The Anonymous Widower

Was The London Mayoral Election A Low Turnout?

When I voted for the Mayor in 2012, I seem to remember that the Polling Station was much more busy.

The BBC has said tonight, that that is their information.

But what do you expect with such a lacklustre collection of candidates?

At previous elections, thee has been party activists outside, but today the street was empty except for a rather nice tabby and white cat.

He didn’t tell me who he was representing. I would guess, it was himself!

May 5, 2016 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Will Old Oak Common Station And The Wimbledon To Sutton Tramlink Extension Get The Go-Ahead?

This article in Rail Engineer is entitled TfL Budget Confirms Rail Projects. This is said.

The GLA budget, announced in February 2016, included a £250 million fund for two new overground stations at Old Oak Common, linking with Crossrail, national rail and HS2, and £100 million towards a potential extension to the tram network to Sutton.

So will we be seeing a start to the planning for these two projects?

Obviously, nothing will be decided until the new Mayor is elected.

March 18, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Will There Be An Eight-Month Closure On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line?

This has been stated in several articles on the Internet, but I’ll use this article from London 24 entitled Barking to Gospel Oak Overground line “to close for EIGHT months this year”. This is said.

A closure is necessary so the diesel stock can be replaced with electric trains and to increase capacity on the hugely-overcrowded route.

A £60m contract was awarded to J. Murphy and Sons to electrify the line in September last year but there has been no announcement from the Department of Transport, Network Rail or TfL.

London24 understands negotiations have been ongoing between the organisations over the length and nature of the closure while electrification takes place.

Shutting it will cause mayhem for thousands of passengers who will have to find alternative routes, which will often take longer and be more expensive.

I have also heard from a reliable source that there will be an eight month closure and the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBlin) will open with new trains.

I feel that Murphys are electrifying the line in a novel way and I wrote about it in Are We Seeing A New Approach To Electrification On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line?

I have no specific or private information, but only what I have read in the media or seen with my own eyes.

I will of course be using my own experience of many years of supporting and observing large projects.

What Would Be An Acceptable Closure?

In Summer 2015. the Victoria Line was closed for two months, to replace a cross-over at Walthamstow Central. This was just about acceptable to the locals, but the alternative routes and Rail Replacement Buses coped.

At the right time of the year, I suspect that the residents of North London could endure a closure of perhaps 3-4 months. But of course, they’d prefer it, if there wasn’t any closures, except for odd days at weekends.

At least there are alternative routes.

  • The upgraded Victoria Line can help between Walthamstow and Upper Holloway, with assistance from buses.
  • After the 17th April, there would appear to be no North London Line closures.
  • The Victoria Line to Highbury and Islington can partly replace going to Gospel Oak for the North London Line.
  • There are a couple of out of station interchanges.

Freight trains can be routed via the North London Line.

How Much Work Can Be Done?

The key to doing anything, is the number of hours that work can be done and the amount of resources that can be used.

This is the current list of closures on the GOBlin.

  • Sun 31 Jan 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sun 07 Feb 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 14 Feb 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 21 Feb 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 28 Feb 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 06 Mar 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 20 Mar 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 27 Mar 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 03 Apr 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 10 Apr 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 16 to Sun 17 Apr 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 23 to Sun 24 Apr 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 30 Apr to Mon  02 May 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 07 to Sun 08 May 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 14 to Sun 15 May 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 21 to Sun 22 May 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 28 to Tue 31 May 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 04 to Sun 05 Jun 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 11 to Sun 12 Jun 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 18 to Sun 19 Jun 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 25 to Sun 26 Jun 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 02 to Sun 03 Jul 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 09 to Sun 10 Jul 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 16 to Sun 17 Jul 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 23 to Sun 24 Jul 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking

No long closure seems to have been announced yet!

Note the following.

  • There doesn’t appear to be any working day closures, so it would appear that Transport for London/Network Rail are looking after the passengers! And the revenue!
  • I should also say, that an engineer working on an unrelated station project in London, said that it was typical to work on a twenty-four hour basis. Thus a weekend closure could give over fifty continuous hours for working.
  • There are two longer closures in May at the Bank Holidays, so what is planned for these weekends?
  • None of the work is in tunnels!
  • The line could be blockaded at night to allow work to continue all through the night.
  • Important freight could use the North London Line.
  • The line connects a string of roads together, where there are various facilities like cafes and shops. I bet if someone is peckish at two in the morning, they can get a sandwich.
  • I would suspect, that they will apply some of the lessons learned at Dawlish.
  • J Murphy and Sons have a reputation for using lots of sub-contractors.
  • A lot of the work is taking place close to Murphy’s depot!
  • They can get the lights out and use the summer months to great advantage.
  • Days can be used to get everything ready for the following night’s work.
  • The extension of the line to Barking Riverside can be done later after the GOBlin has reopened.

I think that someone is doing a universe-class project management job and has realised that by clever working practices and selected weekend and overnight closures, there could be masses of time and resources available for the job.

Could this explain, that when the eight month closure is discussed, Mike Stubbs from London Overground is always quoted as saying no final decision has been made?

Perhaps every day, project managers are telling him a smaller and less disruptive figure.

Have the freight companies been told, that the line will be closed to them for eight months, so they can plan accordingly? It would be very sensible and I suspect they have already made alternative arrangements.

I think that Murphy’s orange army will get an amazing amount of actual work done before the end of 2016.

If the electrification gets delivered on time and budget, a great number of men and women, will be telling their grandchildren exaggerated tales about how they rebuilt London’s railways!


One problem is the Class 710 trains, as they can’t be delivered until 2018, so I suspect that opening after the eight month closure with new trains, should be opening with four-car electric trains.

In a section in my related post entitled Where Are The Trains?, I said this.

I believe that the Class 387 trains, are the only acceptable and available trains, that will be available to open the service after an eight-month blockade.

Nothing else except some old trains from British Rail’s dustbin are available.

The Class 387 trains will be available as Bombardier have sorted the production. I wrote about this in Class 387 Trains On Track

Political Considerations

In May we have the London Mayoral Election and if there is an eight-month blockade of the GOBlin, I don’t think it would be to Zac Goldsmith’s advantage.

But supposing by mid-April a plan has been published and evidence of masts and wires is creeping along between Gospel Oak and Barking!

So why has the eight months closure been so widely publicised?

I’m no spin-doctor, but wouldn’t it be better to give people low expectations and then say that there’ll be new electric trains at the end of the year.

A couple of months ago, Modern Railways published an editorial saying Network Rail needed a win to restore their image in the eyes of the general public.

Could this be their strategy to go for a win?

If it fails, it will be an own goal of horrendous proportions.


I am led to the following conclusions.

  • Between now and December 2016, there is a very large number of man-hours available to electrify the GOBlin.
  • The line can be blockaded every night and work could continue under lights
  • Eight four-car Class 387 trains could be borrowed to start the electric service.
  • Zac Goldsmith, Boris Johnson, Network Rail and Peter Hendy, and J. Murphy and Sons have a lot to gain if this line is electrified on time and on budget.

I have a feeling that if we don’t get biblical rain, plague and pestilence, London is in for a surprise.

January 28, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

I’m All For This!

This article on the BBC web site entitled Lib Dems pledge to halve London morning commuter fares, caught my eye. This is said.

London mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon has promised if she is elected in May she will cut Tube and rail fares for journeys before 07:30 by half.

As someone who has generally started work before eight, ever since I marked up newspapers at 05:30 in the morning as a sixteen-year-old, if I’d worked in London over the years, I would have saved money.

Now of course, I don’t pay, as I have a Freedom Pass. it would be interesting to see how many journeys, I do start before 07:30. It’s probably about four a week.

This is one of those ideas that could be tested using sound Control Engineering principles.

At the present time, any journey starting before 04:30 is in the Off Peak.

So for a period of six-months say, you would use 05:00 and see how the usage and revenue changes.

And then later, you move it to 05:30 for a period.

With some clever analysis of the data, I suspect that the time that is the best compromise between customer satisfaction, service costs and revenue can be found.

Giving a fixed time now, is totally wrong!

But in my view, if a politician said, they were aiming to increase the time in which Off Peak fares applied, it would be a sensible policy.


January 6, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

An Open Letter To London Mayor Candidates About East London River Crossings

This started as a post on my infrastructure blog, about the Silvertown Tunnel, but now that TfL has launched a consultation about the  tunnel, I decided to update it and send it to you.

I am a sixty-eight year-old widower, living alone in Hackney, who has given up driving, so my personal feelings about the Silvertown Tunnel are that it is irrelevant to me, except that it might help some trucks bring goods that I buy on-line or at a local shop.

East London needs more cross-river routes and after recent trips to Birmingham, Nottingham and Germany and reading every word of London’s transport plans for 2050, I feel that whatever is done the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBLin ) must be connected to Abbey Wood.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve made quite a few trips to South East London, including  one where I walked along Bazalgette’s sewer between Plumstead and Abbey Wood.

It is a land that London has truly forgotten.

Some transport developments, like the DLR and the East London Line has made a difference, but connections are still not the best.

TfL has talked about a  tunnel extending the GOBLin from Barking Riverside to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood.

After a visit to Karlsruhe specifically to see their tram-trains, I now believe that these could be the way to create a universe-class connection across the Thames. Tram-trains like those in Karlsruhe, which are soon to be trialled between Sheffield and Rotherham, could run on the GOBLin and then perhaps do a little loop at Barking Riverside before returning to Gospel Oak.

Note that we’re not talking untried technology here as you can see the tram-trains running on the streets and railway tracks of several German cities. Undoubtedly, if the Germans were extending the GOBlin, they would use tram-trains, as they could serve build several stops with the money needed to build Barking Riverside station.  And all the stops, like those on the London Tramlink would be fully step-free.

The loop in Barking Riverside, could extend across the river.

I think that a tunnel under the Thames would be a case of hiding your biggest light under an enormous bushel.

So why not create a high bridge to allow the biggest ships underneath, with a tram track or two, a cycle path and a walking route?

It would have some of the best views in London. Forget the Garden Bridge! This would create a transport link, that those living on both sides of the river could use and enjoy every day to get to work or for leisure reasons. Tourists would come to view London, as they do on large entry bridges in cities like New York and Lisbon.

Effectively, you have a conventional tram connecting Barking, Barking Riverside, Thamesmead and Abbey Wood. At Barking and Abbey Wood, the tram-trains become trains and could go to Gospel Oak and perhaps Meriandian Water, Romford, Upminster or Tilbury in the North and perhaps Woolwich, Lewisham, Dartford or Bluewater in the South.

Everything you would need to create such a link is tried and tested technology or designs that have been implemented in either the UK or Germany over the last few years.

In TfL’s plans for 2050, I found the words Penge and Brockley High Level buried in an Appendix listing places where there could be new transport interchanges.

I believe that an interchange at Penge would link the East London Line to the South Eastern Main Line and trains between Victoria and Orpington. Another interchange at Brockley would link the East London Line to the trains going across South London between Lewisham and Abbey Wood.

Conventional thinking says that these interchanges will be difficult to build, but Birmingham has already created a station that solves the problem at Smethwick Galton Bridge.

As London Overground have the capacity to run twenty four trains every hour each way on the East London Line, these two interchanges would help solve the chronic connectivity to and from South East London. They would also bring more passengers to the East London Line to fill all those trains.

One of the things that the increased number of trains on the East London Line would need is another southern terminal and possibilities include Beckenham Junction or Orpington.

I think it is true to say that there are more possibilities to improve connectivity east of the East London Line, both North and South of the River, than both London’s Mayors have ever dreamed about.

To be fair to both of them, it’s only in recent years that tram-trains have been seriously thought about in the UK, although the Germans have had them for a decade or so.

Get it right and the Silvertown Tunnel would be a very different scheme.

It might even be just be an entry in that large directory of projects that were never started.


October 6, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Why I’ll Be Voting For Zac For London Mayor!

Zac Goldsmith is standing for London Mayor next year, as is reported in this article on the BBC.

He has the same catchy type of name as the previous two London Borkens and he’s certainly of the independent breed that Borken had.

He certainly would not be a party hack doing their leader in Westminster’s bidding.

People will say he’s another rich Tory toff from Eton and Cambridge and use it as a term of abuse. At least he was expelled from Eton for smoking cannabis, so there’s no troubles on that score.

But how many Prime Ministers or Party Leaders in the last few years haven’t been to the top public schools?

I do have this feeling that if I knew him, we would agree on many policies.

I like to think, I’m scientifically green, which means that on many environmental issues, I’m totally in disagreement with the Green Party, as I take an independent line.  We could start with the Severn Barrage, fracking and onshore wind power!

Zac used to edit The Ecologist.

These are my views on some of the big issues of the election.


I feel very strongly as does Zac and Sadiq Khan, that housing is an important issue in this election, if not the most important one.

Landlord, Properties and Tenant Registers

I think there  should be a London-wide landlord and properties register, that should be available to Councils, letting agencies and prospective tenants. Obviously, the register would have to be properly managed, but if I was renting, I’d like to know who was the ultimate owner of my property.

I think that most landlords, knowing that their tenants, would know who they were, would ensure that they obeyed the law and kept the property to the agreed standards.

I also think that a lot of rogue landlords would either give up renting properties or mend their ways.

Wales has introduced  a scheme, so I suspect London wouldn’t have to start from scratch.

What has annoyed me about the rental market in recent years, has been the number of tenants, who used to rent my house from the previous owner, who left owing money to utility companies and others. One bailiff told me, he had seven judgements against one tenant.

If landlords have to be registered, surely the same should apply to tenants!

I’m sure that London could draw on the best practice from other major cities and countries in the world, to find a nice balance between landlords and tenants.


I very much object to people, be they UK-residents or overseas investors, buying property and leaving it empty, whilst the property goes up in value.

Houses and flats are for living in!

Surely we can find some taxation or other method, that means the highest proportion of housing is used to provide shelter.

Under-Occupied Houses

I’m probably in that category, as I have a three-bedroom house with a garage, that can’t be worth far off seven figures.

I think though if we had adequate housing stock at all levels, I might be persuaded to move.

It is probably wrong that those who live in houses like mine get a discount on Council Tax.

I doubt any politician will encourage those living in large houses to move into something more appropriate.

But I’ve believed for many years, that by getting Inheritance and other taxes right, that a lot of housin stock could be freed up for either rebuilding or refurbishment.

More Housing

I don’t believe that we’re being as creative as we might be, in building more housing, which must be part of the solution to London’s housing problems.

Railway Land And Stations

Politicians talk about using surplus land around the many railways of the capital. They are probably right, but how many of the current stations, sit on large plots, where no attempt has been made to use the space above.

My three nearest stations show the extremes.

  • Dalston Junction was rebuilt a few years ago to be a modern four platform station, with flats, a plaza and a bus interchange above the platforms.
  • Dalston Kingsland is a cramped station that was opened in the 1980s and has two platforms either side of the cutting, where the tracks pass. No-one would be sad if the station was rebuilt, where the station was larger and housing or some other useful building was built on top, so effectively putting the railway in a tunnel.
  • Highbury and Islington is a 1960s monstrosity created out of the mess that the Second World War left of an iconic station. At present the bridge outside the station is being revuilt and I hope they rebuild the station to one of which the whole area can be proud.

A few months ago, I met a property developer on the train. He was actively looking at station sites for residential developments, that would also include a rebuilt modern station. He said that flats over a station were easy to sell! Especially, as these days many properties in London are built without car parking.

Shopping Centres, Hospitals And Other Public Buildings

Often we build these on sites that would be ideal for housing.

Surely, the housing should have priority.

As I get older, I worry more about my health and visiting hospitals. I’m lucky here, in that the three nearest hospitals are easily accessed from my house by public transport.

But so many hospitals all over the country have poor access by public transport. Not all have access as good as Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre, where the tram stop is built into the hospital at first floor level.

If Islington needed a new hospital, which it doesn’t, why shouldn’t it be built in a tower over Highbury and Islington station? It would have the superb transport links, I believe a hospital needs.

Incidentally, I think hospitals should be in towers with good views, as that certainly made my stay in hospital in Hong Kong more enjoyable, as I could look out on the cityscape.

Planning Rules

The planning rules and the building regulations need a good sorting out.

Things that have annoyed me over the years have included.

  • The time it has taken to get planning permission for something quite simple.
  •  Building regulations being different in two parts of Suffolk.
  • Over-zealous council planning officers being more restrictive than wildlife and historic building experts.
  • People getting buildings passed by the council because of the right connections.
  • Some councils objecting to building methods, that are approved by other councils.

Matters might be eased if the same rules and regulations applied in all London boroughs.

As a simple example of that, a builder told me that the terrace houses he builds with a traditional appearance to blend in with existing Victorian houses, but a revolutionary construction method as they are partly built in a factory, are accepted by Hackney, but not all the other boroughs.

Air Pollution And Traffic Congestion

These linked issues will be a major issue in the Mayoral election, especially after the Jokeswagen scandal.

But I feel that all candidates will offer a vaguely similar set of policies.

I suspect that Zac will go for a very strong set of regulations, that will bring in the controversial Ultra Low Emissions Zone and possibly methods to reduce the number of vehicles entering the city centre.

This will bring a lot of protest from the haulage industry and other drivers, but many of the older vehicles that cross the city are a disgrace in other ways as well. I’d love to see a full analysis of all the vehicles and their owners involved in accidents and stopped by the authorities.

Buses, taxis, mini-cabs and delivery vehicles and cars registered in the city, must have a schedule to go further towards zero-emission, especially in the centre.

I would add the following.

  • The banning of all rail  locomotives like Class 66 locomotives from all rail lines inside the M25. This would probably be possible, once the Gospel Oak to Barking, the Dudding Hill and a few other lines are electrified.
  • Although not specifically connected to pollution, I would pedestrianise Oxford Street, once Crossrail opens.
  • Other schemes like this would mean that pedestrians could avoid the worst pollution.
  • Restriction of tourist buses in the centre.

It is going to be very tricky to get pollution and traffic congestion down and some of the measures that must be taken will be controversial and unpopular.

Buses In The Centre

I use buses in the centre a lot, but sometimes I think there are too many in places like in Oxford Street and around St.Paul’s, which add significantly to the congestion.

London’s bus system also tends to duplicate itself in the centre.

As an example, I have two bus routes within a hundred metres that go to Victoria through the centre.

There would be protests, but surely some bus routes shouldn’t go across the centre and should be cut back.

Once Crossrail opens, I think there should be a major review to see if the numbers of buses in the centre could be reduced.

Taxis And Mini-Cabs In The Centre

I rarely use taxis and I only ever use two booked mini-cabs at Christmas.

Boris has tried to get powers for the Mayor, so that mini-cabs could be limited.

In some ways, this will happen, as if the roads get more congested, passengers who know the city well, will walk or use the Underground and Crossrail.

So taxis and mini-cabs will be restricted by the laws of supply and demand.

Deliveries In The Centre

This is a particular irritant that bugs me in one place, where every day about eleven a Tesco truck blocks the bus lane, whilst it delivers goods. Once it took my bus thirty minutes to pass.

I appreciate the problems of deliveries at night, but there are some shops and supermarkets in the city centre that do not have a proper delivery bay, so are constantly blocking the traffic.

Those that don’t have a reserved delivery bay should pay for the privilege to hold up traffic.

Intelligent Congestion Charging

This would be very controversial, but I believe it will be introduced some time in the near future, not in just London, but all over the UK.

Every vehicle that travels in the city, would need to be fitted with a device that records and transmits position. Journeys would then be charged automatically, according to the time and congestion.

It could even be a smart phone app, linked to a particular vehicle.

Money raised would be used to fund public transport projects like Crossrail 2.

The trouble is that any politician not against this type of device, wouldn’t win the election.

Crossrail 2

Crossrail and Thameslink will have a tremendous effects on London.

  • Many important and popular journeys will be much easier and quicker.
  • Traffic congestion in the centre should be eased.
  • The taxi and mini-cab drivers will see a lot of their lucrative trips to Heathrow disappear.
  • Increased pedestrianisation and more cycling and walking will happen between Marble Arch and Holborn.
  • Bus routes will be simplified to take account of new journey patterns.

I don’t think many realise the changes Crossrail and Thameslink will make in London.

But the biggest change will be an increased call from Londoners for the building of Crossrail 2.

So I would not vote for any politician, who was against Crossrail 2.

I doubt any of the Mayoral candidates, except joke ones, will be against the second Crossrail line.

Heathrow Expansion

Zac is against it, as are most other candidates and Boris.

  • I am not specifically against it, but feel that other developments will in the end will make major expansion of runway capacity in the South East unnecessary.
  • Crossrail and Thameslink will make London one massive transport interchange, with better links between all London airports and high speed rail.
  • Manchester and to a certain extent Birmingham airports will increasingly remove the need for passengers going to and from North of London, to travel to Heathrow and Gatwick.
  • As Cross-Channel rail services develop into more of Europe, travellers will rediscover the advantages of trains.

It will be interesting to see how air travel in the South East develops. But in the end, I feel that we’ll see a privately-funded offshore airport somewhere in the Thames Estuary, built in co-operation with the French, Belgians and the Dutch. Everybody in this part of the world has problems with airports.

New Stations, Transport Interchanges And Electrification

Life is so much easier, if you can get easily to a good transport interchange like Canning Town, Canada Water or Moorgate, where buses and the Underground meet.

We need more stations with good interchange to other modes of transport.

I know that Transport for London has a list of stations, they’d like to develop and these should not just become modern multi-mod  transport interchanges but housing and other developments in their own right.

We must apply solutions to London’s problems that improve more than one area.

London only has three major rail lines that cross the centre that are not electrified.

All should be electrified.

The Gospel Oak to Barking was a forgotten route for years, but extending it to Barking Riverside and electrification will improve its profile and generate traffic.

The Dudding Hill Line is an interesting line, as it is a mainly freight route that goes through some of the poorer and more troubled parts of the capital.

Chiltern is a relatively-undeveloped commuter route close to London and would undoubtedly benefit from electrification as this would increase speed and capacity.

I do wonder if these lines should not be physically electrified, but given electric trains using battery technology like the Aventra IPEMU.

These trains could run on the Gospel Oak to Barking and Dudding Hill Lines tomorrow, if the trains were available.

So why not spend the money on the stations and the trains now, and do the full electrification gradually in the next decade or so?

I think it is true to say, that most candidates support this type of transport policy.


The reason I’ll vote for Zac, is more about the Labour Party than anything else.

My father had equal hate for politics of the extreme right and left, feeling equally strongly about Hitler and Stalin.

I think too, that he felt rather uneasy, that he didn’t do enough to stop Hitler before the war.

With his Jewish heritage, he would be disgusted at some of the stories around Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

So like my father, I could never vote for any candidate of today’s almost-Stalinist Labour Party.

So if you remove all the idiots, you are probably left with a choice of two candidates; Zac Goldsmith or Caroline Pidgeon.

I will be reading what the lady has to say, but I suspect in the end I’ll vote for Zac.

Compared to the last election, they are a poorer set of candidates, which remind me of a fluffle of rabbits squabbling over a carrot.









October 4, 2015 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is The New Mayor Of London Going To Do For Car Drivers?

Most of the London Mayor candidates for 2016 seem to ignore car drivers.

As a non-driver, I wouldn’t mind if the new Mayor decreed that no-one in London could own a car, but if he or she did, they wouldn’t get elected.

I do occasionally need to be transported by car and as I don’t have the expense of actually owning one, I can afford to take a black cab, which I do perhaps a dozen times a year, at a total cost of perhaps three hundred pounds.

The most difficult journeys are ones where say, a friend is picking me up and taking me somewhere, so they have to drive into Hackney and out the other side again. Which just adds to the congestion unneccesarily.

The other tricky thing for car-drivers, is those coming into London often have no convenient Park-and-Ride. I was lucky, when I lived near Newmarket, as I could park at Whittlesford Parkway and get a train into Liverpool Street.

But when years ago, when I lived near Ipswich, parking was very limited and I had to get a taxi to the station. I once had a letter from British Rail suggesting that I ask my wife to drive me to the train.

I also see problems with the new Night Tube. This will generate an amazing night life all over the centre of London and I think we’ll see large numbers of people using the Tube late into the night and early morning. Those living in London will be able to use the Tube, but as there is little adequate parking at or around stations just inside the M25, visitors and those working late in the evening, may well lead to a lot of parking congestion around the stations.

To add to that, as London becomes an increasingly twenty four hour/seven day a week city, there will be an increasing need for some form of parking for night workers.

I have checked the map and the only Tube and rail stations close to a junction of the M25 will parking, can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

I believe that London needs a ring of well-designed car/bus/train interchanges around the M25. I did propose one at Waltham Cross, but that idea was not put together properly.

The interchanges would be designed for the following services.

1. Park-And-Ride, particularly aimed at those not wanting to stay all day. So perhaps the parking charges would be sensible for say the first four hours and then draconian afterwards. Obviously, at weekends and in the evenings, they would be reduced and aimed at those perhaps going to a sporting event or seeing a show or concert.

2. Pick-Up and Drop-Off of passengers, perhaps linked to something like thirty minutes free parking.

3. Car Hire for those living in London.

4. Long Distance Coach Services

5. Motorway Services

Obviously, there would be a frequent service into Central London. The service would have to be step-free and wi-fi enabled. I also think that like Cambridge’s superb Park-and-Ride, it would be linked into the cycle network.

Get it right and it would cut vehicular traffic into London.



June 25, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | 2 Comments

Boris Gets A Statue

Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley unveiled a statue called Boris yesterday.  But it is a large polar bear in front of Peter Jones in no way connected to the Mayor of London.

There’s more about the statue here.

I liked it and would vote for Boris to stay.

I doubt a lady who got on the bus towards Wandsworth would though, as she was wearing a fur coat.

January 15, 2013 Posted by | News, World | , , , | Leave a comment

London Moves To Licence Pedicabs

I have seen some horrific incidents with pedicabs and according to this report, it would appear that the Mayor and Transport for London are moving towards licencing them and driving the illegal ones off the road.

Having seen at first hand, how they contribute to jams in the West End, I think it’s about time too! Although, I’ve never ridden in one in this country.

December 14, 2012 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Seb Coe For London Mayor

He was impressive today on BBC Breakfast.

I think he would make a wonderful successor to Boris.  He’s also only 20/1 with Paddy Power.

November 13, 2012 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment