diamond geezer

 Sunday, January 03, 2010

Coming to London's railway network in 2010

PAYG Oyster on National Rail: Because South London exists, and don't you forget it. [kicked off by Ken, clinched by Boris, born yesterday] [still a bit flawed]

DLR 3-car upgrade: The DLR was built for two-carriage trains, but ever-increasing passenger numbers have made the addition of a third carriage a priority. It's not been easy, given that some stations are hemmed in by bridges and walls, and others are underground. But, umpteen months after lengthening began, there's now 50% more platform at most of the stations on the 20th century network. This has caused a few teething problems for non-clued-up passengers waiting in vain on the new bits, but they now only have a little longer to wait. One last bit of fiddling is required outside Tower Gateway station to upgrade the junction there, which has led to the closure of Bank DLR station for a month. Once that's finished, the long-awaited three-car upgrade can begin. A much-improved service should kick off on Monday 25th January, and then there'll be a lot more space aboard weekday trains between Bank and Lewisham. Hurrah, But still only two-cars up to Stratford and out past Canning Town, apparently, until demand requires supply. So expect to see passengers running up the platform to catch their train at All Saints for some time to come. [kicked off by Ken, opened by Boris]

Jubilee line upgrade: If Tubelines ever get their act together, and finally work out whether their newly-installed signalling actually works, then there should be a lot more trains on the Jubilee line next year. They were supposed to have finished by now, and are being fined handsomely because they missed the deadline big time, but that's no comfort to people inconvenienced by their continuing incompetence. Expect an extra 22 days of closures, culminating in a 4-day total blackout over Easter when Tubelines will finally put the whole thing to rest. Or not. My money's on not. [kicked off by Ken, still dribbling on under Boris]

East London line opens: The line that seems to spend longer shut than open finally relaunches this year as part of an enlarged London Overground. It's time to welcome back Wapping and Rotherhithe, now connected to such exotic destinations as Dalston, Crystal Palace and Croydon. There'll be a train every five minutes through the Thames Tunnel, which is great for north-south connectivity but I fear slightly over-optimistic for expected passenger numbers. North of Whitechapel there are even some brand new stations opening, including Shoreditch (inside an elevated concrete box) and Hoxton (tucked away behind the Geffrye Museum). It's good news for some of the poorest areas in Hackney, even if the line dips cynically out of zone 2 into zone 1 for one single fare-raising station. Come 23rd May (or thereabouts) I look forward much easier access to places I (currently) rarely go. [kicked off by Ken, opened by Boris]

DLR extension to Stratford International: As we've already ascertained, something needs to link the new Stratford International station to the rest of East London, and fast. Enter the DLR, which will be wiggling around the edge of the new Westfield development and depositing passengers in the heart of Stratford's main Regional station. And there's more. The extension continues southwards along the old Silverlink railway to Canning Town, with three additional stations in backwaters the Jubilee line currently speeds through. Is Stratford High Street convenient for the shops? Not really. Will you ever want to travel to Star Lane? Probably not. And will umpteen foreign tourists ride to Abbey Road only to discover that the Beatles never recorded anything anywhere near? Bet they will. Services to Beckton and Woolwich are due to open next summer, should you care. [kicked off by Ken, opened by Boris]

North London line reopens: Yes, I know it hasn't shut yet, but the Overground line from Gospel Oak to Stratford is shutting down on 20th February for four months. It's all to improve stations and signalling, and to lengthen a few platforms, and it means regular rail replacement buses on a line that already sees more than its fair share. The pain will be worth it in the end we're told, honest, because the entire London rail network has to be perfect by the summer of 2012. Can't wait. [and then it all goes quiet for a bit] [squeezed out by recession, extinguished by Boris]

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