The Anonymous Widower

A Quick Way To London City Airport

London City Airport, in theory should be very easy to use, now that the Docklands Light Railway provides a direct link between Stratford station and the airport.

So today, because I escorted a friend with a heavy case from her offices behind Heals to the airport.

To get to the airport, you need to get on the Docklands Light Railway at some point and from that area on Tottenham Court Road, there are several ways.

  1. Take the Northern line from Goodge Street to Waterloo and then the Jubilee line to Canning Town for the DLR
  2. Walk to Centrepoint and take a 25 bus to Bank for the DLR.
  3. Walk to Tottenham Court Road station and get the Central line to Bank for the DLR.
  4. Walk to Warren Street station and get the Victoria line to Highbury and Islington, where you get the Overground to Stratford for the DLR.
  5. Get a 29 bus to Camden Road for the Overground to Stratfpord and the DLR.

The trouble with these routes are that they sre not particularly-friendly to someone who is mobility challenged. We weren’t that, bus we were wheeling a heavy case.

We thought the 29 route might be a good idea, but we just missed one.  So we took a 73 bus, aiming to use the Underground from disabled-friendly Kings Cross or get another bus to Highbury and Islington station for the Overground to Stratford.

It worked out quite well, as at Kings Cross, a 30 bus, got stuck behind the 73 and we were able to do a quick transfer. We were then able to get to Hghbury and Islington without having to dive into the Underground. We did have a slight problem with the pavements of Islington, but the Stannah got us safely to the Overground. It seems funny to use one of their products on public transport.

The Overground got us quickly to Stratford, where we took the lift into the subway.  My friend rushed into Easfield to the Marks by the station to get some sandwiches and a drink, whilst I sat on a seat in the subway with the dreaded case.

Unfortunately, we’d chosen the wrong lifts from the platform and had ended up in the wrong subway to get the DLR to the airport. But there were  lots of lifts.  Although, I did feel guilty using one small one, that was reserved for buggies and wheelchairs.

The new line is advertised as directly linking Stratford and London City Airport, but at various times of the day, you have to change at Canning Town.

We were of course travelling at one of those times of day without a direct train.

It was a few minutes wait, but the train got us quickly to Canning Town.

However, there is no information at the station on how to transfer and the signage actually points you back to the platform you have just arrived on.

At the minimum Canning Town station needs.

  1. A consolidated train departure board on each platform, telling you when the next few trains are leaving.  Dalston Junction and Highbury and Islington stations have them, so why not Canning Town?
  2. They do have an information booth, but it was unmanned.
  3. The signs to the platform you need could be much better.

It would be nice, if there could be more staff about, as there were lots of people wandering around aimlessly, looking for their trains.

The perfect solution would be for all four destinations of the DLR at the station to have separate platforms.

  1. Stratford and Stratford International.  This is the case.
  2. Bank and the City.  This is the case.
  3. Beckton. Trains can be upstairs or downstairs.
  4. City airport and Woolwich Arsenal.  Again upstairs and downstairs.

I wonder if the politicians, civil servants, accountants and engineers who designed the system, have ever used the DLR and completely misjudged where people would like to go. After all Stratford is a superb rail interchsnge now and gets passengers all over north east London and East Anglia very quickly and easily.

Also, could we please have a departure board for the airport at Canning Town, that tells the truth and is up-to-date.

Before you ask, m y friend got to the airport on time.

September 28, 2011 - Posted by | Travel | , , , , , ,

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