The Anonymous Widower

From Balham To West Croydon

This series of pictures show the first part of a journey I took to get to Leatherhead station from Balham station.


This map from shows the route from Balham to Norwood Junction (Just off map!) via Streatham Hill, West Norwood, Gypsy Hill and Crystal Palace.

Balham To Norwood Junction

Balham To Norwood Junction

Note how the Brighton Main Line goes South from Balham via Streatham Common and Norbury.

There certainly seems to be a lot of space for more development of the railway and/or housing.


June 7, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

The New Roof At Crystal Palace Station

In August 2010, I wrote A Day At Crystal Palace, after a visit to Selhurst Park to see Ipswich play. I took this picture of Crystal Palace station.

East London Line Platforms at Crystal Palace

East London Line Platforms at Crystal Palace

Now compare it with these I took today.

As you can see, they’ve now fitted a roof.

I like it.

December 30, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Increased Frequencies On The East London Line

This article from the South London Press is entitled More Trains For The London Overground. The article says  Transport for London (TfL) wants to make two service improvements are on the East London Line.

  • From 2018, there will be an extra two trains per hour (tph) between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace.
  • From 2019, there will be four additional trains between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction, making the frequency 8 tph.

I found the source of the report on TfL’s web site. This is a handy summary from the Appendix.

LO Improvements

LO Improvements

It looks like the pattern of extra trains is as follows.

  • From 2018, there will be an extra two trains per hour (tph) between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace.
  • From 2019, there will be an extra 2 tph between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction, making the frequency 6 tph.

Currently both these services go to Highbury and Islington.

It’s interesting that these increased services are starting in 2018-2019! This times them to start just as Crossrail and Thameslink are opening, which probably means that TfL are expecting that a lot of Crossrail passengers will change to and from the East London Line at Whitechapel. As I will, no doubt!

Buried in TfL’s Transport Plan for 2050 says are possible plans on improving the service on the East London Line.

  • Better late night and overnight services on the Overground.
  • Automatic Train Operation on the core of the line from Dalston Junction to Surrey Quays to increase service frequency from 16 tph to possibly as high as 24 tph.
  • Six car trains on the Overground.

At the moment the East London Line has 16 four-car trains an hour in the core route, so 24 six-car trains will mean an increase of capacity of 2.25.

The announced service improvements will mean that 20 tph will be passing Whitechapel and Canada Water.

So will we see other services started to bring the line up to the 24 tph capacity?

This would give London three almost-new 24 tph lines crossing the city; Crossrail, Thameslink and the East London Line, in an H-shape.

TfL don’t sem to be planning it yet!

The increase in frequency from Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction station is very welcome to me, as I often take a train to Clapham Junction to go south to Brighton, Gatwick or other places.

Increasing the frequency to Clapham Junction may also be needed, as extra stations and other changes are added to this branch of the East London Line.

  • New Bermondsey station will be opened to take advantage of the six services per hour between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction.
  • Clapham Junction might be served by the Northern Line Extension some time in the early 2020s.
  • Clapham Junction may well be served with other services to take the pressure off Victoria and Waterloo. It always strikes me as a station, that since its latest improvements could handle more services.
  • Camberwell station, which has been promised for some time, could finally be under way, to connect the East London Line to Thameslink at Loughborough Junction station. A design based on the split-level principles of Smethwick Galton Bridge station may solve the connection problem.

The only difficulty of this frequency could be that there might need to be upgrades at Clapham Junction to turnback more trains.

Increasing the frequency to Crystal Palace station will be of less use to me, as I’ve rarely used that service.

If it linked to Tramlink, I  might use it more, but that extension to Tramlink was dropped by Boris and there seems to be no enthusiasm on anybody’s part to build it.

I do wonder if Transport for London have other plans for Crystal Palace in their mind.

Look at this Google Map showing Crystal Palace, Penge West and Penge East stations.

Crystal Palace And Penge

Crystal Palace And Penge

Crystal Palace is a fully modernised and accessible station with lifts, a cafe and lots of platforms, so it makes an ideal terminus for trains on the East London Line.

Penge West is not the best appointed of stations and I suspect if a much better alternative was provided nearby, no-one would miss the station.

Penge East is on the Victoria to Orpington Line and needs upgrading for step-free access. But it has the problem of a Listed footbridge, that should be burnt. I wrote about it in An Exploration At Penge.

Buried in TfL’s Plan for 2050, is the one-word; Penge, as a possible new station. The line through Penge East passes under both the Brighton Main Line and the branch to Crystal Palace, in an area of railway land.

After looking at Smethwick Galton Bridge station or as I called it,  Birmingham’s Four-Poster station, I do feel that a good architect could design a station, that solved the challenging problem of the difference in height and created a fully-accessible interchange. This station could have a lot going for it, as services passing through the station would include.

  • 4 tph between Victoria and Orpington on the Victoria to Orpington Line
  • 6 tph between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace and 4 tph between Dalston Junction and West Croydon on the East London Line.
  • A selection of the East London Line services would go to Highbury and Islington.
  • 2 tph between London Bridge and Caterham on the Brighton Main Line.
  • Services between Bedford/St. Albans/St. Pancras and Beckenham Junction on the Victoria to Orpington Line

It would increase connectivity greatly all over East London, both North and South of the river.

I suspect too, that the station would open up the brownfield land around the railway for property development.

I think there is a strong case to watch that area of Penge!

October 14, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 13 Comments

A Station That Needs Its Lifts

Crystal Palace station is an architectural gem, although it has no Listed status.

It has been restored sympathetically by Transport for London to comply with modern disability access routines, but the station does not seem to have lost the Victorian persona that would have been obvious, when it opened in the mid-1850s.

The pictures don’t do it justice.

But they do show the height that modern free-standing lifts can handle. Even if, as was happening today, the lifts are rather busy.

Certainly, Crystal Palace station is one that needs its lifts.

It makes you wonder how ladies in full Victorian dress with long wide skirts, tightly laced into corsets coped with the stairs.

It looks like the way the station has been restored would allow an appropriate film with a Victorian theme to be filmed without getting the modern lifts into shot.



August 3, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Lorenzo’s Ristorante in Crystal Palace

On Friday night, I went out with friends to this restaurant in South London.  They were very friendly, the owner checked everything and all in all it was a good meal.

So if you’re in that area, it’s worth trying out.  They have a web site at  I think they’re within walking distance of the train station at Crystal Palace, which is now on the London Overground.

November 6, 2010 Posted by | Food | , , , | 1 Comment

Thoughts on Transport to the Den

As I can’t drive, I rely heavily on three things, trains, buses and good old-fashioned walking.

On Tuesday night, I went to Canary Wharf for supper and for many places it is a good place to start an evening trip in London. The parking may be a bit expensive, but you can always get a couple of hours free, if you spend over £10 in  one of the shops there.  I used to buy something I needed like wine in Waitrose to get the token.  Incidentally, is there a more up-market supermarket anywhere in the UK, than this one?

The first step to your evening entertainment, after a meal in one of the many restaurants, is to take the Jubilee Line from Canary Wharf Station, that makes all other Metro stations in the world, look ordinary. I once took a C into the station on the escalator from the surface and asked her to close her eyes, once she was safely on the moving staircase.  I then told her to open her eyes a few metres down.  The look on her face summed it all up.

As I was going to the Den on Tuesday, I just took one station on the Jubilee Line to Canada Water.  From upstairs, I took a P12 bus, which stopped outside the ground.  what could have been simpler?

One of the problems at the Den, is that it is an area with very few pubs, restaurants and cafes.  My mate, Ian, chose to drive and he had quite a bit of difficulty parking and then finding anything to eat. I got the better deal by going to Canary Wharf.

There are plans to build a new station at Surrey Canal Road on the new East London Line extension to Clapham Junction.

This will make travelling to the Den easier, but it will probably do nothing for the quality of the hostelries in the area! I’m afraid at my age and with my medical conditions, greasy burgers, fish and chips and pints of gassy lager are not for me!

But it will give you more choices of getting to the ground, as  it will then be directly connected to many other areas with lots of easily accessible places to eat and drink.  For example, Ipswich fans coming in to Liverpool Street, might use the Spitalfields or Brick Lane areas, before going to the match from Shoreditch High Street.

Obviously Canary Wharf makes a good starting point for anything in the West End of London, but with just one simple interchange at Canada Water or Shadwell, it is also a good place to start for anything in South London, if you live north of the river. Crystal Palace, which used to be one of the more difficult grounds to reach is now a lot easier.  It’s just a pity that the interchange at Shadwell from the Docklands Light Railway to the East London Line isn’t better.

September 23, 2010 Posted by | Food, Sport, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Day at Crystal Palace

Yesterday, I went to see Ipswich play at Crystal Palace. I’m not a fan of South London and until the opening of the East London Line getting to Selhurst Park was never that easy. Here‘s what I said when Town lost last year. You will see that I wasn’t too impressed. 

So about midday I arrived at Highbury and Islington and took the North London Line to Dalston Kingsland before a short walk to the impressive new station on the East London Line at Dalston Junction

Dalston Junction Station

From May next year, this short walk will be avoided as a new stretch of track will connect the North and East London Lines. It will be a good thing, as the pavements are rather crowded and it involves a double-crossing of a busy main road. 

I took a Crystal Palace train at Dalston Junction, as I was going to visit the famous park at Chrystal Palace before the match.  But fans should normally take a West Croydon train to Norwood Junction for Selhurst Park, as it is closer to the stadium.

Travel on the East London Line and you’ll see what an asset to London, it will become. As we sped southwards, you get superb views pf the East of London and pass places such as the Geffrye Museum that for the serious tourist, who properly explores a city, are a must. As this museum is right on the station at Hoxton and it has a restaurant, it might actually become a popular pit stop on the line. After all with an Oystercard it’s just touch-out and touch-in, whenever you want.

The train started to get filled up at Shoreditch High Street, where there is a ten-minute walking interchange to the main London station at Liverpool Street.  Several Ipswich fans joined the train here and I’d got my posse for the expedition to the South.

The other fans had made the mistake of taking a train to Crystal Palace, rather than Norwood Junction. Interestingly, I checked Ipswich’s program for the last home game against Burnley and that gave clear instructions not to go to Crystal Palace.  But I had other motives.

Crystal Palace station is one of London’s hidden architectural gems.

East London Line Platforms at Crystal Palace

This the view that greets you as you arrive.  Many would say that most football fans are morons, but my travelling companions certainly appreciated what the saw.

The station is equally impressive outside.

Crystal Palace Station

You can’t see it in this view, but there is a glass roof that pays tribute to Joseph Paxton‘s design for the building that gave the area its name.

The Crystal Palace is no longer here now as it burned down in 1936.  It must have been some fire, as my mother told me, that they could see the flames from where they lived in North London.

A large park of the park now is taken up by the National Sports Centre, with its swimming pool, running track and training facilities.

Crystal Palace Athletics Track

Nowadays this is the only form of racing that takes place at Crystal Palace, but I can remember as a child watching motor racing from there on the television.

As to the Palace itself, all that is left is some ruined terraces and a few statues.

The Remains of the Crystal Palace

It is all very sad really ands very much echoes the feeling at that other Victorian Pleasure Palace; Alexandra Palace. But before I left, I did have a quick walk round the museum, so perhaps there is hope that this once great park, can regain its place as an important attraction with its views on a clear day all over the city.  Especially, now that it is so well connected to the rest of London by the new trains of the East London Line.

I evntually got to Selhurst Park by catching a 157 bus from outside the Park.  Due to the traffic chaos outside the ground, it was a comfortable, but slow journey delivering me with just a ten minute walk at the end.

I enjoyed the match especially as Ipswich won, but also because the away fans have now been moved to an area of the ground that gives a better view.

I returned by train from Norwood Junction to Shoreditch High Street, with the journey taking about a third of the time it took last year without the East London Line.

I must say that I enjoyed everything a lot better than last year.

August 22, 2010 Posted by | Sport | , , , | 5 Comments

Crystal Palace Goes into Administration

Crystal Palace have now gone into administration with debts of about thirty million pounds.  Several clubs, including Portsmouth, Notts County, Accrington Stanley and others, have been hovering around this for some months in these most tricky of financial times.  It is a big step for a football club, as they are immediately docked ten points and in most cases, such as Leeds and Southampton, it has meant relegation.

But just as Southampton have shown, there can be life after administration.

But there are differences between Southampton and Crystal Palace.  Southampton have a modern stadium, which I believe they own, and are in an area without too many other football clubs.  Crystal Palace are close to Charlton and it is easy to get to the other clubs over London.  Crucially, I don’t think they own their ground.  It’s a dump anyway and probably needs to be redeveloped.

So whereas someone looking to invest in a football club might well choose Southampton, they would be unlikely to choose Crystal Palace.

The future looks grim for Palace and especially with HMRC getting a lot tougher, I have a feeling that they would love to see to see a football club cease to exist.  As Dan Snow pointed out in his excellent television programme, Empire of the Seas, the shooting of Admiral Byng for cowardice, did wonders for the Royal Navy. As it says in Wikipedia.

Byng’s execution was satirised by Voltaire in his novel Candide. In Portsmouth, Candide witnesses the execution of an officer by firing squad; and is told that “in this country, it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others”

I suspect that if they fail to get the scalp of Crystal Palace, they will get another before the end of the season.

January 27, 2010 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Norwich 1 – Colchester 7

As an Ipswich Town supporter, I don’t wish Norwich City too much good fortune.  Who in Suffolk does?

But for Norwich to go lose by seven goals to one on the first day of the season shows there must be some problems at the club.  Unless of course they had seen that Ipswich were playing tomorrow and thought they were as well. So half their players didn’t turn up!

I just looked on the Internet and they beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in a warm up match. That wasn’t too bad or are Palace even worse!

Delia Smith seems to have created a wonderfully chaotic new pudding!

August 8, 2009 Posted by | Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment