The Anonymous Widower

The City Of London Reaches For The Sky And Keeps More Feet On The Ground

This article on Construction News is entitled City of London To ‘Encourage’ New Skyscrapers.

This is the first two paragraphs.

The City of London Corporation has opened the door to a new wave of towers and an overhaul of one of its main routes as part of draft new local and transport plans.

The local authority wants to encourage the development of new towers able to provide an “iconic image of the City” that will enhance its global standing in the finance, professional services and commerce sectors.

The main route to be upgraded will be Bishopsgate between Liverpool Street station and London Bridge.

  • Pedestrians will have more priority.
  • Cycling and walking will be improved.
  • The public realm will be upgraded.

It the Peak hours, it could become one the busiest walking and cycling routes in the world.

  • At the Northern End, there is Liverpool Street station and Crossrail.
  • At the Southern End, there is London Bridge, London Bridge station, Southwark Cathedral and the River Thames.
  • Just to the West, is the massive Bank station complex.
  • Just to the East, is the soon-to-be-redeveloped Fenchurch Street station.

In addition, the road is fringed on either side with alleys, side streets and the impressive Leadenhall Market, many of which are full of restaurants, cafes, pubs and retail outlets.

Conclusion

In the article, Brexit wasn’t mentioned once, but a large increase in employment wasn’t.

Has the City of London, just put several handfuls of fingers up to the selfish plans of others?

 

 

November 6, 2018 Posted by | Business, Finance, World | , , | Leave a comment

Where The City Of London Leads The Rest Will Follow!

The City of London is a unique Local Authotity, in that very few people live in its area.

C and I used to live in the Barbican with our three boys. It was a very different experience to living anywhere else I’ve lived.

It still functions today as housing and many have lived in the Estate for longer than forty years.

It was one of the first high-quality Local Authority housing schemes in London and it showed if you built quality it worked.

From what I’ve seen elsewhere, other Local Authorities and Housing Associations are building high quality homes for rent.

The City is now tacking another problem in a radical way.

This article on the BBC is entitled The Politics Of Pedestrianisation.

Read the article, of which this is an extract.

Next week, the local authority will take another step towards a bold, radical plan to change the streets in the Square Mile over the next 25 years.

Some streets could be closed to motor vehicles during rush hour and there could be zero emission zones.

There will also be a 15mph speed limit across the district.

The local authority wants to cut the number of vehicles by a quarter by 2030.

The City has consulted workers and residents.

The article says this about the survey.

It found 98% of people travel to the area by walking, cycling or public transport, while 84% think pavements are too crowded.

Four in five people think traffic levels in the City are too high, with 67% saying it contributes to poor air quality, while 59% said it creates an unpleasant street environment.

The authority said it listened to workers and businesses and has to deliver what they want to remain competitive – especially in a post-Brexit world.

It also said it must improve the area to appeal to business and wants to change the priority completely, giving more space to pedestrians and cyclists.

But black cab drivers don’t like it. Surprise! Surprise!

Steve McNamara of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) says pedestrianisation is being dreamt up by middle-class blokes who don’t realise how the milk for their caramel lattes is delivered.

“They are strangling the best city in the planet and they don’t realise people need to have goods and services delivered,” he said.

He thinks the march to pedestrianisation will kill The City.

But I do like it! Look at these pictures I took in the City at about two in the afternoon.

The banning of all vehicles except cyclists and buses has cleared the area around Bank, where it is now a pleasure to walk.

I was actually walking to and from Bank to Leadenhall Market, where I go sometimes for a pleasant lunch in Leon

A year ago, walking would have required a lot of traffic-dodging!

It looks to me, that in a few years time, the City of London will be a square mile of tower blocks and historic alleys and buildings.

  • It will be criss-crossed by cycle and pedestrians routes.
  • Two or three major routes, will survive for buses and taxis.
  • Around the City will be the ring of stations; Aldgate, Bank, Barbican, Blackfriars, Cannon Street, City Thameslink, Fenchurch Street, Liverpool Street, Monument, Moorgate, St. Pauls and Tower Hill.
  • The massive Bank and Moorgate/Liverpool Street stations in the heart of the action, will be two of the largest Metro stations in the World.

The City of London will become the Gold Standard for historic cities.

Other UK cities and parts of London like Oxford Street will surely follow.

I do find it strange that the other two big cities in the UK, where walking is pleasant in the centre are Glasgow and Liverpool. Like the City of London, they have underground railways and a river

 

 

November 1, 2018 Posted by | Travel, World | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Fast Food Restaurant With Gluten-Free Beer In An Iconic Location

Leadenhall Market is one of the City of London’s iconic locations.

Leon have an outlet and I was surprised to find that it sells Estrella Damm Daura, a very reasonable Spanish gluten-free beer.

I’ll experiment one day, to see how a beer goes with Lean’s excellent gluten-free chicken nuggets.

The restoration of the market was done in 1990 by students, as I posted in No Budget; Employ Students.

I actually walked through at eleven o’clock on a Sunday morning, and it was good to see the City more open at that time.

In a couple of years, the City will become one of the must-see places to go in London and the best time will be the weekend.

October 9, 2018 Posted by | Food, World | , , , | Leave a comment

New Bank Tube Station Entrance In Final Stages Ahead Of Opening

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on IanVisits.

Ian suggests that the new entrance under the Bloomberg Building, which will give better access to the Waterloo and City Line, will open in August 2018.

This picture shows the covered Underground roundel on the side of the Bloomberg Building.

Note the workers putting scaffolding on the truck behind.

Underground, these fire doors, which lead to the new escalators and lifts, look ready to be opened for passengers in the area between the travelator, the connecting tunnel and the Waterloo and City Line platforms.

IWill the area be tiled or just painted?

described the tunnel to the left with the blue entrance rail in The New Tunnel Under Bank Station.

This picture was taken from the tunnel on the left, looking at this area.

The tunnel takes passengers right into the heart of the station.

Other Developments

The new entrance at Bank station is the first of several major transport developments, that will happen in the next few years.

New Trains On The Northern City Line In Autumn 2018

The Northern City Line is London’s forgotten train line, with a history coloured by the tragic accident at Moorgate in 1975.

The first development, a year or so ago, saw the Northern City Line introduce seven days a week working.

Now, the Class 313 trains, which are some of the oldest in the UK, are being replaced with new Class 717 trains, that will offer increased capacity, frequency and passenger comfort.

The Northern City Line terminus at Moorgate station will also be linked directly to Crossrail, when that line opens.

For many travellers in the Northern part of London and Hertfordshire, their route to the City will be much improved.

The final frequency has not been published, but it looks like there will be at least twelve tph on the Northern City Line to and from Moorgate station.

With a step-free cross-platform interchange at Highbury & Islington station, effectively Moorgate station will become a second Southern terminus of the Victoria Line.

Crossrail Between Paddington And Abbey Wood Stations In December 2018

This will be the first phase to be delivered and Crossrail will initially provide a twelve trains per hour (tph) service between Paddington and Abbey Wood stations from December 2018.

This will mean that the double-ended Jumbo Crossrail station, which will serve Moorgate station at its Western end and Liverpool Street station at its Eastern end, will open a short walking distance to the North of Bank station.

For those not wanting to walk, the link will also be one stop on the Central or Northern Lines.

Crossrail Between Paddington And Abbey Wood Stations In May 2019

This will be the second phase to be delivered and Crossrail will initially be provided a twelve tph service between Paddington and Shenfield stations from May 2019.

Crossrail To Heathrow And Reading In December 2019

The full Crossrail service will open in December 2019 and will provide the following services from Moorgate-Liverpool Street.

  • Six tph to Heathrow
  • Two tph to Reading
  • Two tph to Maindenhead
  • Twelve tph to Abbey Wood
  • Twelve tph to Shenfield

In the Central section, there will be twenty-four tph between Padsdington and Whitechapel stations.

Bank Station Upgrade In 2022

Bank station is being upgraded and this is said in Wikipedia.

TfL is also retunnelling and widening the Northern line platforms, and adding lifts and new entrances on King William Street and Cannon Street. The work, agreed in 2015, will be carried out from 2016 to 2022 and will boost capacity by 40%, with 12 new escalators, 3 new lifts and a new travelator (or moving walkway) to connect the Northern Line and DLR to the Central Line.

It is a massive upgrade, as this visualisation shows.

Note that the two larger diameter tunnels at the left of this visualisation are the tunnels and platforms for the Central Line. The third tunnel is the pedestrian tunnel that links the Waterloo and City Line to the main station.

The capacity upgrade at Bank station, will surely mean more people will be drawn to the area.

Bank Junction Improvements

The City of London has a project called All Change At Bank, which aims to improve the roads and pedestrian routes at Bank Junction.

Their web site gives these objectives.

  • Reduce casualties by simplifying the junction
  • Reduce pedestrian crowding levels
  • Improve air quality
  • Improve the perception of place, as a place to spend time in rather than pass through.

At present Bank Junction is restricted to buses and cyclists on Monday to Friday, between 0700 and 1900.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this restriction increased, especially as more pedestrians are drawn to the City at weekends and in the evening.

The Future Of The City As A Leisure And Tourist Destination

When I lived in the City in the early seventies, nothing happened in the City in the evenings or at the weekends.

Over the years, the City has started to use these freer times for other activities.

  • The Barbican Arts Centre and Tate Modern have opened.
  • Quality shopping has greatly increased and improved.
  • Pubs, bars and restaurants have often increased their hours.
  • Better walking routs along and over the Thames have opened.

With its superb transport links, I can see the City of London becomes a much more important leisure and tourist destination.

Conclusion

The City of London is becoming a 24/7 area of London and the Waterloo and City Line must go with the flow.

It should run seven days a week, as do all other Underground lines.

Eventually, there will be a need for a Night Drain!

 

 

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

London Has A New Underground Line

On Friday, I went between Brighton and Cambridge stations on one of the first Thameslink services on the route.

I wrote about it in Observations On Thameslink Between Brighton And Cambridge.

That journey took me on London’s new Underground Line between London Bridge and Finsbury Park stations.

The following trains are going North from London Bridge to Finsbury Park.

  • 11:29 – Horsham to Peterborough – Arrives at Finsbury Park at 11:52
  • 12:49 – Brighton to Cambridge – Arrives at Finsbury Park at 13:13
  • 15:04 – Horsham to Peterborough – Arrives at Finsbury Park at 15:27
  • 15:34 – Brighton to Cambridge – Arrives at Finsbury Park at 15:57

And the following trains are going South from Finsbury Park to London Bridge.

  • 10:59 – Peterborough to Horsham – Arrives at London Bridge at 11:24
  • 12:09 -Cambridge to Brighton – Arrives at London Bridge at 12:37
  • 14:29 – Peterborough to Horsham – Arrives at London Bridge at 14:55
  • 15:11 – Cambridge to Brighton – Arrives at London Bridge at 15:37

All journeys take around 23-25 minutes, with stops at Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon and St. Pancras International stations.

It may officially be part of Thameslink, but it will function like a convewntional Underground Line, but with bigger trains.

The Underground Alternative

If you look at Transport for London’s Journey Planner, this give a time of twenty minutes for a journey between London Bridge and Finsbury Park, using the Northern and Victoria lines with a change at Euston.

That is also not a step-free or wheel-chair friendly route.

Obviously, at the moment, most passengers have no choice, as there is only four trains per day in each direction on the new Thameslink route.

But when a Full Service is running, with a train every ten minutes, things will be very different.

My Access To Thameslink

Timings to Thameslink stations from my house are as follows.

  • Finsbury Park – 15 mins by 141 Bus and Piccadilly Line
  • London Bridge – 25 mins by 21 or 141 Bus
  • London Bridge – 31 mins  using Transport for London’s Journey Planner’s recommended route via Dalston Junction and Canada Water.

The latter probably explains why Londoners are generally Grade 1 Duckers-And-Divers!

I suspect, when I go to Gatwick Airport, I’ll go via Finsbury Park, using the mini-cab from around the corner or a black cab, as both will be quicker.

I suspected right. Returning from Finsbury Park station to home this evening, took ten minutes and cost a tenner.

A Preview Service

Thameslink are only running a preview service between London Bridge and Finsbury Park at the current time.

On my Friday trip, it was particularly noticeable, that passengers were thin on the ground between the two stations.

  • But then passengers probably didn’t know about the service and may have been confused seeing a train going to Cambridge.
  • It’s also not shown on the Tube Map.
  • I didn’t notice any advertising for the new route.

So how do you use something that you don’t know about?

The Full Service

This route will have the following characteristics, when Thameslink open it fully.

The Route Will Serve The City of London Well

These factors will help this section of Thameslink serve the City of London.

  • Step-free stations at Farringdon, City Thameslink and London Bridge ring the South and West of the City of London.
  • Crossrail with an interchange with Thameslink at Farringdon also gives a quick route to the East of the City of London and Canary Wharf.
  • The City of London is also planning a lot of pedestrianisation.

Other developments like Crossrail and the expansion of Bank station and the Docklands Light Railway, will make London’s financial district, one of the best connected by public transport in the World.

The Route Will Have Tourist Attractions

The route could have been designed for tourists.

  • London Bridge station has London and Tower Bridges, Southwark Cathedral, Borough Market, HMS Belfast and the Shard.
  • But the most spectacular modern architecture at London Bridge, is the station itself, with its lifts, escalators, fifteen platforms and a shopping centre.
  • Blackfriars is a unique station, as it spans the Thames with entrances on both banks, and it is the world’s largest solar-powered bridge.
  • Blackfriars station is a short walk along the river from the Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge.
  • Many good walks along the river start from Blackfriars.
  • City Thameslink station dates from 1990 and it shows, but it is close to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Old Bailey, so it attracts visitors at both ends of the moral spectrum.
  • Farringdon station will be a major interchange, where Crossrail and Thameslink connect, so don’t let unsuitable organisations build all the hotels this area will attract.
  • Farringdon is close to two of London’s iconic markets; Smithfield meat market and the attached wife market.
  • Saint Pancras International station is a fur coat and no knickers station, as although it looks good, it’s practicality is suspect.
  • If they’d given the job to the architect, who updated Kings Cross station next door, they would have got a a more practical station.
  • Finsbury Park station is a place, where you go and explore the local area, which is vibrant and full of history.
  • You may even get as far as Alexandra Palace or Manor House, where I saw John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers with a very drunk Eric Clapton in the 1960s.

It is a line to explore London.

Six Trains Per Hour

There will be six trains per hour (tph), which will run All Day.

  • Two tph – Peterborough to Horsham – twelve-car
  • Two tph – Cambridge to Brighton – twelve-car
  • Two tph – Cambridge to Maidstone East – eight-car

This gives a six tph service between Finsbury Park and London Bridge and also a four tph service to East Croydon and Gatwick Airport.

Two Additional Trains Per Hour In The Peak

In the Peak, there will be two tph, that run from Welwyn Garden City to Sevenoaks.

But they will go via Elephant and Castle rather than London Bridge.

Thameslink must have their reasoning behind this service, but I have some questions.

  • Would commuters in the Peak prefer to go to London Bridge?
  • Would passengers from Sevenoaks and Welwyn Garden City like an All Day service?

These questions and others will be answered in the next few years, as hameslink develops.

Full Step-Free Access At London Bridge Station

London Bridge station has full step-free access for all the following services.

  • Thameslink
  • Services to and from Cannon Street station
  • Services to and from Waterloo East and Charing Cross stations.
  • Jubilee and Northern Lines of the Underground
  • Terminating services at London Bridge
  • Several bus routes, including my bus home!

Note.

  1. Passengers will use the escalators to get to the right destination.
  2. Thameslink passengers will use the island platform to reverse direction.
  3. It took me just two minutes to change from Platforms 2/3 to Platforms 8/9.
  4. Going from Platform 6/7 to the bus station was under three minutes and a 141 Bus was just getting ready to leave.
  5. Passengers can walk across London Bridge to the City of London.

There are few stations better than London Bridge anywhere in the world!

Full Step-Free Access at Finsbury Park Station

Finsbury Park station is being updated to have full step-free access for the following services.

  • Thameslink
  • Great Northern Services to Cambridge, Kings Lynn and Peterborough
  • Northern City Line services to and from Moorgate station
  • Piccadilly and Victoria Lines. of the Underground.

There will also be same-platform interchange between Thameslink and Northern City Line services.

The Improved Northern City Line At Finsbury Park Station

The Northern City Line will be substantially improved.

  • New Class 717 trains have been ordered.
  • This could mean an increased All Day service of perhaps 10-12 tph.
  • Moorgate station will be on Crossrail.
  • There will be a same-platform interchange with Thameslink at Finsbury Park station.
  • Hopefully, the terrible stations on the route will be improved.

This line will change from being a crowded, outdated backwater of the UK rail system to an important modern link to the City of London and Crossrail from large parts of North and North-East London.

The Link To Crossrail

The link between Thameslink and Crossrail at Farringdon station will probably be heavily used, if it is well-designed and fully-step free. Which I suspect it will be, until proven otherwise!

Don’t forget too, the link to the Metropolitan and Circle Lines at this key station, which is much better than the link at St. Pancras

Step-Free Access At All The Intermediate Stations Between London Bridge and Finsbury Park

Access at Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon and St. Pancras stations are all fully step-free.

The Fastest Way To Gatwick Airport And Brighton From North London

My friend lives in Walthamstow and always goes to Gatwick Airport by using the Victoria Line and Gatwick Express.

  • This takes twenty-three minutes for the Victoria Line and thirty minutes for the train.
  • The Thameslink route via Finsbury Park, takes nine minutes for the Victoria Line and an hour for the train.

Note.

  1. Both trains will run every fifteen minutes, when the full Thameslink service is running.
  2. The Thameslink timing is only the time of the Preview Service. Will the Full Service be faster?
  3. Finsbury Park and Victoria will both be fully step-free within a year or so.
  4. The trains on Gatwick Express will be more comfortable.
  5. The walk at Finsbury Park is shorter than at Victoria.
  6. The Thameslink route will be more affordable.

Everybody will have their own preference.

The biggest winners will be.

  • Those living on the Northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line, who will have a full step-free interchange to Thameslink at Finsbury Park
  • Those living on the Northern City Line, who will have a same-platform interchange to Thameslink at Finsbury Park.
  • Those who walk, cycle or take a bus or cab to Finsbury Park.

Gatwick Airport could be a big winner, as a whole area of North London and Hertfordshire now has a new excellent direct connection to the Airport.

What Still Needs To Be Done?

It is a well-thought out route, but some things still need to be done.

Is Six Tph Enough Trains Between London Bridge And Finsbury Park?

I ask this question, with my scheduling hat on!

At the moment of the 24 tph through the Snow Hill Tunnel, two-thirds of the trains go up the Midland Main Line, with just a third on the East Coast Main Line.

I think that, when Thameslink increase the frequency through the central core, that they will increase the frequency through Finsbury Park.

Could Two Tph From The Sutton Loop Go To Welwyn Garden City?

Curremtly, four tph start at St. Albans City station, go through London, then round the Sutton Loop, before returning to St. Albans City.

Would it be desirable to start two of these services from Welwyn Garden City station?

It will all depend on operational issues and the routes passengers take.

City Thameslink And St. Paul’s Stations Need A Connection

I believe this is possible and I wrote about it in A Pedestrian Connection Between City Thameslink Station And St. Paul’s Tube Station.

 

Should The Docklands Light Railway Be Extended To City Thameslink, Euston And St. Pancras?

I wrote about this extension in detail in A Connection Between City Thameslink Station And The Docklands Light Railway.

Could Thameslink Connect To The Waterloo And City Line?

I wrote about this connection in Could The Waterloo And City Line Have An Intermediate Station At Blackfriars?

Development of new trains for the Underground, will make this link possible.

 

Should Thameslink Be On The Tube Map

I wrote about this in Thameslink Should Be On The Tube Map.

All Of Thameslink Should Be In The Oystercard Area

Gatwick Airport is already in the Oystercard area, but it is silly that Oyster cards and contsctless cards can’t be used on all Thameslink services.

Conclusion

The possibilities for Thameslink and the effects it will have will be enormous.

 

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sheep In The City

I took this picture outside the South Place Hotel, just off Moorgate in the City of London.

I can’t remember ever seeing fleeces on outside seats.

But it was bitterly cold.

December 9, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

The Massive Bank Station Upgrade Is Running Behind Schedule And Over Budget

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in City AM.

This is the first two paragraphs.

The hefty upgrade work on Bank station is set to be completed later than planned, and over budget, according to new papers from Transport for London (TfL).

TfL said in its recent investment programme report that final costs for the revamp at Bank are set to be £642m, £19m higher than the £623m originally forecast. That covers a capacity boost and systems integration upgrade at the station.

Other facts can be gleaned from the article.

  • Overall works will now finish in 2022 instead of the original date of late 2021.
  • £322m has been spent so far.
  • Opening of the new entrance to the Waterloo and City Line has been put back from January to March next year because of problems of obtaining fire doors with the correct specifications.
  • Problems have been found with digging the 00 metres of new tunnels.;

At least though, the contractors seem to be keeping all the lines open, as they carry out this most complex of projects in the heart of the City of London.

Once the station is completed, it will be interesting to see how many billions of pounds worth of office space are built on top of the new Underground complex.

 

December 8, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bloomberg Building Revealed

The hoardings are now down on the Bloomberg Building.

I have read in today’s Sunday Times, that the free exhibition on the site of the Temple of Mithras and the antiquities found on the site will open on the 14th of November.

November 5, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Banksy At The Barbican

These pictures show Banksy’s new art at the Barbican.

As it’s in a tunnel, that is probably owned by the City of London Corporation, I doubt it will be removed or stolen.

Is Banksy going upmarket choosing underneath the Barbican?

September 18, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Between Bank And Cannon Street Station

The City of London is creating a new walking route between Bank and Cannon Street stations, along Walbrook.

It doesn’t reach to the Thames yet, as there is some 1980s development and the dual-carriageway of Upper Thames Street in the way, but I suspect it will, at some point in the future.

On the Western side of the walk is Walbrook Square being developed by Bloomberg, which underneath which are both the London Mithraeum and the new step-free entrance to the Waterloo and City Line and Bank station.

On the Eastern side is the historic church of |St. Stephen Walbrook, where I once met Chad Varah; the founder of The Samaritans, who for personal and wider reasons, I nominated at Man of the Noughties.

This Google Map shows the area.

walbrook

It looks like this walking and cycling route will come with a prestigious office development, an important Roman site and a transport interchange.

I have a feeling there’s a deep agenda in pedestrianising Walbrook in this way.

Commuters arriving in the City at Cannon Street station or the Waterloo and City Line will be able to come out of the stations onto the spacious thoroughfare of Walbrook , from where they could walk to their place of work. A pedestrianised Bank Junction would give a traffic free route for commuters to the East side of the junction.

Could we see other routes around Bank Junction also given over to pedestrians and cyclists? Roads like.

  • Cannon |Street
  • Cornhill
  • Dowgate Hill
  • King William Street
  • Lombard Street
  • Lothbury
  • Old Jewry
  • Prince’s Street
  • St. Swithin’s Lane

and a few others, must all be being considered for full or partial pedestrianisation.

In addition, there will be beloe-ground routes through Bank station.

January 19, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment