diamond geezer

 Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This is the London Overground service to... Dalston Junction

New Cross Gate stationFor a brand new railway, south of the river very little has changed. Walk into New Cross Gate station and you'd hardly notice that the East London line's here at all. No signs in the street, no directions in the ticket hall, not even any special orangey livery on the platform. The only obvious clue that a new rail service has arrived is the bright yellow train [photo], but don't expect to be told where it's going or in how many minutes it departs. Southern Railways appear to show no interest whatsoever in the Eastern interloper recently returned to their platforms. Best hop aboard ("Please stand clear the doors") and speed away.

The trains may be new, but the interior's not lovely. More like a cattletruck on wheels than even the bleakest tube or bendy bus, these carriages are clearly designed to cram in as many vertical passengers as possible. Whenever there are more than 150 people on the train then somebody's going to have to stand, but at least if rush hours ever meet full potential then nobody should be left on the platform. It was apparent this afternoon that most of the travellers were enthusiasts rather than commuters [photo], as they spent most of their time looking at the carriage walls or out of the window, rather than at a newspaper.

Passenger trains from New Cross Gate run alongside a fenced-off squeezed-in depot, then on past the heavily engineered junction where trains will one day veer off towards Clapham. Surrey Quays is the first station where all lines converge. It still looks remarkably similar to how it did before the line shut, apart from two bold white staircases built as emergency exits because Mr Health & Safety dictated. Canada Water genuinely is exactly the same as before, except that the curves in the platform roundels are now Overground Orange.

Smiling locals can again alight at Rotherhithe, delighted to have their commute restored after so many lost months. Trains rumble once more through the Thames Tunnel, not that anybody staring out of the window could discern any of its historical splendour in the inky blackness. And Wapping's open too, despite long-ago fears it'd have to close because the platforms were too narrow. Instead the biggest problem here is that nobody's yet erected any station nameplates at the far end of the platform, so passengers in the first carriage get no clues whatsoever as to where their train's just stopped.

Passengers on the District Line platforms at Whitechapel are similarly in the dark. Most have yet to notice that the strip of tape across the downward staircase has been removed, and that the revamped East London Line is now open for business. The ELL's platforms aren't especially revamped [photo], although there is a fresh footbridge which forces Shadwell-bound travellers on a up-and-over long diversion. And the cretins have been out, installing a brand new "next train indicator" so close to an exit sign that running information is totally concealed from half of the northbound platform. Never mind, there'll be a train along within eight minutes.

Shoreditch High Street ticket hallWhere Shoreditch station used to be, the track now bursts above ground past a City Farm and across Brick Lane. But the daylight doesn't last long, as trains hurtle into the gloomy concrete tube at Shoreditch High Street. This is perched awkwardly in the middle of nowhere, and the ticket hall and stairs are large enough to accommodate rush hour crowds from office blocks not yet even on the drawing board [photo]. As for the station platforms, they're defiantly uncharismatic [photo], and only a lover of brutalist chic could ever find the place even vaguely attractive.

Wheels screech west, gearing up for a rooftop ride across the streets of Hackney. This is the proper new bit (apart from the fact that trains ran here as recently as 1986 and it's just cost a billion pounds to put them back). And the view is great, especially at Hoxton station which has the best vantage point on the line. The Geffrye Museum in particular looks delightful from above, like a long village hall airlifted into the urban maelstrom. The City's skyscraper cluster is perfectly framed behind curved track to the south [photo], while the northern rails run arrow-straight along the viaduct [photo].

Haggerston stationHaggerston's architecturally similar, at least at platform level, but with an intriguing loopy mural downstairs beyond the ticket hall [photo]. The station's not yet even vaguely busy [photo], but there are plenty of staff ready to sell you a ticket or to point you in the right direction. Both platforms here (and indeed elsewhere along the line) have their own dedicated "bloke with a megaphone" [photo]. These are friendly souls who announce everything the automated announcements do, but with a smile. I had a very pleasant chat with two of them, each clearly delighted to be part of a successful new enterprise (and to finally have real passengers to talk to).

Next stop Dalston Junction [photo], where this train terminates. The track slowly descends back to ground level, and eventually below, before terminating in a gleaming subterranean vault. Actually only two of the lines terminate, while two outer tracks run on past big red stoplights towards Highbury and Islington. They'll be properly connected next year, which'll give Boris another chance to nip out and celebrate with a photo opportunity. I missed all the hullabaloo this morning, and the enormous crowds who gathered to see off the first passenger train. Dalston was rather quieter by late afternoon, and not even the dripfeed of station-spotting photo-snapping enthusiasts could fill its surprisingly cavernous ticket hall.

I don't know who first sat down and thought "you know, we should reopen the Haggerston viaduct and link it to Croydon via Wapping" but I salute their vision. Political will and engineering expertise have finally enabled the connection of communities that might otherwise have stagnated. I fear it may be some time before London reaps the benefits of any comparable investment.

www.flickr.com: my East London line gallery
22 photos altogether - 12 of them from today

Who was on the first train?
Ian [report] [photos]
Lewminesce [line report] [on-board video]
Londonist [report, with pictures]

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Wed 19th - Sun 23rd October
Bloomsbury Festival
It's free to visit the Foundling Museum this weekend.

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2015 index
diamond geezer 2014 index
diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards