Some of the stations on the London Overground, are architectural gems.
The picture shows some the internal detail of the refurbished Grade II Listed Crystal Palace station. The cafe was created in an area of the station, that few realised existed.
There is also work going on at Peckham Rye station, where an enormous Victorian waiting room has been discovered. An architect called Benedict O’Looney seems to be on a mission to restore the station to its former glory.
Peckham Rye station could be step-free as early as 2019, so I suspect that the station could become more important in the grand scheme of things.
What would Del Boy have thought?
There is also Camden Road station, which is in pretty-good nick.
If Camden Road station has a problem, it is that the station possibly needs more passenger capacity and perhaps one of the closed platforms to be reopened.
I’d love to know what is behind those windows on the top floor.
Hackney Central station has a similar building to Camden Road station.
It looks like Hackney Central will get a modern station building to go with the step-free footbridge. But I suspect everything is on hold until the plan for Crossrail 2 is finally decided.
Yesterday, I was in Hackney Downs station and I was told that the bland station building abandoned by British Rail, might be worth restoring.
Who knows what lies behind the brick walls and lurks in the dark spaces under the tracks in the old station building?
Knowing the way, many of these railway stations were built, I wonder if London Overground could come up with an imaginative scheme to create a Victorian counterbalance to the more modern Hackney Central, in what will inevitably be Hackney Interchange.
The Hackney Downs/Central Link opened at 11:00 this morning.
I’d thought something was finally happening, as there was a group of suits with clipboards about when I had passed through earlier. So after my trip to Surrey, I popped back to get my supper at the Hackney Marks and Spencer. As the link was now open, I took these pictures.
I shall certainly use the walkway regularly, as I often come from Walthamstow or on one the other Lea Valley Lines and either need to go West on the North London Line or like today, get some food at Marks. The walkway will of course be dry in the rain and some might feel safer at night!
I suspect that London Overground might get some ticketing issues with this link.
Take a little old lady with a Freedom Pass, who lives near the current Hackney Downs entrance to what is now a large double-station complex, who perhaps wants to go to the shops on Mare Street in the rain. Being as she’s from Hackney, she would be streetwise and would therefore use her Freedom Pass to work the barrier at the Hackney Downs entrance and then climb up the stairs to Platform 1. She’d then walk down the platform and take the walkway to Central, where she would exit into Mare Street using her Freedom Pass. In other words, she would have done the long walk substantially out of the rain, at no cost to herself.
So what do Transport for London do with someone, who uses an Oyster or contactless card to do the same trip? Will they be charged?
An engineer on Crossrail, who has walked some of the enormous stations, said to me, that in the rain, some of Crossrail stations are so comprehensive, she would use them to keep out of the rain. So we could have the same problem here?
If Transport for London charges, are we discriminating against those who pay for their transport?
Surely, if you come out of the same station complex within the time it takes to walk from one end to the other, you shouldn’t be charged!
What do you get charged now, if you enter a station through the barriers and then you realise you perhaps didn’t pick up your paper or coffee before you did and you return through the barriers virtually immediately?
Remember that if there’s a walking short-cut, Londoners and especially East Enders will find it!
I took these pictures at Hackney Downs and Hackney Central stations today,
I don’t think it will be long before when I come back from Walthamstow, I can arrive at Downs station, walk through the link to go out on the street at Central station station to get a 38 bus home. The advantage of this route, as opposed to getting a 56 bus by Downs station, will be that I can do some food shopping if necessary in the Hackney Marks and Spencer.
I can’t help feeling that passengers will press for links between the other platforms and lifts to the platforms from the subway at Hackney Downs station.
The reopening of Lea Bridge station and the possible reopening of the Hall Farm Curve are both developments that could affect any future work at Downs and Central stations. This Google Map shows the layout of the two stations.
Hackney Downs/Central Link
Downs station is at the top and Central station is at the right.
You can actually see some sections of the new link in place, so the image must have been taken recently. The large oval object at the left (west) of the image is the ventilation and evacuation shaft for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, which is easily seen from trains on the North London Line. It is connected by a concrete roadway to Graham Road.
Note how it is possible to walk inside the railway land to Graham Road. I believe it would be possible to create a southern entrance for the two stations, by the two bridges, that would give access to the westbound platform at Central station and possibly perhaps using a lift to Platform 4 at Downs station. These pictures show the area of Graham Road, where the two bridges cross.
This is an enlarged Google Map of Graham Road, the two bridges and the two access roads.
An Enlarged Map
In order from the west, the features are.
- The Ventilation and Evacuation Shaft for the CTRL
- The Access Road to the CTRL shaft
- The two-track Curve that connects the Lea Valley Line to the North London Line.
- The four-track Lea Valley Line
- The Network Rail Access Road
The footbridge at Central station is shown at the far right.
As the pictures and the map show there is an embankment, so to get to a possible southern entrance, there might need to be some serious engineering.
On the other hand their is already a light-controlled crossing on Graham Road by the bridges.
The only problem of putting a second link on the southern side of the tracks, is that signalling cables and equipment may get in the way. This necessitated a big redesign of the link, that is now being created. This page on the contractor’s web site, which describes the current link, says this.
An earlier proposal had to be abandoned because it would interfere with Network Rail signalling equipment. The latest plan avoids this problem by building the interchange on the northern side of the track.
So this probably partly explains, why the new walkway is not a small structure.
I also heard in the evening that the link will open next week, possibly on Tuesday.
In the nearly five years, I’ve lived in Hackney, the development of the area around the two Hackney stations has been extensive and it is showing no sign of slowing down.
The London Borough of Hackney is now one of the more desireble boroughs in which to live.
It isn’t as easy to see the Hackney Downs end of the Hackney Downs/Central Link, which is shown from the Hackney Central end in this post. However, I was able to take these pictures.
Some of them were actually taken from a pretty dirty Abellio Greater Anglia Class 315 train. Hopefully, when these trains are taken over by London Overground, they’ll be a lot cleaner. To get an idea of how complicated the pedestrian link will be, look at this Google Earth image of the North Eastern angle between the North-South Lea Valley Lines through Hackney Downs station and the East West North London Line through Hackney Central station.
Hackney Downs And Central Stations
Note that in the South-Western corner of this map is the Graham Road Ventilation Shaft for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
To further investigate I walked from Hackney Downs station parallel to the railway, before turning under the newly-reconstructed rail bridge on Marcon Place (Click here for a construction video!) and then walking round Spurstowe Road. This enlarged image shows where I walked better.
For information, the platforms at Hackney Downs station are numbered 4, 3, 2 and 1 from West to East (left to right).
These are the pictures I took as I walked.
I don’t think massive is an appropriate word for this walkway high in the sky. It certainly couldn’t be described as flimsy!
These pictures sort out a lot of questions, but they still don’t show how you walk from the top of the stairs and lift into Hackney Downs station.
This plan that I clipped from this page on the Dalstonist web site, appears to show that there will be a gap made in the wall behind Platform 1 to access the walkway.
Hackney Link Plan
TfL obviously have the figures and know the details of the various passenger interchanges between the two stations, but I can’t help feeling that at least one direct interchange other than between Platform 1 at Downs and Platform 2 at Central may well be necessary.
I would assume that there are plans for adding lifts between the platforms and the subway at Hackney Downs, but that will still mean a step-free walk from Platform 2, 3 or 4 at Hackney Downs to Platform 1 at Hackney Central will be four lift journeys.
If I look at my own use of the walkway, it will be in probably in changing between a train going East to one going North or the reverse. Both could need three lift journeys, although I generally can easily manage the foot bridge at Hackney Central.
However, mine and the usage of many others of the interchange would be improved or minimised, if Transport for London develop the Lea Valley Lines and other transport links in East London as many expect they will.
1. Higher frequencies from Hackney Downs to Chingford, Cheshunt and Enfield Town, which are currently four, two and two trains per hour respectively.
2. More trains between Stratford and Cheshunt via the new Lea Bridge station.
3. A reinstated Hall Farm Curve allowing trains to run from Chingford and Walthamstow to Stratford for Crossrail and all Stratford’s other services. Walthamstow to Stratford could go from a 43 minute journey to one of just twelve.
4. We’ve already had notice of a blockade on the Victoria Line this summer to enable track work, that will increase frequency to 36 trains per hour.
I also have a few questions that I would like to see answered.
1. There is a curve under the former Olympic Village that enables trains to go between the North London Line the Lea Valley Lines. Are there any future plans for this curve?
2. Many passengers using the trains to and from Hackney arrive at the complex by bus. As the area around the stations is developed, will we see a much better bus interchange?
3. My personal favourite addition to the Hackney station complex would be to see a second entrance at Hackney Central direct into the westbound Platform 1, which for many journeys would avoid the need to cross between the two platforms at Hackney Central. Are there any plans to improve this access?
I suspect a lot more will be revealed in a few months.
I took this picture today.
Is Work Starting On The Hackney Downs/Central Link?
It looks like something is finally happening to build the pedestrian link between the two stations.
It should all become clear in the coming weeks.
Hackney Downs Station has been a pain for me in recent months, as they have been refurbishing the bridge over Dalston Lane and this means that the 56 bus has been diverted and I can’t use it to get to the station for a trip to my son’s house in Walthamstow.
But it looks to be finished now and the 56 and 30 buses are back on their normal routes.
The next phase of the development at the station is completing the lifts and reinstating the walkway to Hackney Central station.
I suspect they’ll be getting the orange paint out for when the station becomes part of the Overground.
There no messing about here, as they get to work painting the railway bridge at Hackney Downs station.
Compare these pictures with those I took on Wednesday in Manchester.
I’ve posted about rebuilding the footbridge connection between Hackney Downs and Hackney Central stations before.
TfL have decided to replace it after seventy years and Hackney Council has approved the proposal as reported here. It seems to be positively received.
Hackney Central ward cllr Vincent Stops welcomed the news. He said: “It is quite exciting that this proposal remakes an historic connection between Hackney Central and Hackney Downs stations that was lost in 1944. It will greatly benefit Hackney residents and those visiting Hackney Central town centre. Now permission has been obtained I am determined that Marcon and Aspland Estate benefits both in terms of the re-provision of play facilities and that the green wall and tree cover really improves the outlook of residents and reduces train noise, a long standing issue for the estate.”
I wonder how long it is before TfL decides that the two stations are one and renames them to either Hackney or Hackney Junction.
I suspect that the renaming will get more objections than the five who objected to the footbridge. One was objecting that it might mean to a loss of car parking spaces.
I can walk from Liverpool Street Station at a push, but as the weather was bad with heavy rain and I had no coat or umbrella, I decided it would be better to brave public transport despite the strike, as usually you don’t get wet on the Tube or in a bus.
The best dry route home for me is to go to Barbican station on the Circle line and then get a 56 bus up to my house, but that station was closed because of the strike. So I thought, I’d take the other easy route, which is to go the other way and change to the strike-free Overground at Whitechapel.
As a train was at the station, I got it and it dropped me at Aldgate, as that was as far as it was going. But never mind, I could get a 67 bus from there to the other end of my road. But for some reason, there were no bus maps at the station and I didn’t fancy the heavy rain, whilst looking for one.
So I got back on the Circle line and went back to Liverpool Street.
At Liverpool Street, I did the sensible thing I should have done in the first place and that was take a train to Hackney Downs and get a 56 bus back the other way to my house.
Luckily the rain was kept off by the railway bridge and after waiting for two minutes I got a bus home.
I must get myself a new coat today!
I’ve used Hackney Downs station twice in the last few days, and on Friday, I noticed this information board for the first time.
The Hackney Downs Information Board
There doesn’t seem to be any information on the buses on it, but the stops are obvious and as is typical with Transport for London, they have all the bus information you need. There was also at least one bus spider map inside the station.
This board is also placed in such an obvious place, that you can’t miss it.
I wonder how many stations would score less than Hackney Downs on their information?