The Anonymous Widower

Could Transport for London Run A Tourist Train On The East London Line?

The East London Line of the London Overground is a railway line with lots of history, that runs through the Thames Tunnel, which was built my the father and son, Marc and Isambard Brunel.

Could it be turned into a tourist attraction for East London, without interfering with its main function as a valuable cross-river railway line?

In Berlin, they used to run a specially-converted panorama train on the S-bahn, but I couldn’t find it on my last visit.

Obviously, to have a non-standard train or two would be expensive, but small modifications might be possible to enhance its value to visitors, when all the other modifications that will happen are taken into account.

For example, I think that in a few years time, a substantial number of London’s buses and trains will have free or more likely sponsored wi-fi. So could a tourist commentary be broadcast through this to passengers? As I detailed in this post, you can already download audio guides for the Docklands Light Railway.

The East London Line is covered by four services to four destinations in the south and two in the north. All go through the Thames Tunnel, but one between Dalston Junction and New Cross stations is a fair bit shorter than the others and the service is scheduled with just two trains, shuttling north and south every fifteen minutes with a wait time at each end of the line of eleven minutes.

So how could these trains and stations be improved to provide a better service for visitors?

1. I don’t know about New Cross, but Dalston Junction doesn’t have a café, although I think at both stations, there is space on the platforms for a quality coffee stall.

2. If the trains were wi-fi enabled, the trains could have video cameras giving forward and backward views as the train progressed.

3. I would also put sideways facing lights on the two trains, so that, when passing through the Thames Tunnel, the Victorian structure could be illuminated. One of the good features on the Class 378 is that they have fairly wide windows, that give a good view.

4. On the Overground, many trains used to have a conductor.  But could a trained tourist guide/conductor be provided on these trains? I suspect they could.

The East London Line is a railway line unique in London and probably in the UK and the wider world, as where else do you pass through such an important Victorian tunnel, that is so rich in history and engineering, and is in such a superb state?

Assets should be made to sweat! Especially, where they have the potential to create jobs.

May 25, 2014 - Posted by | Travel | , , ,

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