The Anonymous Widower

The Orange is Starting To Appear

Today, I took the Enfield branch of the Lea Valley Lines up to Enfield Town station, to see whether there was any signs of rebranding for the London Overground.

As you can see there were!

As one picture shows, they were changing what they could today for the start of service tomorrow.

Boris is coming to Enfield Town station on Monday, so they’ve obviously cleaned that station first. And very clean it was too, with lots of new shelters and seats.

The only problem was the new rubber floor had the smell of new rubber, but that will dissipate by Monday.

I chatted for a few minutes to a member of staff and to a couple of fellow travellers. All seemed very pleased and a fellow Freedom Pass holder was pleased that she could now use her pass before 09:30 in the morning.

May 30, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

West Hampstead Station: A Tangle Of Property Development And People To Solve

West Hampstead station is one of those North London Line stations, that has narrow platforms, which need lengthening and a cramped station building with no step-free access.  The station also sits in the middle of a large property development. This Google Earth image shows the station.

West Hampstead Station

West Hampstead Station

This was obviously taken before the development started. There were plans for a grand West Hampstead Interchange, drawing the four rail line in the area; Underground, Overground, Thameslink and Chiltern together in modern stations linked by a boulevard.

This page on the London Borough of Camden web site, is a pointer to some documents. This Google Earth image shows the various rail lines.

West Hampstead Lines

West Hampstead Lines

There is actually more lines than is obvious here. Starting from the top (north), the lines and stations are.

1. Thameslink passing through West Hampstead Thameslink station – From 2018 this will be a very much increased service.

2. Midland Main Line passing through West Hampstead Thameslink station – The number of services stopping here to places like Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby and Corby may well increase as the line to Sheffield is electrified.

3. North London Line passing through West Hampstead station – This is being upgraded to take five-car trains.

4. Jubilee Line passing through West Hampstead Tube station – A station not to the standard of the Jubilee Line Extension.

5. Metropolitan Line passing alongside West Hampstead Tube station, but without platforms.

6.Chiltern Main Line passing alongside West Hampstead Tube station, but without platforms.

This is Wikipedia’s schematic of the lines.

West Hampstead Lines

West Hampstead Lines

I would say that the best way to sum up the area is using that old estate agent’s phrase of development potential.

So how is West Hampstead station getting on?

There certainly seems to be lots of flats growing up by the side of the railway and these seemed to have replaced the trees. There was a bit of fuss about the thirty-five trees being removed, which I can sympathise with, but surely a better plan would be to take away as much traffic as possible from West End Lane and make it a proper tree-lined boulevard. But any council that suggested that would be voted out by the 4×4 owners.

There’s a preview of the new West Hampstead station on West Hampstead Life.

I’m not impressed and it is rather a poor design compared to Hackney Wick.

Only time will tell, but rail developments will have a big effect on the number of people using the stations at West Hampstead.

1. The opening of the full Thameslink service in 2018.

2. More trains from West Hampstead Thameslink station to the North on full electrification to Sheffield.

3. The possible opening of Metropolitan and Chiltern Main Line platforms in a rebuilt Underground station.

4. Network Rail and Transport for London have stated that they will increase the capacity on the London Overground, by increasing the number of trains and running six-car trains. Certainly they will do this on the East London Line, which will get twenty-four trains an hour.

It is my view that all of this extra rail traffic, will necessitate the turning of West End Lane into a proper pedestrian boulevard with very much reduced traffic levels. The only alternative would be to create a pedestrian tunnel.


May 30, 2015 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

London Overground: A Day’s Walk Around the Ginger Line by Iain Sinclair

The Evening Standard has a review of this book on their web site.

It looks like the book could be a good read for anybody who loves London and like me is seduced by the charms of London’s superb remodelling of the old railways into the London Overground.

Looking at the title, it would have to be a very fast walk to go round the Overground in a day, but one of the developments recently has been the opening of quality budget hotels like the Premier Inn in Dalston, close to me and virtually next door to where my maternal grandmother Upcott was born.

May 30, 2015 Posted by | Travel, World | , | Leave a comment

South Tottenham Station – 29th May 2015

The updated South Tottenham station is now recognisable as a station with two lift towers.

There has certainly been quite a bit of investment in the area around the station.

May 29, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Serial Cooking – Basmati Smoked Haddock With Curry Sauce

This was another recipe from  Lindsey Bareham in The Times, which I modified to be a supper for one made from a single smoked haddock from Marks and Spencer.

It is an interesting way to make a kedgeree like dish.

I enjoyed it, although I didn’t make a nice smooth sauce.

It was also the first time in my life, I’ve ever poached an egg in a pan of boiling water.

May 29, 2015 Posted by | Food | , , | Leave a comment

A Positive View Of The Overground Takeover

On Sunday, the London Overground will take over some of the Lea Valley Lines, that are currently being run by Abellio Greater Anglia.

I am optimistic, but don’t take my word for it, read this article in the Guardian. Even the title is optimistic – Clean, reliable and integrated: all change for neglected rail services in London.

This is a typical extract from the article.

Peter Austin, LOROL’s managing director, admits: “Change won’t happen overnight. But we’re determined to bring it up to the same standard. We’ll apply the same model to those lines: first to last staffing, new uniform, cleaner stations.

Austin confesses to having had doubts about the Overground’s potential when it started: “When we first went to Shepherd’s Bush we couldn’t believe how big the station was, we thought it was overengineered – but now we’ve just helped TfL open up a second entrance there … the increase in passenger demand has been phenomenal.”

Similarly, he says, on first visit he was sceptical of the immediate prospects for Imperial Wharf, a new station in west London built in 2009. “It has transformed beyond all recognition and a new [rail] hub has been part of driving that.

“Would urban regeneration have happened without the railway? Probably. But as successful, probably not.”

I think you can say that Peter Austin has been realistic, but then that is an attitude that means passengers are prepared to give the Overground a chance.

The last statement about urban regeneration is definitely correct here in Dalston. There is still the odd problem, but no-one seems to fear coming home late at night on the Overground.

Let’s hope that the improvement continues.

My only worry for the Overground is will Transport for London be able to find the budget to improve the terrible fifteen and the others that I let off, as being not-too-bad.

But the Overground has one thing going for it, that a train operator like Abellio Greater Anglia doesn’t! And that is that the boroughs like Hackney are prepared to co-operate and contribute to station improvements, as Hackney are doing at Hackney Wick station.

May 29, 2015 Posted by | Travel | | Leave a comment

I’ve Now Got Handrails On My Staircase

The handrails are now fitted on my staircase.

They were made and fitted by Handrail Systems from Sheffield.  I did think about brass, but in the end I settled for more affordable powder-coated steel.

May 29, 2015 Posted by | World | | Leave a comment

History Goes Round In Circles

I have just read this article on the BBC web site entitled Balloons take tech war to North Korea.

This is the first paragraph.

Some anti-North Korean activists firmly believe the best way to defeat Kim Jong-un’s regime is to break the cycle of propaganda served up every day to those living north of the border.

It got me thinking about the origins of printing with moveable type.

In some ways it was the Internet of its day, as suddenly information and books became available to anybody who could read.

My father always said that printing started to break the power of the church, as now you didn’t need a priest or monk to read the bible or learned books.

So are the balloons taking their CDs and information to North Korea, just another manifestation of everybody’s insatiable search for the truth? Let’s hope they are as successful in breaking the power of the evil regime in North Korea, as printing was in breaking the power of the Church.

May 29, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

The Aussies Get Into Home Batteries

As you might imagine, Australia with its sunshine and lots of remote communities could be a big market for battery technology like Tesla’s Powerwall. But this article in the Australian Financial Review shows why the country will be a big market.

It says that for example in Queensland, a third of the houses have solar panels, which must only increase the demand for batteries.

But it also says that the way the Australians charge for electricity is different to the United States and this makes batteries much more useful. I think that in the UK, we follow the Australian model. Except for the sun of course!

The article has some interesting details on how the price of the devices will go, especially as it says that Panasonic who are one of the Big 3 battery makers will be entering the market soon.

I all think it goes to show that each market is different and I suspect that the UK market will be different again, as most of us don’t live in houses that are too friendly to solar panels.

But my house is with its flat roof, and I am watching the price of solar panels, because I reckon in the next few years, I’ll be able to fit a very affordable system, that will take me substantially off-grid, with a battery in the garage.

Solar panels, battery technology and small innovative energy companies are going to give the Big 6 energy companies, one hell of a kicking.

May 29, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Problems On The GOBlin

There is a forceful article on the Waltham Forest Guardian website entitled ‘No quick solution’ to Overground ‘commuter crush’.

It describes the overcrowded Class 172 trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

It is another related problem to that of the Pacers all over the country, which is partially caused by the lack of availability of modern diesel multiple units. In the case of the GOBlin, there is also short platforms and a shortage of train paths caused by the freight train using the line.

It is a problem that won’t go away until longer trains come in with full electrification in 2018.


May 29, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment


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