The Anonymous Widower

Former Gasworks Turning Into Entertainment Venue

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

This is the first paragraph.

Four giant warehouses and an empty field — a former gasworks in Tottenham — is to become a new entertainment venue.

These are some points about the venue.

  • Four interlinked warehouses capable of holding 10,000 people.
  • Ten acres of outdoor space.
  • Close to the soon-to-be-opened Meridian Water station.
  • It will be know as the Drumsheds.

The first event will be the Field Day on June 7-8, 2019.

This Google Map shows the location of the site.

Note.

  1. The blue-roofed shed in the North-East corner of the map, will be the centrepiece.
  2. The site is bordered on the West by Pymmes Brook and on the East by the Lea Navigation Canal.
  3. The grass area South of the sheds must be the outdoor space.
  4. Meridian Water station is perhaps four-hundred metres to the West.
  5. There’s even an IKEA and a large Tesco, for those who don’t want to hump their tent and food from hundreds of miles away.

Could this be the first of a new style of entertainment venue?

In some ways, this venture brings me back to the vibrant music scene in the area, where I grew up, just a few miles to the North-West.

Artists from the sixties, that I saw in the area included.

  • Adam Faith
  • Animals
  • Chuck Berry
  • Joe Brown
  • John Mayall with a very drunk Eric Clapton
  • Nashville Teens
  • Rolling Stones

But no venue was bigger than the large Regal Edmonton cinema, which held perhaps a few hundred!

After the recent opening of the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, this is surely more good news for the area, which has had its troubles over the last few years.

 

April 17, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Could The Gospel Oak to Barking Line Transform East London?

Two reports on the web prompted me to write this post.

The first was an article on CityMetric entitled Forget Road Bridges. TfL Should Extend The Overground To Thamesmead And Abbey Wood, which prompted me to write No To Silvertown Tunnel.

The second report was on various web sites with headlines like Enfield Council Shortlists Developers For Meridian Water.

Enfield Council is planning to build substantial numbers of new  homes at a 85 ha site called Meridian Water near Lee Valley Regional Park over the next couple of dcades.

To help the development at Meridian Water, the station at Angel Road is to be improved and this page on the Meridian Water web site gives details. This extract details the development of the station and the related rail line and transport interchange.

The station will be a thriving new hub that combines rail and bus services to provide better access to Meridian Water for future residents and businesses. Meridian Water is a new £1.5 billion, 85 hectare, eco-development which will provide up to 5,000 new homes and up to 3,000 new jobs. The improvements, which will be completed in the next five years, will bring benefits for those that currently live and work in the area, as well as the new residents of the Meridian Water development. The project is being funded with £2.5 million from the Greater London Authority with a further £1 million from Enfield Council. This new station combined with additional investment in three tracking the railway, will bring forth a four trains per hour service at Angel Road Station.

All good stuff and very much about motherhood and apple pie in the manner of the way that the Metropolitan Railway used to sell Metroland.

But let’s not knock it for that, as London needs lots of new housing and the current station, Angel Road, which will be renamed Meridian Water, is one of the worst transport interchanges in the UK,. They’ve probably got better stations in many of the worst slums in The Third World.

Angel Road is just two platforms and a bridge as Before Crossrail 2 – Angel Road shows, whereas the average station in deepest Africa or South America, probably has at least someone, who’ll help you or sell you a tasty local morsel or a bottle of fizzy drink.

Whilst looking at developments in this area, it is worth looking at the wider area and investigate how transport links might develop. This Google Map shows the Lower Lea Valley from Angel Road and Meridian Water in the North to Lea Bridge Road in the South.

Lower Lea Valley

Lower Lea Valley

In addition to the housing developments at Meridian Water, more housing is being developed around Tottenham Hale station and other places in the area. But the development that will have the biggest impact on the area is not these developments but Thames Water and Waltham Forest’s massive plan to create the Walthamstow Wetlands. The project web site has this strap-line.

Transforming Walthamstow Reservoirs into a new urban wetland reserve for London

I have written about the Walthamstow Wetlands before in Before Crossrail 2 – Walthamstow Wetlands and now the project has its own web-site, I shall be following this exciting project a lot more. I believe the project has a lot going for it, but also it could be very important for Thames Water, who over the last few years haven’t exactly had the best of publicity at all times, what with our water bills and the Thames Tideway Scheme.

Because so much of London’s water is stored in the Lea Valley, it is very much in their interest to be good neighbours to the people and wildlife of the area.

The map also shows the rail links through the area.

1. The Lea Valley Lines

The Lea Valley Lines go northwards from Liverpool Street, Stratford and Hackney going up to Broxbourne, Hertford, Cambridge and Stansted Airport and as indicated earlier, extra tracks are being added and stations like Angel Road are being upgraded. A new station  at Lea Bridge is also being built.

2. The Victoria Line

The Victoria Line goes underneath the area and links Central London to Tottenham Hale and Walthamstow. The line was built on the cheap in the 1960s and I have dreamed of what might have been. This August the line is closed to rectify one of its shortcomings, which will increase the capacity of the line.

3. The Chingford Branch Line

The Chingford Branch line crosses the Lea Valley Lines and the Walthamstow Wetlands as it links Chingford to Hackney and Liverpool Street. It is a line that can’t be extended, but there are plans to link it to the Lea Valley Lines by reinstating the Hall Farm Curve to allow trains to run from Stratford and Lea Bridge to Walthamstow and Chingford.

4. The Gospel Oak to Barking Line

The Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBlin) is the forgotten and down-trodden Cinderella, who could gatecrash the party in the Lea Valley and be a star of East London’s transport system.

Over the next few years, the following will or may happen to the line.

  • Electrification
  • Extension to Barking Riverside
  • New four-car electric trains
  • Smaller numbers of day-time freight trains.
  • Increased passenger train frequency

The first three are hopefully cast in stone, as to cancel them now, would probably cost more than doing them. Especially, as the new trains have been ordered.

I am hopeful, that once the line is upgraded and electrified, this will enable freight operators to switch to electric traction, that could mean quieter services that might possibly run through at night.

As an aside, if I was standing for London Mayor, I would say I would put a limit of perhaps two non-electric trains a day on both the GOBlin and the North London Line. The freight operators would protest, but Class 66 locomotives have no business going through residential areas and crowded stations. Especially, when environmentally acceptable locomotives are available.

If the number of day-time freight trains could be reduced, this would allow more passenger services.

5. Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 will have a big impact, when and if it arrives, as it will serve Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park and Angel Road.

Before I finish this post, I have to ask, if we are doing enough with our transport network to serve large developments like Meridian Water, the Walthamstow Wetlands and Barking Riverside.

So what would I look at?

1. Crossrail 2

Politicians of all colours and tendencies are putting their faith in Crossrail 2.

But, I believe that the line, although surveys show it is much-needed, is a bit like the US Cavalry in a 1950s film, arriving in force after the poor settlers or ranchers have virtually been wiped out by the Indians.

We should prepare for Crossrail 2, so that all the engineering and architectural connections are there and all surface stations are upgraded over the next few years. This would mean that building Crossrail 2 would be just a matter of accurately threading the needles and then linking the tunnels to the existing stations.

Perhaps we should think of Crossrail 2 as a series of closely-related projects, rather than one huge mega-project.

The great advantage of this, is that political responsibility for a lot of the work like the upgrading of surface stations, can be shared with the relevant Local Authority.

This post started with Enfield Borough Council and the Meridian Waters project and wandered into rail infrastructure, because Angel Road station is an important part of that project.

I doubt I’ll ever live long enough to see the opening of Crossrail 2. But I live in hope!

2. Improving Connectivity On The Gospel Oak to Barking Line

The Gospel Oak to Barking Line hasn’t got the best connectivity to other lines and it is also blessed with some difficult out of station interchanges for even strong walkers.

Walthamstow is an example, where the walk between Queen’s Road and Central isn’t that long but it is tortuous. This Google Map shows the area.

Walthamstow Stations

Walthamstow Stations

The East-West line is the Chingford Branch, with St. James Street station in the West and Central in the East. Croosing this line is the GOBlin with its station at Queen’s Road.

Surely something better could be done in Walthamstow. Interchange for someone pushing themselves in a wheelchair would be very difficult.

There is also an out of station interchange between Wansted Park on the GOBlin and Forest Gate on the lines out of Liverpool Street, which in a few years time will be Crossrail. This map shows the area.

Wanstead Park And Forest Gate

Wanstead Park And Forest Gate

It is an area, where some selected development could be of value, especially as the GOBlin passes over the Liverpool Street Lines. I’ve walked this interchange a couple of times and the following would help.

  • Step-free access at both stations. Forest Gate is getting this with Crossrail.
  • A light-controlled crossing at Wansted Park station
  • A minor rerouting of the buses so that some passing through the area stop at both stations.

This would mean that someone pushing themselves in a wheelchair could use the interchange.

One station that needs to be improved is Blackhorse Road, which connects the GOBlin to directly to the Victoria Line. This Google Map shows the area.

Blackhorse Road Stations

Blackhorse Road Stations

 

Note that the station site is not particularly cramped and it would be a not-to-difficult walk to the Walthamstow Wetlands, especially if you could hop on a bus for a couple of stops.

There is also the possibility of an improved station at Harringay Green Lanes, where a large amount of property development is possible according to this document on the Harringey Council web site. I talked about the possibilities in The Piccadilly And Victoria Lines, Manor House Station And Harringay Green Lanes Station, where I believe a flagship station could be built across Green Lanes.

This section in the Wikipedia entry for the GOBlin, lists other ideas for extra connectivity for the line.

But I believe there are three other important interchanges that will or may happen and I describe them in the next three sections.

3. Seven Sisters Interchange With Gospel Oak to Barking Line

Transport for London’s Plan for 2050, has a section in an Appendix with the heading of News links and/or Stations for Strategic Interchange. In a list of places where this might be done are the words Seven Sisters (GOB). Seven Sisters station is currently a valid out of station interchange with South Tottenham station on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line. In Crossrail 2 At South Tottenham/Sevens Sisters, I speculated as to how the two stations could be linked by a large double-ended Crossrail 2 station. This Google Map shows the two stations.

South Tottenham And Seven Sisters

South Tottenham And Seven Sisters

There are also other possibilities here, like building a new station, housing or commercial development or allowing trains to link from the Northbound Lea Valley Lines through Seven Sisters to the Eastbound GOBlin. But whatever happens here, the GOBlin will eventually be linked to the Victoria Line and Crossrail 2.

Search the Internet and You’ll find little about this project, which is just two words buried in a TfL report.

4. Extending The GOBlin To Angel Road

This is speculation on my part, but the Meridian Water development will need more than just the one station at Angel Road. As the GOBlin goes across the southern part of the development site, is there an opportunity for an innovative connection through the development to Angel Road? This is a Google Map of the area from Angel Road in the North to Blackhorse Road in the East.

Blackhorse Road To Angel Road

Blackhorse Road To Angel Road

The connection might be difficult for a train, but use a Class 399 tram-train and it could twist and turn its way between Blackhorse Road and Angel Road stations amongst the reservoirs and the developments to serve both those developments and the Walthamstow Wetlands.

5. Extending The GOBlin To Thamesmead And Abbey Wood

In No To Silvertown Tunnel, I examined the possibilities of extending the GOBlin from Barking Riverside over or under the Thames to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood  station, where it would join up with Crossrail.

I felt that this would best be done using Class 299 tram-trains as they could go walk-about on both sides of the river giving much needed connectivity to the housing on both sides of the river. If it could be done, I felt that a bridge shared with pedestrians and cyclists would be the best way to join the two banks of the Thames.

6. The Hall Farm Curve, High Meads Loop and Dalston Eastern Curve

These three curves, if reinstated for passenger trains would create routes between the Chingford Branch and Lea Bridge, Stratford and any desirable station to the West. Reopening the Dalston Eastern Curve would give access to the East London Line for Crossrail at Whitechapel and South of the Thames.

As there could be spare capacity on the East London Line, which has been designed for twenty-four trains per hour, there could be a myriad of ways it can be used to increase the services under the Thames, so what Transport for London might do would be pure speculation on my part.

But I think they will eventually use these three curves to improve services in the Lea Valley.

7. Tram-Trains On The GOBlin

This may seem a bizarre idea, but having seen these hybrid vehicles all over Germany, I believe tram-trains are the way to add extra destinations to core electrified lines. On the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, in addition to being used to connect to Angel Road, as I showed previously, they could also be used with a tunnel or a bridge to extend the line from Barking Riverside under or over the river to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood.

People might worry that when running as trains, they may need different stations to the other trains, but the Germans seem to be able to design stations that accept both vehicles and I suspect the planned Rotherham extension of the Sheffield Supertram, will come up with solutions applicable to our standards. As to the required overhead lines, the Class 399 tram-trains can run using any of the voltages used for trams and trains in the UK.

There may be other places on the GOBlin and the other rail lines in East London, where tram-trains could be used effectively.

This will obviously be up to the planners, but I will be very surprised if tram-trains don’t infiltrate there way into many places all over the UK. At the moment transport planners, haven’t the experience of seeing a well-designed tram-train system working in the UK, but after what I believe will be a successful trial in Rotherham, I think we’ll see planners embracing the technology with open arms.

Conclusion

The GOBlin won’t be Cinderella any more!

 

 

 

August 14, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Searching For My Mother’s Birthplace

My mother described herself to me as a Ponders Plonker, as she had been born in Ponders End. I think at some time she may have told me she had been born at home.

So as census records show that in 1911, her parents lived at 32 Clarence Road, I took a train to Ponders End station and went for a walk.

As there were several brothers and sisters and the family had moved out from Stoke Newington, I thought the house would have been bigger.

But according to an elderly lady I met, it appeared the houses had been built around that time, so they were probably the first owners. As my grandfather was working as an engraver with I think his premises somewhere in the Barbican area of the City, transport from Ponders End station to Liverpool Street would have been easy.

Judging by the age of much of the property in the area, my grandparents would probably recognise most of the houses and other buildings.

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

How’s The Overground To Enfield Town Doing?

In Transport for London Do The Sensible Thing, I said this.

Various news items on the Overground like this story in the Enfield Independent, have been reporting that the Class 315 and Class 317 Trains on the Lea Valley Lines are not very reliable.  I’ve read somewhere that they are spending up to two million pounds to get them running better.

So I thought I had better go and check to see how the lines to Enfield were doing, by taking the train to Enfield Town from Hackney Downs and then walking to Enfield Chase to get a Class 313 train back home.

The pictures show the following.

1. An eight-car Class 315 train was working one of the last of the rush-hour services into Liverpool Street. So hopefully, London Overground have now got all services back up to their correct length.

2. Most trains I saw seemed to have a London Overground roundel on the side, even if they weren’t repainted.

3. I travelled out to Enfield Town in a very clean eight-car Class 317 train, that had been upgraded for the Stansted Express with tables, luggage racks and First Class. When was Enfield Town last served by a train so luxurious? In some ways it’s a waste, as surely there are other places, where as soon as the replacement Class 378 trains arrive, these old Stansted Expresses could be more gainfully employed.

Perhaps, they could serve Glasgow Airport? But then the Scots would complain, that they were getting London’s clapped-out second-hand trains. I noticed as I left that the train had had a full service in September last year. Old they may be, but they are far from scrapyard-ready! I suppose an old Mark 3-based train, is still a Mark 3-based train, with all the strength and ride quality that means.

4. In the meantime, this Class 317 train, is probably doing a good job in pacifying the natives of Enfield.

5. After my walk through Enfield Town centre, I got on a Class 313 train to get back to London. Now that is a clapped-out train and I wonder how many passengers for London from Enfield are thinking about changing their point of departure for London. If you commute and have a Freedom Pass, this is now unrestricted from Enfield Town, so this must have an effect on commuting pstterns.

6. I took the picture of the pantograph on the Class 313 train, as this is a special job, so that the trains can run in the restricted tunnels to Moorgate. It only needs to fold away very snuggly, as that section of line uses third rail for its electricity.

I will ask this question, about what I saw.

London Overground have put an option for 249 extra vehicles in the order for the Class 378 trains, as I reported in Have Transport for London Other Plans For The Overground?

So will some of these optional vehicles in the Class 378 order end up working the Great Northern lines into Moorgate and Kings Cross?

They have a lot going for them.

1. They are certified for working in tunnels, as on the East London Line, they run sixteen times each hour both ways through the Thames Tunnel.

2. There is a dual-voltage variant of the Class 378 train.

3. There would be the problem of designing a new pantograph well and certifying them for the Great Northern tunnel, but that is not as great a task as designing a whole new class of train.

It would probably be a special variant of the Class 378 train, but it hopefully, it would not be a difficult design to create.

We can do a little calculation on where the 249 extra vehicles might go.

Various documents show that by 2030, London Overground wants to be running six-car trains on the North and East London Lines. So if the existing fleet was all made six car, that would probably need 63 vehicles, as there are 57 trains on the system currently and another six are on order.

If we assume that Transport for London’s other target, the Dartford Lines, comes with some fairly new trains, this may or may not use up some of those options.

Taking the 63 off the 249 gives us 186 vehicles, which leaves 186, which can be 62 three-car trains or 46 four-car ones, with a few vehicles left over. Intriguingly, they could also be configured as 31 six-car trains.

So how many trains would be needed? At present the line is worked by 44 3-car trains. So if it was deemed that under London Overground, the service would be as now, there would be plenty of vehicles.

But as I pointed out, 186 vehicles gives us 31 six-car trains. Wikipedia states that the tunnels to Moorgate will accept trains of this length, so would it be a simple decision to make all the Great Northern trains six-car to turn the service into a higher-capacity, seven days a week, Metro service? As this would be a distinct variant, they might even be given a bit more performance to ease them along the East Coast Main Line to Hitchin. After all other members of the family to which a Class 378 belongs are 100 mph as opposed to 75 mph trains.

Running six-car walk-through trains into Morgate, rather than two three-car ones coupled together, gets rid of one of the restrictions of running in tunnels, which insists that passengers can walk through the train to get out in case of trouble.

So the more I look at this, the more I think, that Transport for London has an option on trains to work the Great Northern services.

As Transport for London have said, they might like to take over some of the inner Thameslink services, I suspect that the flies on the wall in meetings between Govia Thameslink Railway and Transport for London will have interesting tales to tell.

 

June 22, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cross Barnet And Enfield Express

I grew up in Cockfosters on the boundary between the two London Boroughs of Barnet and Enfield.

I was in walking distance of Oakwood tube station and I used to use it regularly to go to school in Southgate, my father’s printing works at Wood Green or on very occasional trips to London. We weren’t a poor family, but until the 1960s, my parents had to count every penny, so often if I went to Central London, then we’d go on the 29 bus.

But it seemed a lot of the time, if we went anywhere on public transport, we used the 107 bus to go East to Enfield or West to Barnet, Elstree and Queensbury, if my father didn’t drive the family.

These days the route numbers have changed but when I went to Enfield last Monday, I went to Oakwood and used a bus to Enfield Town station to see the new Overground line.

The bus was moderately full and quite a few people were collected between Oakwood and Enfield, many of whom were on shopping trips to the town centre and others like me were going to the station.

In the 1960s, I used a 107 bus to get to my vacation job at Enfield Rolling mills at Brimsdown and the bus was used by many commuting to work along the route.

Now there are several high-frequency rail lines to Central London, that serve the historic 107 bus route in Barnet and Enfield. From West to East they are.

1. Elstree & Borehamwood on Thameslink – This is just to the West of the London Borough of Barnet.

2. High Barnet on the Northern Line of the Underground

3. New Barnet on the Northern City Line

4. Oakwood on the Piccadilly Line of the Underground

5. Enfield Chase on the Hertford Loop Line

6. Enfield Town on the Enfield Town branch of the Lea Valley Lines

7. Southbury on the Southbury Loop of the Lea Valley Lines

8. Ponders End and Brimsdown on the Lea Valley Lines

These nine stations have very limited car parking and if you bear in mind that the population of the Boroughs of Barnet and Enfield are both over 300,000, there will be a large number of people going regularly to Central London by public transport.

The only way to deal with those who want to drive to the stations, is to build a Park and Ride site in the area, as I proposed in The M25 South Of Waltham Cross or perhaps at Hadley Wood station, which would be difficult and probably resisted heavily.

As the services are improved on all the rail and Underground lines to Central London, it would seem not too outrageous to expect that more and more people will be using buses and probably bicycles and walking to get to the stations, as cars will not be  very easy.

Since, I moved away in the 1960s, there are now more circular bus routes linking the stations, so buses will definitely serve more residents and give them more options.

One thing that has changed dramatically since the 1960s has been the ticketing system. Travellers are also flexible with their plans and are very likely to go to and from London using different routes, which modern countless ticketing doesn’t discourage one iota or impose any penalties.

I can see a time, when the historic 107 route gets upgraded to handle increased traffic. In some countries like probably The Netherlands, Sweden or Germany, some form of light rail or tram would probably be built connecting all of the stations, but I don’t think this will be acceptable or feasible for a couple of decades.

However, buses like new Routemasters running frequently could act as traffic magnets and actually reduce the numbers of car commuters and help to increase the traffic on the rail lines.

It is going to be very interesting to see how the transport network in Barnet and Enfield develops in the next few years.

June 6, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Paper First With The News

I have an Internet trawl looking for stories about the Overground and particularly its expansion by taking over the Lea Valley lines. It found this story from the Docklands and East London Advertiser this morning. Here’s the first two paragraphs.

Part of the Liverpool Street suburban rail network in east London is being incorporated into the London Overground.

The Chingford and Enfield lines through Bethnal Green and Hackney will appear on the Underground map for the first time from 2015, it has been revealed in Transport for London’s latest business plan.

So it would seem that something at last is moving on London’s newest train line. How long it will be before yesterday’s nightmare trip is easier, I do not know.

January 6, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

One Of The Most Significant Places In My Life

After leaving Enfield, I took a nostalgic ride on a 121 bus to Southgate to get the Piccadilly line back to Central London. I pased this anonymous block of modern flats at the top of Windmill Hill.

One Of The Most Significant Places In My Life

One Of The Most Significant Places In My Life

So why is it significant.  On the site there used to be a nursing home, which is where I was delivered by my parent’s GP; Dr. Egerton White.

February 13, 2013 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Marks And Spencer, Enfield

For many years Enfield didn’t have a Marks and Spencer.

Marks And Spencer, Enfield

Marks And Spencer, Enfield

They do now!  It was always said in the 1950s and 1960s, that the other shops wouldn’t allow them into the town centre. So we always went to the one in Wood Green, which in those days was one of its better and bigger stores. Although last time I went past it, it appeared to have seen better days.

February 13, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Pearsons Is Still There

When C and I were children, if our parents wanted anything for the home or perhaps some school uniform, we would take the 107 bus from Oakwood and East Barnet respectively and go to Enfield to shop at Pearsons, which was the local department store.

Pearsons Is Still There

Pearsons Is Still There

It still is, as the picture shows. Although, it is now part of a larger group.

All those days ago, Pearsons was a shop with a central Accounts Department.  So if you bought anything, the bill and your money was sent by a system of overhead wires and little trolleys by the assistant and then the change was returned. Later it was replaced by a pneumatic system, which was similar to the one, that Libertys were using into the 1970s.

There’s more in Wikipedia under cash carriers.

February 13, 2013 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

The Wheatsheaf, Enfield Chase

The Wheatsheaf, by Enfield Chase station, is another pub, where I used to drink with my mate, Pete, like the Warwick in New Barnet.

The Wheatsheaf, Enfield Chase

The Wheatsheaf, Enfield Chase

Both these pubs were on the 107 bus route from where we lived at Oakwood.

If I’d walked back up the hill in the 1960s, I would have seen the local printing firm of Bennett and Starling, who were one of my father’s competitors. The site is now a littleWaitrose and some housing.

February 13, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , , | 2 Comments