The Anonymous Widower

Levelling Up – The Marks & Spencer Way

When I first moved to Dalston, there were three convenient Marks and Spencer stores within a few bus stops.

 

  • Angel, which is a basically a food store with a floor of clothes above, where my grandmother used to shop before the First World and C and I used to shop in the 1970s, when we lived in the Barbican.
  • Moorgate, which is a small department store, with a medium-sized food department in the basement, which I use regularly.
  • Hackney, which was a very small department store with a poor food department, was convenient as on some of my journeys, I would get a bus home  from outside the store.

Over the last ten years, more Marks and Spencer stores have sprung up, Archway, Camden Town, Dalston, Eastfield, Hampstead, Liverpool Street, Old Street and West Hampstead, which I use occasionally, as they are on routes home.

This morning I went to the eye hospital in Colindale and coming home, I got a 32 bus to Brondesbury for the Overground.

As I needed some food, I had various choices of journey home.

  • Get off at West Hampstead and do my shopping there, and then get back on the train.
  • Get off at Hampstead Heath and do my shopping there, with a light lunch in le Pain Quotidien.
  • Get off at Dalston Kingsland and do my shopping there, with a bus home.
  • Get off at Hackney Central and do my shopping there, with a bus home.

Unusually, I chose the last option and got a big surprise.

I had been worried that Marks and Spencer in Hackney would close, but now it has been turned into the most upmarket Marks and Spencer food store, I’ve ever seen.

  • It’s more Knightsbridge. than Hackney
  • It’s large and spacious.
  • There are large ranges of tea and coffee, that you normally don’t see in the store.
  • The decor is localised to the store.
  • It is only about a hundred metres from Hackney Central station and fifty metres on the flat from my bus home.
  • It’s even just called Marks & Spencer Food

Now that’s what I call levelling up!

 

December 13, 2021 Posted by | Design, Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Responsible Shopping At The Angel

This pop-up shop has appeared at The Angel.

This is the web site.

December 11, 2021 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

The Dalston Junction Crossing At Night

This picture shows the diagonal light-controlled crossing at Dalston Junction station at night.

This Google Map shows the junction.

Note.

  1. The North-South Road is Kingsland High Street.
  2. The Road going East is Dalston Lane, where my grandmother was born on the North side of the road, about a hundred metres along.
  3. On the South side of Dalston Lane is Dalston Junction station, with a West-facing bus-stop in front.
  4. The Road going West is the Balls Pond Road of Beyond Our Ken and Round The Horne fame.
  5. The building at the West of the junction is the solicitors shown in the first picture.
  6. On the North side of the Balls Pond Road is an East-facing bus stop, which is paired with the one by the station. A bus at the stop can be seen in the first picture.

The diagonal light-controlled crossing can seen crossing between the two sides of the junction between the yellow meshes of the box junction.

The junction has had this layout for a few years now and it works.

  • I live about a kilometre to the West of Dalston Junction and regularly take a bus to stop on the West side of the junction before crossing diagonally to catch the Overground.
  • Coming home, I catch a bus from just outside the station
  • As buses are generally about once every ten minutes, I generally don’t wait long.
  • The crossing has made a big improvement to the junction, as it connects the two stations and the Kingsland Road.

How many other busy junctions could be improved by a similar diagonal crossing?

It should also be noted that since the crossing has been installed, Dalston has gained an Aldi, a Co-op. a Marks and Spencer Simply Food Spencer Simply Food, a Pret, a Premier Inn and several better fast food places.

The improvement of the walking routes has certainly brought more people up the junction and to the two stations.

October 11, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your First Crossrail Service May Arrive In Time For Christmas

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in today’s Sunday Times.

I have thought this might happen for a few months.

I wrote project management software for nearly forty years. If you ever used Artemis, that was the system, I wrote in a Suffolk attic.

Artemis helped provide the UK with North Sea oil and gas, by calculating and scheduling the labour requirements.

One problem was that there was so many projects, that there was a severe labour shortage. As a friend, who supported our systems in Aberdeen, told me, you couldn’t get some tradesmen for love or money, as they had all retrained to go offshore.

Shortage of workers is often the reason for projects being late and Crossrail is no exception.

Walk through the City and West End of London along the route of the line and you’ll see endless new office, retail and residential developments around all the stations.

These Central London developments are often luxurious and funded by Sovereign Wealth or similar funds, all of whom have bottomless pockets.

If they need more workers, they just raise wages and they have been stealing them from Crossrail. Consequently Crossrail has had to pay more and has been hemorrhaging cash and getting later.

Many of these buildings are now complete and the workers can be hired by Crossrail to speed up the finishing of the line.

Unless of course, the Mayor and the Councils allow more new buildings to be constructed.

But there is a beneficial effect of the Covids working in favour of Crossrail. It has probably badly damaged forecasts for a new development, that they are being delayed for a few years.

So Crossrail can move towards a finish, which will start to generate revenue for Transport for London.

This page on the Crossrail web site is the Crossrail Project Update for December 2020, which was published on the 14th January 14th 2021.

This video shows Mark Wild, the Chief Executive Officer of Crossrail giving the latest update.

This text accompanies the video.

Delivery of the Elizabeth line is now in its complex final stages and is being completed at a time of great uncertainty due to the risks and potential impacts of further Covid outbreaks. Our focus is on meeting the immediate challenges posed by COVID-19.

We are planning to start intensive operational testing, known as Trial Running, at the earliest opportunity in 2021. It involves multiple trains operating in the central operating section to test the timetable and build reliability, while the final works to the stations are completed. It will take a period of time to fully test the Elizabeth line before it can open for passenger service. This includes a final phase known as Trial Operations involving people being invited onto trains and stations to test real-time service scenarios to ensure the readiness of the railway.

Following the opening of the central section, full services across the Elizabeth line from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east will be introduced. The introduction of full services will be aligned with the National Rail timetable change which occurs twice a year in May and December.

According to this article on Ian Visits, which is entitled An Update On The Crossrail Project Progress. Crossrail is in Systems Integration Dynamic Testing (SIDT), which is described  by Ian like this.

The pre-Trial Running tests, Systems Integration Dynamic Testing (SIDT) started early last December and allowed them to increase the number of trains running through the tunnels from four to eight. That meant running trains with 5-minute gaps, close to how the service will open with its initial 12 trains per hour each way.

Crossrail have produced a video, which describes the train testing.

SIDT restarted after Christmas on the 13th January and once complete, I assume Trial Running will start at the earliest opportunity.

Further sections of the Crossrail Project Update describe Trial Running, Covid-19.

There is also this video of Farringdon station.

When Will Crossrail Open?

Predicting this is difficult, but this article on Building, which is entitled Crossrail  Trial Running Set To Start By March.

These points are from the article.

  • Mark Wild said that trial running will start before the end of March.
  • From the start of trial running to opening will be between six and nine months,
  • It looks like Crossrail will open in the last quarter of 2021.

As it would be nice to open by Christmas to give shopping centres and hospitality a lift, I think that it will open in September or October 2021.

Could Crossrail Open Earlier, If A Shorter Service Were Run?

Some people have said, that Crossrail might be able to open earlier, if it ran initially between say Farringdon and Abbey Wood.

This paragraph from the Crossrail Project Update for December 2020, could be decisive.

All central section stations including Bond Street are certified to support Trial Running. Four of the central section stations have had all of their assets assured and certified as ready for use, the last stage for stations in the Trial Running pathway. The remaining central section stations are scheduled to achieve this by the end of the month.

Does this mean that trial running will start by the end of March and serve all central stations?

Bond Street station certainly seems to have caught up with the others and there is no longer any suggestion it could open a year later.

 

 

January 31, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 12 Comments

Chaos In The Balls Pond Road

This article in The Times is called High Court Deals Blow To Expansion Of Cycle Lanes And Wider Pavements.

This was the first paragraph.

Road closures designed to boost walking and cycling could face legal challenges after a judge declared that a big expansion of the plans was “unlawful”.

A challenge to the often ill-thought out improvements from black-cab drovers has been successful.

My experience, yesterday, summed up my inconvenience with such a scheme.

yaxiI actually, think that matters are being made worse by some of the designs and planning by the Council Clowns.

A big scheme is being undertaken around the Balls Pond Road to bring in a cycleway between Tottenham and the City. In Hackney, it looks like it will improve walking and calm the traffic in residential areas as well.

I had a serious stroke ten years and my eyesight was ruined enough, so that I couldn’t drive, so I rely heavily on buses to get around.

On Tuesday, I needed to go to the Angel to pick up a prescription. On arriving at the junction of Balls Pond Road and Southgate Road, I found that one of Islington’s Idiots had planned to dig up the junction and all four bus stops were closed. The traffic was so jammed as well, that there weren’t even any stray black cabs stoating about!

In the end, I walked to the next bus stop. This was not easy, as the lock-down has ruined my feet and they were painful.

But I got a bus to the Angel and after a bit of food shopping, I looked for a taxi to come home.

But another branch of Clowns and Idiots Ltd. has closed the taxi rank, so I had to resort to the bus, which got stuck in another set of jams caused by Thames Water at one of their well-used Party Places.

I did find a black cab, but he was unable to take me home, as the area was gridlocked. So he said give him a tenner and walk. As this was less than what was on the meter, I complied!

I laid down the principles of project planning using small computers in the 1970s.

Obviously, My ideas have fallen on deaf ears in Islington Council.

January 21, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Change At The Broadgate Entrance To Liverpool Street Station

Everything seems to have changed at the Broadgate Entrance To Liverpool Street Station, as these pictures show.

Note.

  1. You now enter at street level, rather than through a subway.
  2. You ascend a gentle ramp to walk through some upmarket shops and then descend into the station using an escalator.
  3. You can also walk through the shops to the bus station between the rail station and Broadgate.

The only thing, that hasn’t changed is the rusty smoking shelter.

October 16, 2020 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Quiet On The Oxford Street Front!

These pictures were taken at about 16:00 on Friday this week.

There we’re many people about.

June 13, 2020 Posted by | Health, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Coronavirus Lockdown In Sweden: a New Take On Safe Shopping — No Assistants

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

It could be the way, that convenience stores will be going! Even my local Marks and Spencer in Dalston, allows you to scan using an app, put the goods in your bag and just walk out!

I must try it, as it would mean that I would have to touch less equipment and won’t have to stand there like a wally, whilst the assistant verifies my age, after I have purchased low alcohol beer.

There could also be little robots like Daleks or R2-D2 wandering around, who you could ask questions, like “Where is the Adnams 0.5% low-alcohol beer?”. They would reply “Follow me!” and lead you to your next purchase.

April 19, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Queuing For Marks And Spencer In Dalston

I took this picture of the orderly queue waiting to get into Marks and Spencer in Dalston.

It does appear that everybody was obeying the rules and I only took twenty minutes to enter the store.

  • The store was well-stocked, although there were very few ready meals with long Best Before dates.
  • Gluten-free bread, biscuits and cereals were at near normal levels.
  • There were about a dozen bottles of Adnams low-alcohol beer on the shelves, which I reduced by a couple.
  • There were no gluten-free cakes. Not that I buy them often.
  • Some lines like gluten-free sandwiches seem to have been dropped. Not that I wanted any, as I won’t be travelling.
  • The staff were being very professional.

I was able to get enough food in my bag to get me through to the middle of next week.

April 9, 2020 Posted by | Food, Health, World | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Walking To Liverpool Street Station

I took these pictures yesterday, as I walked from my home to Liverpool Street station.

I had intended to buy the latest edition of Modern Railways at W H Smith’s in the station, but it was shut.

April 4, 2020 Posted by | World | , , | 3 Comments