The Anonymous Widower

Trainspotting At Oakleigh Park Station

Around 1960, my friend; Richard Plumb and myself, used to go trainspotting on the East Coast Main Line through Barnet and Hadley Wood. One of the places, we used to go regularly was Oakleigh Park station, where we would stand on the pedestrian bridge to the North of the main part of the station.

These pictures show the station today.

It hasn’t really changed that much over the sixty years.

  • Wikipedia says it was remodelled for the electrification in 1975.
  • The steel bridge, where we used to stand i very much the same.
  • There are a lot of new houses on surplus railway land.
  • The whole area is a lot greener, due to an increase in tree cover of the sides of the railway.

The step-free access is as it was in 1960 and totally non-existent. Wikipedia doesn’t detail any plans for the future.

This Google Map shows the layout of the station.

Note.

  1. The two island platforms, with four faces.
  2. The North bridge, where we used to watch the trains.
  3. The South bridge, which is the station footbridge with steep steps down to the platforms.

It is a station that has most of the things it needs, except for that step-free access!

Could Oakleigh Park Station Be Made Step-Free?

I have to ask this question.

Before I answer it, the following should be considered.

  • The station doesn’t appear to have an open Booking Office or any ticket gates, but has ticket machines and Oyster readers on both platforms.
  • It also has coffee stalls on both platforms.
  • It might be possible to put a lift to Platforms 3-4, but because of the Booking Office, it might be difficult for Platforms 1-2.
  • The station has about a million passengers a year.

My personal view is that as more housing is developed between Kings Cross and Welwyn Garden City the train frequency will be increased.

One solution might be to replace the bridge, where Richard and myself, watched the trains, with a new step-free bridge that also bridged Netherlands Road alongside the station.

Did I See Any Trains?

I took this picture of LNER’s new Azuma returning on the first round trip to Leeds.

The Azuma or Class 801 train almost bears a front-end resemblance to Nigel Gresley‘s famous A4 Pacifics. Mallard is a member of this class and set the world speed record for steam locomotives at 126.4 mph.

Although, it is a bit like comparing apples with oranges, it should be noted that Mallard’s speed record  is actually faster than the current 125 mph operating speed of the new Class 801 train. But the electric train has another fifteen mph to come with full digital signalling.

But seeing the Azuma coming through Oakleigh Park station, reminded me of summers sixty years ago, when we watched streaks at speed on that same gentle curve.

May 15, 2019 - Posted by | Transport | , , , ,

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