after contacting my MP, I have received a letter from Michele Dix, who is the Managing Director of Crossrail 2. This is a paragraph.

We have been working closely with the London borough of Hackney on the early development of the proposals for how Crossrail 2 could ultimately serve Dalston. The work to date has been based around delivering a double-ended station, with one end being at Dalston Junction, and the other at Dalston Kingsland, thereby allowing the Crossrail 2 station to link to both existing stations. As Mr. Miller rightly points out, the distance between the existing stations is well suited to the 250m long platforms that will be required for the Crossrail 2 station, and the greater interchange opportunities to London Overground services also deliver significant benefits.

Various factors will also drive the design of the Crossrail 2 station and the related Dalston Kingsland station at Dalston.

1. Crossrail 2 will have to get past and probably under High Speed One and the Dalston Curve, that takes the East London Line to Canonbury and Highbury and Islington. So it will be a deep line, where any stations will need escalators and/or lifts. These stations will also probably be built from the tunnel up, as parts of Whitechapel station are being built for Crossrail.

2. Could Dalston Kingsland station be designed as a station with entrances on both sides of Kingsland High Street, perhaps with a single island platform served by escalators and lifts?

3. Demolition of any quality buildings will stir up a lot of opposition.

4. There isn’t many places to put a work site, with the possible exception of the Car Park in Bentley Road which is in the safeguarded area.

5.Surely the Ridley Road market could be improved by good design of the new stations.

I think there is a chance for a good architect with a bit of vision to create an innovative world class station.

Perhaps, we need our own versions of these distinctive fosteritos to access the Crossrail 2 station from the surface.

These were designed by Sir Norman Foster for the Bilbao Metro. Hence the name!

I also think that if the design is right, Crossrail 2 can sneak its way through Dalston, with little disruption and no demolition of a building worth saving.,

Why shouldn’t us plebs in Dalston have the best?

March 28, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

How Where I Live Now Looked In 1949

This is an image of Dalston from Britain from Above taken in 1949.

Dalston In 1949

Dalston In 1949

This is the same area today from Google Earth.

Dalston In 2014

Dalston In 2014

In the Google Earth image, the Overground lines are marked in orange and Dalston Junction station is marked by a red arrow.

In the aerial image the following can be clearly seen.

1. The platforms at the old Dalston Junction station in the bottom right hand corner.

2. The A10 road stretching away to the North.

3. The Balls Pond Road stretching towards Highbury Corner.

I can pick out more, but then I live in a house that was built ten years ago and is or would be in the bottom left hand corners of both images.

February 5, 2015 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Walking Through My Maternal Grandparents’ Lives

My maternal grandmother, Harriet Martha Upcott, was born opposite Dalston Junction station in Dalston Lane in May 1871. In September 1894, she married my grandfather, Henry Millbank, who had been born in Clerkenwell in 1870. Census and other records show that in 1894 they lived at 29 Dalston Lane and then by 1901 they had moved to 90, Princess May Road in Stoke Newington. As Princess May Road is perhaps a kilometre from where I live now, I walked round all these places this morning.

In some ways, one thing that struck me as I walked in a semi-circle to St. Mark at the back of the famous Ridley Road Market was how intact the late Victorian terraces were. But why was 90, Princess May Road missing. Was it just development or did the Luftwaffe have a hand? I shall go to the Hackney Records Office opposite where my grandmother was born in the week.

It was a family joke between my parents, that my grandmother was born in the Balls Pond Road, when it was posh the first time around. The Balls Pond Road is the continuation of Dalston Lane towards Islington.

I can’t salso ever remember talk of Dalston, despite my mother having worked at Reeves. Stoke Newington and Islington were mentioned.

January 18, 2015 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Can We Extend Overground Connectivity In North London?

The East London Line has four termini in South London; New Cross, West Croydon, Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction, but only two in the North; Dalston Junction and Highbury and Islington.

In the North the Lea Valley Lines are being added to the system and although these lines meet the North London Line at the Hackney Downs/Central station complex, they are not intimately connected to the core route of the East London Line, as this would need a change of train at Canonbury.

So how could we improve the extend the connectivity?

Hackney Central/Downs

I regularly take the Overground from Stratford to my home. On a wet day, I would take a train to Canonbury from Stratford, walk across the platform to a southbound train and then go one stop to Dalston Junction, from where I would get a bus two stops to my home. On a sunny day, I might change at Hackney Central to a 38 bus or walk from Dalston Kingsland.

But I usually take the Canonbury route, as it has the least amount of walking and if I’ve got a heavy parcel, there is a lift at Dalston Junction.

The two Hackney stations are being connected by a covered high level walk and this would help those changing between the North London Line and Lea Valley and Cambridge services.

But two other things could be done, if the run-down area around the stations is redeveloped.

If you want to get a bus or walk to the Town Hall area, after alighting on the westbound platform at Hackney Central, you have to cross the tracks on a footbridge. An entrance needs to be provided on the south side of the station.

The connection to the buses are better than they were a few years ago, but Downs/Central should have easy access to stops for the high-frequency bus routes that pass through the area.

I have a feeling that they may have spent a lot of money on making the footbridge step-free with lifts and in a few years time, it will be rarely used, as other better routes are developed. A southern entrance would help in this respect.

Crossrail 2 will be the driving force here, as the planners have stated a preference for only having one station in Hackney, to save a billion pounds. Whether this station is Dalston Junction or Hackney Downs/Central doesn’t matter, provided that these two stations are connected by other means. There are already two routes; the North London Line and the high-frequency buses.

For this reason, the access to buses from Hackney Downs/Central must be made as easy as possible. But that doesn’t need to wait for Crossrail 2!

There is a superb opportunity here for a developer to create a real town centre at Hackney Central/Downs, of which everybody can be proud. The original station building is not used, but it is a building worthy of saving as are few other historic buildings in the area.

An Extra Terminal In The North

If the frequency on the core section of the East London Line is increased from 16 tph to 24 tph as is stated in TfL’s plans, there could be a need for another Northern terminus to supplement Dalston Junction and Highbury and Islington, where these trains could turn back.

An extra terminus might ease the overcrowding that is prevalent at Highbury and Islington.

In the original plans for the Overground, there was talk about some East London Line trains going as far as Willesden Junction and terminating there.

With plans for a new super station at Old Oak Common, that could be a possibility. But even New Cross to Old Oak Common would be a journey of about an hour, and there will be faster  ways via Crossrail at Whitechapel.

So a terminus for the East London Line at Willesden Junction or Old Oak Common, would be more about inceasing the frequency of trains on the North London Line, by using some of the eight extra trains an hour on the East London Line to provide the extra trains.

There are two other possibilities for extra Northern terminals.

If the Dalston Eastern Curve were to be reopened, then trains could move easily between Hackney Downs/Central and Stratford and the East London Line.

This would mean that Stratford could be an additional terminal and also that some East London Line trains could have an interchange with the Lea Valley Lines.

There is also a curve at Canonbury that connects the North London Line to the East Coast Main Line. It used to be double track, but is only single track now! So could this be used to get to a new Northern terminus?

The Canonbury Curve To The East Coast Main Line

The Canonbury Curve To The East Coast Main Line

It all depends on the passenger flows, which of course TfL has at its fingertips.

We must also take note of passenger behaviour in using cross-city railways.

When Crossrail opens in 2019, all parameters will change, as many who want to use the East London Line to get on the Underground at Highbury and Islington, might get on Crossrail at Whitechapel instead. This passenger will probably go to Oxford Street, by walking to Dalston Junction, before taking the East London Line to Whitechapel for Crossrail. The alternative of taking a bus to Highbury and Islington and then getting the Victoria line, means I have to use a station I avoid as much as possible, due to the excessive walking involved to get to the trains.

The Eastern Curve At Dalston Junction

This seems an easy option to improve connectivity, as it would allow trains to pass easily between Stratford and Hackney Downs/Central and the East London Line. But there are two problems.

It might be a difficult sell to the Dalstonistas and the shopping centre at Dalston Kingsland is being redeveloped, although the Eastern Curve is safeguarded.

It would seem though, that in the next couple of years, there is a chance to make a good fist of sorting out the shops and stations at Dalston.

Tying In The Lea Valley Lines

There has been little or no speculation about how the London Overground will link the Lea Valley Lines to their current lines. London Overground has said that it will deep clean the trains and stations and that new trains are on the way.

They have also got at least three out of station interchanges between the new lines and the current system.

  1. Walthamstow Central to Walthamstow Queens Road.
  2. Hackney Downs to Hackney Central, although the way that is going, it will probably become a single station.
  3. Seven Sisters to South Tottenham

There are also a couple of junctions where useful connectivity already exists.

There is a rail line called the High Meads Loop that goes between the Lee Valley Lines and the North London Line, virtually straight under the old Olympic Village. This is the North London Line End just after Hackney Wick station.

High Meads Loop At Stratford Joins North London Line

High Meads Loop At Stratford Joins North London Line

And this is the other end on the Lea Valley Line, between Stratford and Tottenham Hale

High Meads Loop At Stratford Joins Lea Valley Line

High Meads Loop At Stratford Joins Lea Valley Line

Incidentally, I don’t think there is a station under all those dwellings.

There is also another junction that links the Lea Valley Line to the Gospel Oak to Barking Line to the East of South Tottenham station.

Perhaps the most interesting proposal though, is to reinstate the Hall Farm Curve in conjunction with the reopening of Lea Bridge station. I travel to Walthamstow Central regularly and the curent timetable of the GreaterAnglia service is a bit threadbare to say the least. So if this curve is reopened, will we see trains linking Walthamstow to Stratford and even to and along the North London Line by way of the link I showed in the pictures to my local station at Dalston.

If the Eastern Curve at Dalston Junction was to be reinstated, then some of those extra trains through the core section of the East London Line could go to Walthamstow and Chingford.

Summing Up

The more I look at the East London Line, the basic concept of a high frequency line through Marc Brunel’s Thames Tunnel, fanning out to several destinations on both sides of the river, was a stroke of genius, which was probably dreamed up in the time-honoured manner of so many other good ideas on the back of serviettes, beer mats or fag packets in a real ale hostelry somewhere.

Who can predict with any certainty what the Overground will look like in 2020, let alone the 2050 target of Transport for London?

The only certainty is that Transport for London will have created another iconic brand to go with Underground and Routemaster.

It could also be argued that London’s three new cross-London lines;Thameslink, Crossrail and East London, are all following a similar design of a central tunnelled core, with a collection of branches at each end.

Certainly the current Thameslink and East London Line have shown that the concept works and if they perform in the next few years, this can only mean that further lines in London and further afield follow a similar pattern. Crossrail is adding more branches and termini and the basic design for the proposed Crossrail 2 appears to have been designed by the use of a photocopier.



August 11, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should Crossrail 2 Serve Dalston Junction And/Or Hackney Central?

The latest proposal for Crossrail 2 says this about the routes north of Angel station.

Further work to reduce the overall cost of the scheme and to minimise environmental impacts during both construction and operation has resulted in a potential change to the proposal for Crossrail 2 in this area. Rather than the route splitting at Angel with one tunnel going via Dalston and the other via Hackney, a single route would continue as far as Stoke Newington or Clapton, at which point the line would split, with one branch towards Seven Sisters and New Southgate and the other towards Tottenham Hale and Hertford East. 

So it looks like it’s either call at Dalston Junction or Hackney Central stations, but not both.

Before I discuss which of the two locations is served, I will make a few assumptions.

Crossrail is going to provide up to 24 two hundred metre long trains per hour, that can each carry up to 1,500 passengers between Whitechapel and Paddington as detailed here. Thameslink will also be using a frequency of 24 trains per hour.

So it is reasonable to assume that Crossrail 2 will have similar frequency and probably use similar trains to Crossrail, so there’ll be an awful lot of passengers on the line.

But they are proposing Crossrail 2 for the future not for 2014.

By that time the  Overground will be running more trains and they will be at least five-car trains. Judging by the modular nature of the Class 378 trains, which have already gone from three to four and will be going to five coaches later this year, who’s to say what the length will be? The limiting factor is the length of platforms, but I think I read somewhere, that most stations could go to six. At those that couldn’t take six coaches, selective door opening could be used.

Station improvements will also increase the capacity of the system.

With the redevelopment of the Kingsland Shopping Centre and the various redevelopment between the two stations, I would hope that the walk between the two Dalston stations ; Junction and Kingsland, becomes a pleasant sheltered one past cafes and shops, rather than a precarious scramble up the side of a busy road on a crowded and exposed pavement. If the Dalston Kingsland station entrance was moved to the eastern side of the Kingsland Road, this would shorten the walk and mean that only one major road had to be crossed.

As the Lea Valley Lines will have been fully incorporated in the Overground by then, Hackney Central should have been combined with Hackney Downs to effectively be one station. I’ve believed for some time that the two stations should be made one, with a proper interchange to the buses. I suspect too, that the station improvements could be part of a large property development in the area, as could the improvements at Dalston.

So by the time Crossrail 2 is finished both Dalston Kingsland/Junction and Hackney Downs/Central could be two substantially developed stations with lots of apartments, shops, offices and leisure facilities, with the North London Line between them. At present there are eight trains per hour and an awful lot of buses between the two areas.

I think we can see, why the planners have virtually said that it’s an either..on between the two stations. Cutting out one station supposedly cuts a billion off the bill for the project.

So which will get built?

It’s very much a case of who pays the money gets the tune.

But I think as Hackney Central/Downs will be the better connected station, it might well get the vote.

But remember one of the rules of the planning of large and expensive projects. What gets delivered in the end is often very different to what was originally proposed. Look at the simple example from Crossrail, where the line was originally planned to run to Maidenhead, but was extended to Reading, in March 2014.

So what could happen to change the scope of Crossrail 2?

The Overground has a problem of not enough capacity, which is partly made worse by all the freight trains travelling along it. So will a radical solution be made to remove most of the freight trains away from the Overground? This problem is going to get worse as more ships call at London Gateway, so sending more freight trains on the North London and Gospel Oak to Barking Lines (GOB) will be increasing unpopular, with both TfL and residents. Although hopefully in a few years, the noisy Class 66 diesel locomotives, will have been replaced with quieter electric ones.

But one solution could be incorporated into the Overground that would make the one station in Hackney work better. And that would be to reinstate the Eastern Curve at Dalston Junction to enable trains to go between the East London Line and Stratford.

The more I think about it, to make a one station concept work, freight must be removed from the North London Line. Read what the London Gateway Wikipedia entry says about distribution, which says trains will go partly at night on the GOB.

Rail logistics partner DB Schenker Rail (UK) plan to run four intermodal trains per day (mainly overnight) via Barking and Gospel Oak to the West Coast Main Line. 

What will the residents living by the GOB, think of the noise at night?

June 18, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Payday Lenders Fight Back

Payday lenders have had a lot of bad publicity today.  So Oakam in Dalston decided to fight back.

Payday Lenders Fight Back

Payday Lenders Fight Back

I suppose the only guy doing well is the guy on stilts.

Perhaps we need more street performers on the High Street.

October 3, 2013 Posted by | Finance, World | , | 1 Comment

Dalston On BBC Breakfast

Dalston featured in a report on BBC Breakfast this morning.

It was all about payday loans.

It is almost impossible to walk down the Kingsland Road without falling over the endless number of boards offering loans on the street.

All loans no matter where they are from, should be properly registered on a central database, which is then checked for anomalies and excessive borrowings.

The FCA is imposing new regulations as reported here on the BBC.

But no matter what regulations are tabled, it will not stop people borrowing at rates, they can’t afford. So the new regulations will probably turn out to be a business opportunity for loan sharks.

October 3, 2013 Posted by | Business, Finance, News | , | Leave a comment

You Don’t Get Behaviour Like This On The Dalston Omnibus!

This tragic tale from Biggleswade, shows what you get when you mix two men of my age, shopping and an argument over parking.

You certainly don’t get any behaviour like this on the Dalston omnibus to or from Waitrose at the Angel. The most outrageous behaviour I saw, was a guy laughing at two ladies sitting beside each other who were probably about fifty years old; one black and one white, who’d both hurt a leg and their hospitals had furnished them each with one crutch. Everybody saw the funny side! Especially the ladies!

I do wonder sometimes, why people bother with driving. I miss it like a hole in the head!

I’ve actually never been to Asda and if you get killed in their car parks, I doubt I will now!

August 4, 2013 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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