diamond geezer

 Saturday, January 16, 2021

Yesterday was Pudding Mill Lane station's 25th birthday. Unfortunately lockdown prevented the Silver Jubilee celebration that would inevitably have taken place, but rest assured I popped down and sang Happy Birthday on your behalf, and took some cake. Unfortunately I sang it to the wrong station because the 1996 version was demolished in 2014, but it's the thought that counts.



A brief history of Pudding Mill Lane station

20th June 1839: The Eastern Counties Railway opens alongside the future site of PML station. Stratford gets a station but there's no point opening a halt amid the Bow Marshes. During construction a pudding-shaped windmill beside the Pudding Mill River is demolished.
31st August 1987: The Docklands Light Railway opens between Stratford and the Isle of Dogs. No station is provided at Pudding Mill Lane but the location is safeguarded for future development. A passing loop will be added later.
15th January 1996: Pudding Mill Lane station opens, on the cheap, to serve a few adjacent industrial estates. Access to the island platform is via a claustrophobic central staircase. Usage is not expected to be high.
6th July 2005: The IOC selects London to host the Olympic Games in 2012. Tiny Pudding Mill Lane will be the closest station to the stadium. The adjacent industrial estates are instantly doomed.
13th July 2012: Pudding Mill Lane station closes temporarily, two weeks before the Olympics, because it could never have coped with the passenger numbers.
13th September 2012: The station reopens following the Paralympics, but its days are numbered. A replacement is already under construction a few metres to the south.
18th April 2014: The original PML, born 1996, closes forever. It had the misfortune of being on the direct alignment of Crossrail, at precisely the point where trains will emerge from tunnels on the approach to Stratford.
28th April 2014: The current Pudding Mill Lane station opens, a large glass box on a freshly-constructed double-track viaduct. It's now the largest station on the DLR.
4th August 2016: West Ham play their first match at London Stadium. Police are initially reticent to allow supporters to use the station, but will eventually change their minds.
11th December 2022: Estimated date on which passengers will finally be able to travel on Crossrail between Stratford and Whitechapel, passing through the original site of Pudding Mill Lane station.

» If you'd like to see what the old Pudding Mill Lane station looked like, Ian Visits wrote a post about it and I took 30 photographs on its last day.
» If you'd like to see what the new Pudding Mill Lane station looks like, Ian Visits wrote a post about it and I took 30 photographs on its first day.



The old Pudding Mill Lane station is mourned only by trainspotters who loved the mainline vantage point provided by the open platform. The new one is state of the art but in an oddly tedious way, having been built to withstand a future that's not yet arrived. The platforms are much wider than necessary for the handful of passengers who normally use them. The staircases are broad enough to cope with large crowds that almost never materialise. The concourse under the tracks echoes with inactivity. The retail unit built to take a coffee shop has never had a tenant. The piazza beyond awaits a community yet to appear. There is a reason why Pudding Mill Lane is the second least used station on the entire DLR network.



And it's been even quieter during lockdown. My daily exercise often takes me past on my way into the Olympic Park and normally there's absolutely nobody else here. I don't think I've seen a bike in the bike rack since March, other than an abandoned one missing a wheel. The two bins of Metro newspapers are always topped up but never empty, so I guess at least 50 copies end up in the recycling daily. I saw two passengers arrive yesterday morning and almost recoiled from the shock.



As 2020 went by I got an increasing feeling that TfL had abandoned the place. The electronic rainbow board that listed disruptions abruptly disappeared, or broke and was covered over. A chained-up poster announcing weekend line closures in October lingered until the last week in December. The tube map poster vanished several months ago leaving a large white space on the information board. I know someone must come round occasionally to update the other posters because these do change in line with official government restrictions. And someone definitely turned up in August to remove the cash option from the ticket machine, although the nearest Oyster ticket stop is half a mile's walk away, should anyone ever be caught short.



Unsurprisingly the blank piazza outside is a favourite with bored youth. Sometimes it's a pair of skateboarders practising tricks under the shelter of the viaduct. Sometimes it's acrobatic cyclists taking advantage of a large paved expanse. Occasionally it's been dozens of teenagers gathered to show off their biking skills before abandoning fried chicken wrappers and cans of Red Bull on the benches. And on one particularly memorable occasion it was a congregation of 200 feral kids egging each other on to perform massive wheelies with menaces before scarpering in all directions when a police van turned the corner.



Perhaps the oddest thing about Pudding Mill Lane is that nobody lives nearby. Normally when you open a new station the developers move in and take advantage, knocking up flats left right and centre, but nobody whatsoever lives within a 200m radius. Large areas of post-Olympic hardstanding remain empty, one used as an occasional car park and another for a temporary container hotel. Even now this 1500-home neighbourhood is still only at the masterplan stage, with a first planning application due to be submitted later this year. By 2030 this should be a much-needed mass of densely-packed residential blocks, assuming people still want to live in the capital. In the meantime Pudding Mill Lane is still a staff-free halt in the middle of nowhere, just as it was when it opened 25 years ago.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan22
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21  Jun21  Jul21  Aug21  Sep21  Oct21  Nov21  Dec21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
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 me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

» my flickr photostream

twenty blogs
853
our bow
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
bus and train user
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain
#coronavirus

read the archive
Jan22
Dec21  Nov21  Oct21  Sep21
Aug21  Jul21  Jun21  May21
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  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

the diamond geezer index
2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

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
Herbert Dip
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

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
boredom
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
iceland

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
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv