The Anonymous Widower

Before Overground – Mind The Gap

Some of the gaps between platform and train are more than passengers and probably Transport for London would like. Here’s two.

I would think it was fair to assume that nothing will be done about this gap problem until the promised new trains are delivered.

October 3, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Before Overground – Wood Street

More Steep Stairs And Few Facilities – Rating 2/10

Wood Street station was the last station on the Lea Valley Lines I visited. But I hadn’t saved the best to last!

Wood Street is like many on the Lea Valley Lines with steep stairs, few facilities and rudimentary roofs.

October 3, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Before Overground – Chingford

A Terminus In A Meaningful Place – Rating 8/10

Chingford is a proper terminus, with three platforms and a well-equipped station surrounded by a bus station with upwards of half-a-dozen routes, cafes, shops and a real ale pub.

The station doesn’t appear to have any access issues and possibly more trains could be run to and from the station every hour.



October 3, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Before Overground – Walthamstow Central

When the Victoria Line was built in the 1960s, the design budget seemed to run out. Several stations like Euston, Highbury and Islington, Brixton and Finsbury Park, show British rail infrastructure design of the time at its worst.

Wikipedia includes this in its section on the history of the Victoria Line.

It had been intended to build the line beyond Walthamstow Central to Wood Street (Walthamstow), where it would have surfaced to terminate next to the British Rail station. Proposals were also made to extend the line as far as South Woodford or Woodford, to provide interchange with the Central line. However, in a late decision in 1961 the line was cut back to Walthamstow (Hoe Street) station, renamed Walthamstow Central in 1968.

So does this late cutback, explain why Walthamstow Central is another station in this design disaster group?

The station has the feel of something designed on the spur of the moment, with a simple subway underneath the Chingford branch to access the Victoria Line platforms. To get between the Chingford branch platforms and the entrance to the Underground station, you need to negotiate a tricky staircase. It’s almost as though London Underground designed the lower half and British Rail did the top.

A station designed today would probably incorporate escalators, lifts and wide straight staircases.

I can’t help thinking that the original plan of connecting the two lines at Wood Street was the correct one.

Wikipedia says this in its description of the station.

The underground station, like many stations on the Victoria line, was never completely finished. White ceiling panels were never fixed to the ceilings above the platforms; instead the steel tunnel segments were painted black and used to support the fixtures and fittings. This has had a detrimental effect on the lighting levels. There is a concrete stairway between the two escalators instead of a third escalator; this caused a hugely disruptive station closure for several weeks in 2004 when both escalators went out of service.

As Walthamstow is going through a building boom in the moment and traffic through the station will only increase, we must accept what’s done is done  and we must find a way of correcting the mistakes of the past!

We can do two main things.

1. The interchange routes between the two lines at Walthamstow Central can be made easier by the addition of escalators and/or lifts.

2. We must provide alternative routes that take the pressure off Walthamstow Central. One simple idea would be to reinstate the Hall Farm Curve, which would allow trains to go a reopened Lea Bridge station and the major transport interchange at Stratford, with access to two Underground lines and the DLR.

As with many transport problems in London, I think that in 2018, London’s transport problems will change, with the arrival of the two biggest beasts of all; Crossrail and Thameslink.

1. Crossrail with its stations at Liverpool Street and Stratford will be fed directly by the Lea Valley Lines and pressure should be taken off the Victoria and Central Lines.

2. Thameslink calls at Finsbury Park, so will line be able to act as a bypass for those coming from Walthamstow and Chingford, who need to go to South London.

Hopefully all the changes will be for the better!


October 3, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Before Overground – Theobalds Grove

A Simple Station With Poor Access – Rating 4/10

Theobalds Grove is typical of the poorer stations on the Lea Valley Lines. It has long staircases geared to the fit, rudimentary facilities and no redeeming features.

There does at least seem to be some cafes in the shops outside the station. But none had any of the quality you get in those around my local station; Dalston Junction.

October 3, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Before Overground – Cheshunt

Cheshunt is the terminus of one of the branches of the Lea Valley Lines.

There is no severe access problems at this station, unless you’re changing from a train from the North to one of the local trains for say Hackney Downs. The timetable does seem to allow a generous fifteen minutes to catch the local train.

One thing that needs attention is the bus information and maps. I suppose we can’t really expect a company like Abellio Greater Anglia based in Norwich to know the intricacies of the buses in Hertfordshire. But will the information, after the takeover of the station by London Overground, be to London’s standard or that of Hertfordshire?

October 3, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Before Overground – Turkey Street

A Convenient Station For The M25 – Rating 5/10

Turkey Street is not the best of stations, but many of its problems are mainly cosmetic. Except of course for the inevitable step-free access problems.

The station though does have the advantage that it is just south of the M25, about 300 metres off the A10.

On this part of the M25, which goes in a wide arc around, where I used to live at Cockfosters, the stations aren’t ideally placed to pick up or drop off a passenger. Turkey Street may be a place to drop a passenger, who’s going to the city, after which you continue around the M25.

London would certainly benefit from a decent Park and Ride station in this area!

October 3, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Before Overground – Bush Hill Park

A Pleasant Tidy Station In The Suburbs – Rating 7/10

Bush Hill Park is one of the few stations, that is in reasonably good nick.

The station isn’t step-free, but if you can arrange that you always get on and off the train so you can walk out directly, you can avoid climbing over the footbridge. Network Rail says this about the station.

There is step-free access to each platform, but not between platforms.

For a station in a residential area, it’s well surrounded by shops, with a good sprinkling of cafes and restaurants. There is even a pub, that could be reasonable.

So it could be one of those stations, where you go to have a meeting for business or pleasure.




October 3, 2014 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Sheffield To Cambridge By Train

As I wanted to have lunch with an old friend in Cambridge I came home the slow way by taking a train from Sheffield and then changing at Ely.

The journey took five minutes over three hours, which included a waits at both Nottingham and Ely of over ten minutes.

I doubt we’ll see any improvements in this service in the next few years, but it really was a slow journey in a two coach Class 158 trains. Perhaps as some of the InterCity 125 are released as the new Class 800 trains are delivered, we might see services like Liverpool to Norwich run by these trains. After all a lot of the route between Liverpool and Norwich in a few years time will allow trains at over a hundred miles per hour.

There has been talk of electrifying the cross-country routes from Ipswich to Peterborough via Ely, specifically for freight. I think it will happen, but until Liverpool to Sheffield and Nottingham to Grantham are also electrified, it could be many years before electric trains cross from one side of England to the other.

October 3, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment