The Anonymous Widower

A Gluten-Free Lunch From Pret a Manger

This picture shows my lunch today.

The gluten-free open sandwich came from Pret a Manger and the bottle of Adnams came from Marks and Spencer, a few doors away.

  • The outlet opened today and a manager confirmed that they have done gluten-free for some months.
  • They also have a tablet-based menu checker.
  • It will be very useful for me, if it does well in Dalston.
  • The beer may not be gluten-free, but my body says it is for me.
  • It was a good delicious lunch for me!

It brought back memories for me of many lunches in the Bull at Burrough Green, where I would regularly have a similar lunch in pre-coeliac days.

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Food | , , , | 3 Comments

Pret A Manger Comes To Dalston On Friday

It appears that Pret a Manger’s new Dalston branch opens on Friday.

But search the Internet and not everybody is happy.

Pret is accused of the gentrification of Dalston.

December 3, 2019 Posted by | Food | , , | 3 Comments

House Prices And Stations

I clipped this from the Evening Standard.

Enough said!

I purposely chose my house to be within ten minutes walk from the two Dalston Overground stations, that would open a couple of years after I moved in.

  • It is also within walking distance of twelve major bus routes. All the routes can carry wheel-chairs, if I should ever need one!
  • Five routes have stops, within a hundred metres, serving Bank, British Museum, Euston, Harley Street, Kings Cross, London Bridge, Manor House, Moorgate, Piccadilly Circus, Shaftesbury Avenue, St. Pauls, University College Hospital and Victoria.
  • I’m only fifty metres from a major cycling route between the City and White Hart Lane.
  • I even have a garage, that opens onto the street! But no car!
  • My road is wide and there is usually plenty of parking space for visitors or on-line deliveries.
  • A taxi ride from Euston, Liverpool Street or Kings Cross is usually under fifteen pounds at all times.

It will get even better!

  • When Crossrail opens, I will have 10-12 buses per hour to the Moorgate/Liverpool Street station.
  • Dalston Junction station will get a frequency of twenty trains per hour to and from Canada Water, Shoreditch and Whitechapel, that fan out to a selection of places in South London like Crystal Palace, Clapham Junction, Peckham and Penge.
  • Dalston Kingsland station will get a frequency of twelve trains per hour to Stratford in the East and Camden, Clapham Junction, Hampstead and High Speed Two in the West.
  • I will probably get a series of electric car charging points in the parking spaces in the road, where I live.
  • I could put a personal electric car charging point in my garage.

I’m told the value of my house has risen well in the almost ten years, I’ve owned it.

Did somebody once say, that the location of a property, were the three most important things about it?


Make sure your next property has good access to public transport.

June 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Mojitos On Display By The Tills In Dalston Marks And Spencer

As this picture shows, the well-publicised Mojitos are handy in Dalston Marks and Spencer, which is perhaps thirty metres from the London Overground at Dalston Kingsland station.

They are the two light-blue cans on the left of the shelf.

I had just relieved the shop of two bottles of my favourite 0.5% Southwold Ale.

Incidentally, I have never drunk any alcoholic drink out of a can, without using a glass as an intermediary.

These days, I don’t even drink soft drinks directly out of a can.

If Transport for London allowed sponsorship of rail lines, perhaps the North London Line would be sponsored by Marks and Spencer, as they have stores very close to the following stations.

  • Richmond
  • West Hampstead
  • Hapmstead Heath
  • Dalston Kingsland
  • Hackney Central
  • Stratford

I think there will be more.

May 5, 2019 Posted by | Food, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

New Facility To Power Liverpool’s Buses With Hydrogen

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Air Quality News.

These are the first three paragraphs.

Arcola Energy will build a facility to develop hydrogen and fuel cell technology for buses near Liverpool.

The company has secured 15,000 sq. ft of newly-built premises in Knowsley which will house the company’s manufacturing, installation and maintenance facilities.

The manufacturing area of the new site will be used to produce and install hydrogen fuel systems into a fleet of double-decker buses for the Liverpool City Region, after the city region was awarded £6.4m for the project by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

Arcola Energy‘s Head Office is just round the corner from where I live, by the Arcola Theatre in Dalston.

April 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 11 Comments

Do I Hoard Too Much Beer?

I have been buying the Marks and Spencer 0.5% Southwold Pale Ale.

With my body, the beer seems to be gluten-free and also the alcohol level is low enough to not affect my INR.

But am I buying to much, as the most I drink in a day is two?

I am only guarding against future shortages!

This behaviour seems to run in the family.

My mother used to tell this tale.

At the start of the Second World War, she asked her Dalstonian mother, if she was prepared for the inevitable rationing.

Her mother replied, that she’s been caught out in the Great War, so this time she’d already got a hundredweight of jam in the cellar and she had another hundredweight of sugar ready to make some more!

I doubt, there was a jam shortage in the Millbank household during the Second World War!

Perhaps, my prudence over beer shortages comes from my Dalstonian grandmother?

May 12, 2018 Posted by | Food | , , | 1 Comment

Could Improved Public Transport Cut Crime?

London is going through a murder epidemic at the moment, mainly with knives and a couple of guns.

I’m not worried about it, as why would anybody bother a seventy-year-old man, who doesn’t have the best dress sense?

But I wasn’t always old and I can remember the 1950s and 1960s, where things weren’t as idyllic, as those who voted Brexit like to think.

A friend of mine was a policeman in the East End in those days and he has some interesting tales.

Return To Dalston

I moved to Dalston in 2010, after the deaths of my wife and our thirty-seven year-old son from cancer, and a serious stroke, which left me with damaged eyesight and unable to drive.

You might ask, why I moved from deepest Suffolk to a slightly run-down area of London? Free public transport was a big draw!

A hundred and thirty years ago, all my grandparents and lots of relatives lived in this area.

My paternal grandmother would shop in the Marks and Spencer and the Woollies at the Angel, as I still do, although the Woollies is now a Waitrose.

This part-Jewish, part-Huguenot, part-Devonian, very stubborn London mongrel has come home!

An Observation

When I moved here, if I walked down Kingsland High Street, at times, the pavements were crowded with youths with nothing better to do. I wasn’t actually threatened, but I would avoid the area.

Now, the street is probably more crowded, but everybody is going about their business or pleasure in a calm manner.

I can only speculate about why the atmosphere has changed, but there has been two major developments.

  • The Overground has arrived to replace the travelling urinals of the North London Line and provide new services to the City and South London.
  • Most of the bus routes now have new buses.

Local people even got excited, that Hackney and Dalston got the first of the New Routemasters on route 38.

Have those young people from Dalston, now found better things by using public transport, such as work or a pleasureable leisure activity?

Research needs to be done, but there’s nothing on the Internet.

The Rise Of Dalston

I truly believe that the rise of Dalston has been created by the better public transport.

Who would have wanted to live in the new flats or the old Victorian houses, if you couldn’t get to work?

We’re now in an upward spiral, as property is improved, businesses are created and restaurants and cafes open.

The Next Experiment

Several major rail projects are underway in North and North East London.

It will be very informative, to see whether crime is lower or higher in a couple of years.



Improving public transport is one of these measures, that benefits a wide range of people; the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed and families with children.

It may also encourage those, who might drift into gangs and crime, to do something more worthwhile.

Lots of other places in the UK are getting or need the same treatment as Dalston has received.

  • The West London Orbital Railway could invigorate North West London.
  • Kirkby to Skelmersdale, would connect the latter town to Liverpool.
  • Newcastle is planning to reopen the railways to Ashington and Blyth.
  • Birmingham is expanding passenger railways on reopened and freight lines.

The future could be fascinating.

April 5, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Reflections At Seventy

I completed by seventh decade this morning at about three, if I remember what my mother told me about the time of my birth correctly.

Dreams Of A Shared Retirement With Celia

Perhaps twelve years ago, my wife;Celia and I made a decision and that was to sell everything in Suffolk, after she retired from the law in perhaps 2015 or so and retire to a much smaller house in somewhere like Hampstead in London.

I remember too, that we discussed retirement in detail on my sixtieth birthday holiday in Majorca.

But of course, things didn’t work out as planned.

Two Deaths And A Stroke

Celia died of a squamous cell carcinoma of the heart on December 11th, 2007.

Then three years later, our youngest son died of pancreatic cancer.

Whether, these two deaths had anything to do with my stroke, I shall never know!

Moving To Dalston

Why would anybody in their right mind move to Dalston in 2010?

It is my spiritual home, with my maternal grandmother being born opposite Dalston Junction station,my father being being born just up the road at the Angel and grandfathers and their ancestors clustered together in Clerkenwell and Shoreditch. My Dalstonian grandmother was from a posh Devonian family called Upcott and I suspect she bequeathed me some of my stubbornness. My other grandmother was a Spencer from Peterborough and she could be difficult too! But that could be because she was widowed at forty-nine!

Celia and I had tried to move to De Beauvoir Town in the 1970s, but couldn’t get a mortgage for a house that cost £7,500, which would now be worth around two million.

So when I gave up driving because the stroke had damaged my eyesight, Dalston and De Beauvoir Town were towards the top of places, where I would move.

I would be following a plan of which Celia would have approved and possibly we would have done, had she lived.

But the clincher was the London Overground, as Dalston was to become the junction between the North London and East London Lines. Surely, if I could find a suitable property in the area, it wouldn’t lose value.

But I didn’t forsee the rise of Dalston!

Taking Control Of My Recovery

I do feel that if I’d been allowed to do what I wanted by my GP, which was to go on Warfarin and test my own INR, I’d have got away with just the first very small stroke I had in about 2009.

In about 2011, one of the world’s top cardiologists told me, that if I got the Warfarin right, I wouldn’t have another stroke.

As a Control Engineer, with all the survival instincts of my genes that have been honed in London, Liverpool and Suffolk, I have now progressed to the drug regime, I wanted after that first small stroke.

I still seem to be keeping the Devil at bay.


I’m ready to fight the next ten years.


August 16, 2017 Posted by | Health, Transport, World | , , | 2 Comments

Crossrail 2’s Roadshow At Dalston

Today was a Roadshow Day for Crossrail 2 at Dalston.

You do get a chance for a chat, but most of the information presented is on their web site.

November 13, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Improving The East London Line

I make no apologies for returning to this subject, but I use the East London Line of the Overground virtually every day and it is very much part of my daily life.

What also prompted me to think about this topic, was coming back from Birmingham into Marylebone and thinking how I would get home in the aftermath of a Friday rush-hour. At the time I was passing Dollis Hill station, where the Chiltern Line runs alongside the Jubilee And Metropolitan Lines.

Dollis Hill Station From A Marylebone-Bound Train

Dollis Hill Station From A Marylebone-Bound Train

It reminded me of the plan to create a proper Interchange between all of lines at West Hampstead. But I can’t expect all trains into Marylebone to stop there, so that I can get easily to Dalston on the North London Line.

So in the end, when I got to Marylebone, I took one stop to Baker Street to get the Metropolitan line to Whitechapel for the East London Line. But usually the Metropolitan was a disaster with no trains and no information, so in the end I took the Jubilee Line to London Bridge from where I got a bus home.

To put it mildly, I’d hit the usual problem. – Getting to and from the Bakerloo Line from East London. It just doesn’t interchange with anything useful within a couple of stops from say Whitechapel or Dalston Junction.

There are two major developments that will happen in the next few years to the East London Line. As the Eastern end of the North London Line from Highbury & Islington to Stratford is closely tied to the East London Line, related improvements to that line will also be covered.

1. Six-car trains 

As I indicated in this earlier post on improving the Overground, the East London Line could be easily upgraded to take twenty-four six-car trains in each direction. I said this in that post.

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.

But the East London Line already has five-car trains, so the improvement in capacity will be just a factor of 1.8.

The history of the Overground and their Class 378 trains has been one of continuously adding new carriages, ever since they were introduced. I feel that by the end of this decade plans will be in place for a sixth carriage on the East London Line.

There are documents from Network Rail and Transport for London, that also show that six-car trains and higher frequencies will be operating on the North London Line.

I don’t know the economics of building trains, but I suspect that Bombardier would like all new trains to be Aventras, so that they only have one type in production. After all the next order from London Overground is for Aventras for the Lea Valley Lines.

So we might see an early order for sixth carriages or London Overground may go for a fleet that was 100% Aventras. The latter wouldn’t be a waste of a fleet of Class 378 trains, as Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds and Liverpool, would probably like to acquire a fleet of trains less than a decade old.

2. Crossrail

Crossrail will also interface to the East London Line at Whitechapel station and who can predict accurately how much the new line will increase passengers on the East London Line? I suspect that Transport for London’s forecasts will be wrong, just because you are dealing with East Londoners, who have all the flexibility and cunning in their transport plans of little furry animals, who want to enter your property. I think this is due to the legacy of East London having pretty terrible Underground and rail lines  until the last few years.

All of these extra passengers travelling on the East London Line will generate a series of actions that will need to be taken, which fall vaguely into two groups.

1. Extra Terminal Platforms At Both The North And South Ends

For operational reasons, it is probably better to have the same number of North and South terminal platforms at both end of the line.

At present the East London Line operates four separate services with one train every fifteen minutes in both directions.

  • Dalston Junction to West Croydon
  • Dalston Junction to New Cross
  • Highbury & Islington to Crystal Palace
  • Highbury & Islington to Clapham Junction

Which gives the current sixteen trains per hour, so if they keep to the current balancing rule and a four trains per hour, they’ll need two extra terminal platforms in both North and South.

I think it is probably right to assume that the terminus shouldn’t be too far away from Whitechapel. Currently, West Croydon and Clapham Junction take about 40 minutes, so much longer than this is probably not possible.

I suspect that the planners of Transport for London have some surprising ideas, when they have a few drinks on a Friday night.

2. New Stations And Interchanges

The Overground and the East London Line in particular always seems to have someone pushing for a new station or better interchange with other lines.

Current interfaces beween Overground and Underground lines are as follows.

Bakerloo Line – Harrow & Wealdstone, Queen’s Park, Wembley Central and Willesden Junction

Central Line – Shepherds Bush and Stratford

District Line – Gunnersbury, Kew, Richmond, West Brompton and Whitechapel

Hammersmith And City – Whitechapel

Jubilee Line – Canada Water, Stratford And West Hampstead


Northern Line – Camden Road-Camden Town

Piccadilly Line – None

Victoria Line – Highbury & Islington

I think, that there is scope for a lot more connections.

So what has been suggested and what would I like to see?

In alphabetical order we have.

Bakerloo Line Extension

The route of the Bakerloo Line Extension has not been decided yet, although TfL have received overwhelming support for the extension.

The three options for the extension all interchange with the East London Line.

Option 1 via Burgess Park, east to Peckham Rye and Catford Bridge,with the option of taking over the Hayes Line to terminate at Hayes, interchanges at Peckham Rye and Honor Oak Park.

Option 2 south to Camberwell Green, and then on to Herne Hill and Streatham Hill, with a branch at Tulse Hill which would take over the National Rail line to Beckenham Junction, interchanges at Crystal Palace and Norwood Junction

Option 3 a similar route to option 1, but after Burgess Park running via the Old Kent Road and New Cross before joining the Hayes line at Lewisham and terminating at Hayes, interchanges at New Cross.

So whatever option is chosen will effectively create a circular route round Central London with this route.

  • Highbury & Islington
  • Whitechapel
  • Surrey Quays
  • Crystal Palace, Honor Oak Park, Lewisham, New Cross, Norwood Junction or Peckham Rye
  • Elephant & Castle
  • Waterloo
  • Charing Cross
  • Piccadilly Circus
  • Oxford Circus
  • Baker Street
  • Marylebone
  • Paddington
  • Queen’s Park
  • Willesden Junction
  • Harrow & Wealdstone

The line could follow its old route and end up in Watford.

It would appear that this route is more useful than the current truncated one to Elephant & Castle.

Hopefully, it would go some way to making it easier to get from East London to Marylebone and other awkward to access places in North West London.

Beckenham Junction As A New Southern Terminal

Beckenham Junction station has a lot going for it as a southern terminal. It has rail and tram services and it even has a bay platform, which is clearly shown in this Google Map.

Beckenham Junction Station

Beckenham Junction Station

As Beckenham Junction is probably less than forty minutes from Whitechapel, it may be a possibility, provided passenger statistics show it can generate enough revenue.

If as seems a possibility, the Hayes Line gets to become part of the Bakerloo Line, how will this effect Beckenham Junction.

It’s all very complicated as to how the Bakerloo Line Extension will fit in with the East London Line.

Brixton High Level Station

In their Transport Infrastructure Plan for 2050, Transport for London are proposing a Brixton  High Level station.

The connection of a Brixton High Level station to the existing Brixton station and the Victoria Line will be difficult. Before the Overground opened to Brixton, I visited and wrote Could the London Overground Call at Brixton? This is a picture from that article from May 2012.

The Overground Flies Over Brixton Station

The Overground Flies Over Brixton Station

Either a high climb or a big set of lifts or escalators.

I said this in the article.

I tend to think that the only solution would be to spend millions to create a proper interchange station, that connects all of the three lines; Victoria, East London and main line together.  But in the present financial climate that is impossible.

Perhaps with the current upgrading of the Victoria Line to allow 36 trains per hour on the full line and London’s growing population, the economic rules have changed Or a big property developer needs to get a Planning Application through?

I wonder if when they are upgrade the Victoria Line at Brixton, they will also extend the southern end of the line to Herne Hill, as is described here in Wikipedia.This is said.

For many years there have been proposals to extend the line one stop southwards from Brixton to Herne Hill. Herne Hill station would be on a large reversing loop with one platform. This would remove a critical capacity restriction by eliminating the need for trains to reverse at Brixton.[48] The Mayor of London’s 2020 Vision, published in 2013, proposed extending the Victoria line “out beyond Brixton” by 2030.

There’s an interesting article from London Reconnections, which describes the problems at Herne Hill.

If they got their contracts and project management right, they might even be able to use one of the tunnel boring machines bought for the Northern Line Extension.

Brockley High Level Station

In their Transport Infrastructure Plan for 2050, Transport for London are proposing a Brockley High Level station.

Brockley station sits underneath and is crossed by the Bexleyheath Line as this Google Map shows.

Brockley Station

Brockley Station

There was a station called Brockley Lane on the Bexleyheath Line, but it closed in 1917.

After the complicated nature of the problem at Hackney, I wouldn’t think creating a Brockley High Level station would be that difficult.

TfL would just have to make sure it was worth doing.

Camden Road Station Connection To The Northern Line

In their Transport Infrastructure Plan for 2050, Transport for London are proposing a link between Camden Road and Camden Town stations.

Having walked between the two stations several times, I wouldn’t have thought they were close enough. However this railway map of the two stations, shows that they are closer than they appear on the surface and it might be possible to create perhaps an escalator connection. This Google Map shows the area.

Camden Town And Camden Road Stations

Camden Town And Camden Road Stations

Camden Town station is going to be rebuilt to relieve the chronic overcrowding. It is a project that will take several years and I suspect Transport for London will want to get as many other issues, like the interchange to the North London Line out of the way for ever.


Chingford As A New Northern Terminal

Chingford station is a possible new northern terminal if the Dalston Eastern Curve is reinstated. Trains would go via the High Meads Loop at Stratford, the new Lea Bridge station and the Hall Farm Curve. This would mean that a new station could be created within easy walking distance of Stratford International station, which would also serve the Northern part of the Olympic Park. This Google Map shows how the High Meads Loop curves between Stratford International station and the Olympic Park.

Olympic Park And Stratford International Station

Olympic Park And Stratford International Station

An East London Line station at Stratford International would certainly ease problems getting to events at the Velopark.

Lea Bridge station could also connect to services up the Lea Valley, Bishops Stortford, Cambridge and Stansted Airport.

Chingford is a well-appointed station, linked to a bus station, that could probably be reached in forty minutes from Whitechapel.

Using Chingford as a terminal would also directly link much of the boroughs of Waltham Forest and Hackney on a single line and then link the stations directly to South London.

But Chingford has big advantages in that it is already run by London Overground and it has three platforms and some sidings to park trains. This Google Map shows the station.

Chingford Station

Chingford Station

Note the bus station to the North-East of the station and the extensive sidings on the approach to the station.

Using Chingford as a new northern terminal, would also intertwine the two sections of the Overground together, with direct same platform interchange at Hackney Central, Homerton, Hackney Wick and all stations after St. James Street on the Chingford branch.

Dalston Eastern Curve

In my view the Dalston Eastern Curve could be important, as it would enable direct services between the Eastern terminal of the North London Line at Stratford and any of the South London destinations.

Also, if the Hall Farm Curve were to be rebuilt to give the Chingford Branch a direct connection to Stratford, services could run between Chingford and Walthamstow Central, and South London, by using the High Meads Loop.

There will be opposition to rebuilding the curve, but the number of passengers, will decide the issue.

I have a feeling that because the Kingsland Shopping Centre is going to be upgraded and the owners of that have rights over the land, that we might see a decision one way or the other on this fairly soon. Although on the contrary, this article in the Hackney Citizen seems to be all about various delays and problems, with redevelopment of the Shopping Centre.

I would also think that a lot of the arguments in the Hackney Citizen article about development and car parking, are getting to be more and more irrelevant, as Eastfield is probably taking a lot of the business of the Dalston Kingsland Shopping Centre. In my mind, the sort of people moving into the flats being developed around Dalston Kingsland are probably not the sort of people, who would shop in the Centre. Unless of course, it was substantially upgraded! Could this be, why the proposed development incorporates quite a few residential properties?

The other thing that could kickstart work in this area, would be a decision to proceed with either Dalston Kingsland station or Crossrail 2.

An interesting point, is that if Transport for London believed that rebuilding the Dalston Eastern Curve is essential to handle the traffic on the East London Line, they would probably get their way and the Shopping Centre would have to be redeveloped.

I think there is a lot of horse trading going on in dark corners of various offices of Hackney Council, Transport for London, the developers; Criterion Capital and hopefully a decent architect.

Whatever happens, when and if Crossrail 2 is given the go aged, Criterion Capital won’t be taking a loss.

What the outcome will be, is anybody’s guess!

I know nothing that hasn’t been published on the Internet, but I have this feeling that the Dalston Eastern Curve will be reinstated. Or at least it won’t be compromised! No Project Manager worth his salt would do the latter!

Dalston Station For Crossrail 2

In this article called Crossrail 2 Through East London, I said this when I was discussing the Dalston stations.

I have heard from Michele Dix of Crossrail 2, that they are looking at a double-ended station to serve both Dalston Kingsland and Junction stations. This was said.

We have been working closely with the London borough of Hackney on the early development of the proposals for how Crossrail 2 could ultimately serve Dalston. The work to date has been based around delivering a double-ended station, with one end being at Dalston Junction, and the other at Dalston Kingsland, thereby allowing the Crossrail 2 station to link to both existing stations. As Mr. Miller rightly points out, the distance between the existing stations is well suited to the 250m long platforms that will be required for the Crossrail 2 station, and the greater interchange opportunities to London Overground services also deliver significant benefits.

I believe that there is an opportunity to create a world class station that subtly brings together all the good elements of the area. The only necessary demolition would be the unloved Dalston Kingsland station. TfL have told me off the record, that Kingsland station will be replaced fairly soon.

Hayes As A New Southern Terminal

The Hayes Line and its terminal at Hayes, would seem to be a line that Network Rail doesn’t want, but TfL do, if you read this section in Wikipedia. Here’s a short extract.

The driving force for this change is that Network Rail would like the train paths freed up for services mainly from the South Eastern Main Line. Transport for London prefer this route due to its largely self-contained after Lewisham.

You also have the passenger reaction to being told they are going on smaller Underground trains to a different part of Central London.

Hayes though is just over forty minutes from Whitechapel and there are two terminal platforms at the station, so it could be used as a southern terminal.

But on balance, I think it is unlikely that Hayes will be chosen as a southern terminal.

Herne Hill Congestion

Herne Hill station may well be Grade II Listed, but read the Future section in its Wikipedia entry.

It has problems, as it would appear a gallon is being squeezed into a gill pot! If you read this article in London Reconnections, you’ll see that it is not just a serious problem, but an almost impossible one. Take this paragraph, which is one of many in a similar vein.

There are also specific local issues arising from land ownership and planning. Aside from being in a Conservation Area, where buildings and trees are protected, the Dulwich Estate retains significant planning powers and is probably the freeholder of the rail lines alongside the estate. Network Rail will be cognisant of the potential level of opposition from local residents in this affluent part of south London, as well as the likely difficulties in negotiating with the Estate, including any legal wrangling which may necessitate revisiting the 1870 Act of Parliament curtailing the Estate’s powers. This probably explains why the default position is to keep this project firmly in the pending tray ― something needs to be done, but not right now.

The report was written in 2012, so let’s hope that some of the problems have gone away.

I’ve never scheduled trains, but I’ve scheduled things that are just as difficult and the solution to the congestion at Herne Hill station needs either more capacity or less passengers wanting to use the line. Taking this direct from Wikipedia illustrates the problem.

Network Rail, in its July 2011 London & South East route utilisation strategy, recommended that all services from Herne Hill towards Blackfriars should terminate in the bay platforms at Blackfriars after London Bridge’s redevelopment is completed in 2018 and the diverted Thameslink trains return there. Passengers from Herne Hill would then have had to change at Blackfriars to travel further north. Network Rail made this recommendation because more services will be using the route between St Pancras and London Bridge from 2018; sending trains from Herne Hill to the terminating platforms on the western side of Blackfriars (instead of the through tracks on the eastern side of the station) would have removed the need for them to cross in front of trains to/from Denmark Hill and trains to/from London Bridge at junctions south of Blackfriars.

In January 2013, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that trains serving the Sutton Loop Line (also known as the Wimbledon Loop) will continue to travel across London after 2018. The number of trains calling at Herne Hill on the route will remain unchanged, with four trains per hour. The DfT has also decided the Sutton/Wimbledon Loop will remain part of the Thameslink franchise until at least late 2020; as such, the route will eventually be served by the new Thameslink trains.

Network Rail have a solution and then the politicians kill it.

So is there anything that the Overground and the East London Lines in particular can do to help?

Probably not!

But longer trains on the Clapham Junction branch may persuade passengers to take a different route. On the other hand, commuters are very conservative.

Hopefully, three other developments will help.

1. The opening of Crossrail, which might mean that some commuters travel via Abbey Wood. Crossrail’s opening will also improve the East London Line’s access to Central London, with a single change at Whitechapel.

2. If Crossrail were to be extended to Ebbsfleet International, as has been safeguarded, then this could help.

3. The completion of Thameslink with the new Class 700 trains, may increase capacity and persuade passengers to go via a reopened London Bridge station, rather than Victoria.

But it very much looks like Transport for London is pedalling hard to stand still.


Highbury & Islington Needs Rebuilding

Highbury & Islington station has needed rebuilding ever since British Rail’s cheapskate design produced the inadequate Underground station, that came with the Victoria Line.

When the East and North London Lines get more and bigger services through Highbury & Islington, this can only result in more and more passengers using the inadequate escalators and tunnels to access the Victoria and Northern City Lines. The station won’t be able to cope, just as it can’t now when Arsenal play at home.

The first stage of the rebuilding has started, as contractors are replacing the ageing bridge that carries the road over the Overground lines. No firm plans have been published yet for the station, but it needs a large increase in both capacity and accessibility.

I have a feeling though, that this station has a lot of potential possibilities, that could be used to create a top-notch station. For instance, there is a second building and entrance on the other side of the road, which has been used for signalling equipment for the Victoria Line.

Lewisham As A New Southern Terminal

Lewisham station is a possible choice for an extra southern terminal, as it has lots of rail and bus connections. This a Google Map of the station.

Lewisham Station

Lewisham Station

It shows a possible problem, in that there appears to be no easy place for a terminal platform. As it’s also only four or five minutes away from the existing terminus at New Cross, I think that Lewisham can be discarded as a terminal.

Maiden Lane Station

Maiden Lane station is an aspiration for Camden Council to serve the Kings Cross Central developments.

I discussed Maiden Lane station in this article in January and came to the conclusion, that the station might only be built as part of one the large developments in the area.

Using the station as a way of getting to Kings Cross and St. Pancras stations is probably not a possibility due to the distances involved.

Meridian Water As A New Northern Terminal

Angel Road station which will be renamed to serve the Meridian Water development, would be the most unlikely choice for a new northern terminal if the Dalston Eastern Curve is reinstated. Trains would go via the High Meads Loop at Stratford, the new Lea Bridge station and could possibly interface with a future Crossrail 2 at Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park and Meridian Water itself.

New Entrances And Stations

Over the last few years, London has been going through a quiet ticketing revolution.

People are rarely using cash in a station to buy tickets and if rumours are right, the proportion of those using contactless bank cards for tickets is increasing rapidly. Over the last week or two, signs are up everywhere on the Underground, saying that ApplePay is now accepted.

I’ve not really seen an article anywhere discussing the effects of this cashless and booking office free ticketing.

I recently used the new entrance at Shepherds Bush station and it was just a gate line with a shelter over the top and a refuge for staff. Obviously, as that entrance has been built to serve the Westfield Shopping Centre,  There is also a similar entrance at Harold Wood station, serving the car park.

I think we’ll be seeing more of these short-cut entrance/exits at several stations. I proposed this for Highbury & Islington in this article in March 2013 and personally, I’d like one at Hackney Central on the Westbound platform, to give access to the buses on Graham Road.

The technology could also mean that complete stations could be built much more easily and quickly.

It will be interesting to see how architects use their imagination in the freer environment created by the new ticketing technology, to design exciting, practical and very passenger and staff friendly.

New Interchanges

The new ticketing technology may also open up opportunities to create new interchanges between lines.

Obviously, this will probably be more to do with interchanges between two surface railways, as anything where digging is involved will be very expensive and probably rules out most linking with the Underground.

With the recent building of the walkway between Hackney Downs and Hackney Central stations, Transport for London have shown that they won’t rule out connecting lines by any affordble and sensible method.

So are there any possibilities for new interchanges, made possible by the new technology linked to some imaginative thinking?

I think there are stations that could be improved in this way and they are in the text in their alphabetical position.

North Acton Station Connection To The Central Line

Development at North Acton station on the Central Line has for a long time talked about linking to the North London Line.

Just a few years ago, it would have needed a lot of expensive construction, but with the development of new ideas in ticketing, station architecture and the successful introduction of the walkway at Hackney, the cost will have been considerably reduced. This Google Map shows the area around North Acton station.

North Acton Station

North Acton Station

The North London Line is at the right of the image and at the top is the junction where the Dudding Hill Line branches off.

Whether it is now a station and interchange worth building is up to Transport for London, but modern techniques have opened up possibilities.

Old Oak Common As A New Northern Terminal

The yet to be developed, Old Oak Common station is a possible new northern terminal. As a completely new station, hopefully you’d get a perfect solution.

But I don’t think you’d want to have both Old Oak Common and Willesden Junction stations as terminals, but a lot of the reasoning, that applies to Willesden also applies to Old Oak Common.

There is not much point in predicting what will happen at Old Oak Common, but I suspect whatever is proposed will be worth waiting for.

Orpington As A New Southern Terminal

Orpington station is a possible choice for an extra southern terminal, as it has lots of rail and bus connections.

This a Google Map of the station.

Orpington Station

Orpington Station

Orpington would be reached by way of New Cross, Lewisham and Beckhenham Junction is around 35 minutes, so it is actually closer than West Croydon and only just five ,minutes longer than Crystal Palace. It also has several terminal platforms, that could easily accommodate the six-car trains.

An extension to Orpington would appear to connect a lot of places in South East London to Crossrail at Whitechapel and the Jubilee Line at Canada Water.



In their Transport Infrastructure Plan for 2050, Transport for London mention a new interchange at Penge. This is a Google Map showing both stations.

Penge West And East Stations

Penge East station has services between Victoria and Orpington and on Thameslink.

Penge West Station has services on the East London Line and the Brighton Main Line.

This small mention in the TfL report is the only thing I can find about an interchange at Penge.

But could it be a dastardly plot to overcome the Great Anomaly in South London’s suburban services, where many services to Kent and the South East tend to terminate at Victoria?

Look at this enlarged Google Map, where the line through Penge West cross over the line through Penge East.

A Place For Penge Station?

A Place For Penge Station?

Note the isolated line a short distance to the East of the main lines to London Bridge. This is the line that carries East London Line services to Crystal Palace

TfL must think there is a need for an interchange between East London Line and London Bridge services and those Victoria and Thameslink services.

Shoreditch High Street Station Connection To The Central Line

Shoreditch High Street station sits on top of the Central Line and Wikipedia in a section on plans for the station, says this about creating a connection between the two lines.

There have also been discussions of creating an interchange with the Central line between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green which runs almost underneath the station. However, this would not be able to happen until after the Crossrail 1 project is complete, due to extreme crowding on the Central line during peak times.

It would appear from this detailed map of the London Underground and around Liverpool Street in particular, that trains can be turned back at both Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green stations, so as there are depots at both ends of the Central Line, once Crossrail was providing a bypass, construction might be possible, if the link was actually needed.

The Shoreditch area has also been talked about for some more platforms for Liverpool Street station. I found this article in the Architect’s Journal.

I put forward my idea in this article called An Idea For A New Station At Shoreditch High Street.

My idea is probably total crap, but who’d have thought the rickety North London Line and the orphaned branch of the Metropolitan Line, through the Thames Tunnel would have morphed from forgotten, crumbling and dirty assets into one of the best urban railways in Europe?

One thing I said in the previous post, when talking about a new station to handle traffic for Liverpool Street was this.

I think if a station gets built alongside or under Shoreditch High Street station, it will be nothing like any ideas, that might get talked about in the media now. One of the Foster/Farrell/Rogers fraternity could probably do something extraordinary here.

I think we’ll see something spectacular at Shoreditch High Street, with the Overground and possibly the Central Line in the thick of it.

Stratford As A New Northern Terminal

Stratford station is a possible new northern terminal if the Dalston Eastern Curve is reinstated.

It is a well-appointed station, linked to Crossrail and long distance services, buses and the shops at Eastfield, that could probably be reached in thirty minutes from Whitechapel.

I think that a platform could be found to terminate services, but using Stratford offers nothing that isn’t also solved by the opening of Crossrail. Also it doesn’t solve one of the main problems of the Stratford stations, which is the difficulty of getting to Stratford International. On the other hand, using Chingford as a terminal gives the possibility of a connection to the high speed station.

Willesden Junction As A New Northern Terminal

Willesden Junction station is a possible new northern terminal.

When the original plans for the East London Line were published a few years ago, I’m sure Willesden Junction was mentioned as a possible terminal.

It is a well-appointed station, linked to the Bakerloo and Watford DC Lines, that could be reached from Whitechapel in under forty minutes.

It already has a bay platform, which lies between the two North and South platforms, that could be used as a terminal, as it has been recently lengthened and upgraded. There is also another disused bay platform that might be reinstated. This Google Map show the station.

Willesden Junction Station

If Willesden Junction is made a terminal, this has other advantages, especially if it gets the standard service of four trains per hour.

As now there are effectively three Northern branches going to Highbury & Islington instead of two, there will be a fifty percent increase in services between Highbury & Islington and Whitechapel and South London, with an extra destination served directly.

The four trains an hour  to Willesden Junction, would increase the service frequency on the section of the North London Line between Dalston and Willesden. Various pronouncements from Transport for London have said that the frequency of trains on the North London Line should be increased.

If the Dalston Eastern Curve were to be reopened and four trains per hour went to either Chingford, Meridian Water or Stratford, this would effectively put an extra four trains per hour between Stratford and Willesden Junction.







August 1, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments