The Anonymous Widower

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 Place Where The Bottom Fell Out Of A Drawer

Whenever I go to Oakwood station, just seeing the parking in front of the station reminds me of a very funny story.

The Place Where The Bottom Fell Out Of A Drawer

The Place Where The Bottom Fell Out Of A Drawer

Our next door neighbour, a rather pompous Mancunian, who thought the world revolved around him, just after the Second World War, had a Rover, very much like the one you see in the James Herriott programs on television.  My doctor, the wonderfully named Egerton White had one too, as doctors in those days always did. just like they had three-piece suits, a good size corporation and a pocket watch on a gold chain.

Our neighbour, had a garage that was basically a store for his junk.  in the middle of the back wall, was an old chest of drawers with large round knobs. He also had the habit of going in a bit close, so that he could shut the garage doors. My father, who was a bit of a comedian, once joked that. his junk wasn’t worth nicking.

One evening, he wanted to get an evening paper.  The easiest place to get one, for our neighbour was Oakwood station, where he just parked outside, left the engine running and walked inside the station to get one of the Star, News or Standard.

The Entrance To Oakwood Station

The Entrance To Oakwood Station

The picture shows where the papers were sold, from the bench just inside the entrance.

Anyway, he duly backed the Rover out of the garage and proceeded to drive to the station.  He always sat high in the car, to emphasise his own importance and was surprised to see people waving and pointing to the front of his car.  He just waved back, as my father used to say, when he related the tail, in the style of the King.

When he returned to the car after buying the paper, he realised the reason for all the attention on the trip to the station. He had gone into the garage just a little bit too far, the night before and the bumpers of the Rover had hooked themselves under the knobs on one of the drawers. They were so firmly locked, that when he backed out to get the paper, the car extracted the drawer from the chest and it had stayed balanced there, all the way to the station.

He then took a fateful decision.  He decided that as the drawer had stayed there on the journey to the station, it would stay there on the way back.

It did stay there, but as he moved off, the bottom decided to part company from the rest of the drawer and thirty years of accumulated odds and ends, were deposited all over the forecourt of the station.

January 29, 2013 Posted by | Transport, World | , , | 1 Comment

Arnos Grove, Southgate and Oakwood

Arnos Grove, Southgate and Oakwood are three London Underground stations at the top end of the Piccadilly line.

I’ve put these in as a gallery, so that I can properly caption all the pictures

I used to live near Oakwood and probably used the station around a thousand times, mainly to get to Southgate for school.

They have all been recently restored.

There seems to be no sign of the plaque at Oakwood saying that the station is the highest point until you meet the Urals.

April 25, 2010 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments