diamond geezer

 Thursday, December 15, 2005

Final Bow Road update: There was something very strange about Bow Road station yesterday morning - it looked normal. The station hasn't looked normal since February of last year when Metronet dumped four portakabins on the pavement outside the station and surrounded them by a big blue metal wall. The portakbins disappeared two months ago (following official completion of the station upgrade) but the blue wall lingered on, continuing to block the pavement whilst concealing various items of leftover maintenance equipment. And then yesterday, without warning, the blue wall was gone. Suddenly the view of the front of the station was clear, clean and unsullied, just as it always used to be (but a view which somehow I'd completely forgotten). I felt an irresistible urge to walk on the bit of pavement I'd been denied access to for nearly two years, just because I could. It was good, finally, to see normality return.

That blue wall was the very last piece of the Bow Road building site to be removed, almost exactly 22 months after it had been the very first structure to be erected. I reckon 22 months (which is 96 weeks) (which is 673 days) is a frighteningly long time to waste giving a insignificant tube station an overambitious facelift, particularly when the great majority of that renovation work was concentrated in a single six month period. If nothing else, this almost-never-ending saga has demonstrated Metronet's scarily incompetent project management skills, and I'm certain that £3½million of public money could have been far more efficiently spent. Worst of all, with the modernisation project now genuinely at an end, this means that the current state of my local station is as good as we passengers are ever going to get. The artistically-criminal blue paint on the ironwork above the platforms is here to stay. The technologically advanced electronic 'next train' indicators will continue to tell us little more than their analogue predecessors, only less quickly. The vinyl panels glued to the platform walls will forever shield the station's decaying heritage brickwork from public view. And the ubiquitous Big Brother surveillance system will continue to record passengers on both platforms picking their noses from a choice of 50 different camera angles, at great expense. Thank goodness Metronet and their contractors have finally, ultimately, at long last, eventually, buggered off. Thanks for nothing.

the whole sorry story

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