The Anonymous Widower

The Plans For A New Hackney Wick Station

Hackney Wick station is one with two long ramps up to the platforms, which are on an embankment. This is a Google Earth image of the current station.

Hackney Wick Station

Hackney Wick Station

Note the Class 378 train in the Eastbound platform and the very long ramps.

This document on the Hackney Council web site announced the plans for a new station. It says this.

An £8.5 million project to upgrade Hackney Wick Station has been announced.

Improvements are set to include new routes to reduce journey times to iCITY and the Olympic Park, moving the station entrance to street level, a new and enlarged concourse, lifts for step free access and the creation of a north-south walkway for passengers and pedestrians through the railway embankment.

It certainly is a comprehensive rebuild. I clipped these two images from this document.

This is the station entrance.

Hackney Wick Station Entrance

Hackney Wick Station Entrance

And this is the view from the south side of the line.

Hackney Wick Station South Elevstion

Hackney Wick Station South Elevstion

In my view this design sets a powerful precedent, as it puts a subway into a station on an embankment with lift towers on either side of the tracks.


May 27, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

A Report On The DLR’s Future

In researching the Docklands Light Railway, I kept coming across references to a report called DLR Horizon 2020.

So I searched for it and found this copy on, which is a Freedom of Information web site.

It is a document from ten years ago now, but it does give some of the thinking behind the development of East London’s unique railway.

May 27, 2015 Posted by | Travel | | 1 Comment

The High Meads Loop At Stratford

If you travel on the North London Line from Hackney Wick station to Stratford station, you’ll see a rail line going off to the North side of the line under the Olympic Village.

High Meads Loop At Stratford Joins North London Line

High Meads Loop At Stratford Joins North London Line

If you travel up the Lea Valley Line, you’ll see the other end of the line.

High Meads Loop At Stratford Joins Lea Valley Line

High Meads Loop At Stratford Joins Lea Valley Line

This is the High Meads Loop and it is generally used to move freight trains. You can see it on this Google Earth image, as it curls round the western side of Stratford International station, starting from the triangular junction to the east of Hackney Wick station and the River Lea and eventually joining the Lea Valley Line between Stratford and the under-construction Lea Bridge station.

High Meads Loop

I walked around the area today starting from Stratford International DLR station and much of it is hidden under concrete in East Village.

What has always surprised me, is that this line doesn’t appear to have provision for a station, especially as it could connect to so many important places in the area.

But then it does seem to me that the design of the rail system in the area of the Olympic Park and Village didn’t put getting an efficient railway first. These questions must be answered.

1. Why was a fully-functional International station, built at Stratford International and has then never been used to run services to the Continent through the Channel Tunnel? This is answered partially in this section in Wikipedia about International services at the station. If Kent gets two stations at Ebbsfleet and Ashford International, then surely East London and Essex deserves one too!

2. Why too, is the link between the two Stratford stations, so much of an afterthought? Today, when I came back from my walk, there was the inevitable lost soul, who’d taken a train to Stratford International and needed to get a train to Romford. And his Narional Rail ticket wasn’t valid for the one-stop hop on the Docklands Light Railway. But this is East London and the Train Captain told him to ride Don’t get me wrong, I like the DLR, but surely for the Olympics we could have put a more spectacular or at least a better link between the two stations?

3. In some ways too, I often think that they used the high-speed service from St. Pancras to Stratford, just to give it something to do. For a start foreign day-trippers to the Olympics should have come straight into Stratford International on Eurostar. Why wasn’t this arranged?

4. I am pretty local to the Olympic Park and can get a train from Dalston Kingsland to Stratford. I went to the Olympic Park that way a couple of times, but to get home, the powers-that-be either sent you to Stratford International or West Ham. In one instance I walked to Clapton and got a bus home as everything was congested. The arrangements might have worked for getting to Central London, but they weren’t good for locals, who like me wanted to walk out of the Olympic Park and then probably get a bus home. One solution would have been to put more capacity on the North London Line, by extending the Class 378 trains to five cars, as is now being done. Why wasn’t this done on the North London Line in time for the Olympics? Especially, as the line has always been overcrowded compared to the East London Line.

5. Soon after the Olympics, I met a big cheese in the Docklands Light Railway on a train. He felt and I probably will agreed with him, that the DLR overperformed in the Olympics and dear old Cinderella didn’t miss a beat. I suspect though that to many she has more than a touch of Minnie Mouse, but to East Londoners and knowledgeable visitors, she is the way to travel, where you get a grandstand view much of the time. So why wasn’t more use made of the DLR for the Olympics by designing it into the heart of the Olympic Park?

6. We also had the farce of if you went to the Olympics from St. Pancras, you had to go through the Eastfield shopping centre to get into the Olympic Park. Why? Was the Olympics about sport or shopping?

7. Look at this Google Earth image of the Eastfield shopping centre.



Notice how the DLR goes under the centre and emerges on the west side before curving round to get to the station at Stratford International. It has always puzzled me that no provision has been made for an extra station on this loop. It strikes me that the developers feel most shoppers will bring their cars or not buy anything heavy. I would use the centre more if it was easier to get home from say John Lewis with perhaps something weighing ten or twenty kilos. Why was this extension of the DLR designed to be never more than a timid link?

If I look at some of the rail designs of the last few years, I get the impression, that they are less timid and not designed to be easiest to construct. The London Overground in particular has been innovative in some of its infrastructure to design affordable and efficient railways. Look at the Clapham Kiss as just one example.

In any developments to improve Stratford, there is also a thundering herd of elephants in the room, which will probably have more effect on what happens than any politician.

And that is Crossrail!

What is planned now is only Phase 1 of Crossrail and future developments will give Crossrail a bigger share of London’s passengers and even more influence.

1. Crossrail has been designed to take slightly longer trains and with its massively long platforms, the capacity of the system is quite a bit bigger than what we’ll see when the line opens.

2. Crossrail can also take more trains through the core, so we’ll definitely see extra branches on the line. Ebbsfleet on HS1 is safeguarded and Tring on the West Coast Main Line is being seriously studied.

3. Crossrail lacks an easy and hopefully cross-platform interchange to high speed services to Europe and in the future to the North. An easy interchange to HS1 at St. Pancras and Stratford is impossible, but one at Ebbsfleet could be incorporated with the extension of Crossrail to the station.

So what do I think should be done to sort out the sins of the pre-Olympic rail system development in the Stratford area?

1.  A Better Connection Between The Two Stratford Stations And To The Eastfield Shopping Centre.

Look at this Google Earth image of Stratford station.

Stratford Layout

Stratford Layout

The DLR branch between Stratford International and the core system passes underneath the rail lines, including Crossrail and the Overground , and the Central Line, at right angles.

The passenger connection between the DLR and the lines passing through above is not easy, although it is step-free. If you take the wrong tunnel from the rail lines, you end up on the wrong DLR platform.

As the two subways are one each side of the DLR lines, couldn’t something better be done to make this interchange easier? For a start how about a sign saying take these stairs from the through platform to get your DLR service to Stratford International?

I also think that there should have been a station on the DLR line underneath Eastfield. It would be interesting to know what the shopping centre thinks.


2. Will We Ever See International Services From The Station That Has The Word In Its Name?

If Crossrail extends to Ebbsfleet, this will take a big chunk out of High Speed passengers to Stratford and St. Pancras. If say you lived in East Kent and worked in the City or the West End of London, why would you not take a convenient service, High Speed or otherwise, to Ebbsfleet and then change to Crossrail for where you actually needed to go?

Stratford International also lacks an easy link to all of the other services at Stratford and especially to Crossrail, even if the DLR link is improved. But any cross-platform link is impossible!

Passengers will get increasingly fed up with second-rate stations, when they see some of the modern ones that work, like Reading and Kings Cross. St. Pancras may look spectacular, but it is a station that’s all fur coat and no knickers.

So Stratford International, which I find an unwelcoming place,  could become a massive white elephant, that had its brief moment of fame at the Olympics.

3. The Moans In North East London

Read the various Internet forums and web pages and some of the biggest complaints are about the poor transport links to and from places in  North East London and the Lea Valley, like Walthamstow, Leyton and Tottenham.

Things are improving,

The transfer of the Lea Valley Lines to an operator who cares about passengers in London and the uprating of the Victoria Line later this year, can’t be anything but positive.

But more could be done!

4. A Shoreditch High Street Station On The Central Line?

After Crossrail has bedded in, will we finally see a connection between the Central Line and the East London Line at Shoreditch High Street? I think we will as because Crossrail is an effective by-pass for the Central Line from Stratford to Liverpool Street, the Central Line could probably be shut for several months under Shoreditch High Street, whilst the link is created without causing too much inconvenience to passengers, except for those using Bethnal Green. But even those would have the new Whitechapel Crossrail station a couple of bus stops away

5. Extending the DLR to Tottenham Hale




May 26, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

No Wonder Lyle’s Is On The Evening Standard Shortlist

I was walking to Dalston Kingsland station today, when in a small park, I saw a guy picking elderberries from a tree in the children’s play area.I asked what he was doing and he said he was a Glaswegian chef from Lyle’s restaurant, and he was collecting it for cordial.

I read today in the Evening Standard that Lyle’s is on their short list for New Restaurant of the Year.

No wonder if the chef goes foraging in Hackney!

May 26, 2015 Posted by | Food | | Leave a comment

What It Must Be Like Inside The Hauer-King House

I took these pictures as I passed through West Ham station today, as its method of construction reminded me of the Hauer-King House in Islington.

The light shows interesting patterns, but I think it would get on your nerve after a time.

May 26, 2015 Posted by | World | | Leave a comment

The Downs End Of The Hackney Downs/Central Link

It isn’t as easy to see the Hackney Downs end of the Hackney Downs/Central Link, which is shown from the Hackney Central end in this post. However, I was able to take these pictures.

Some of them were actually taken from a pretty dirty Abellio Greater Anglia Class 315 train. Hopefully, when these trains are taken over by London Overground, they’ll be a lot cleaner. To get an idea of how complicated the pedestrian link will be, look at this Google Earth image of the North Eastern angle between the North-South Lea Valley Lines through Hackney Downs station and the East West North London Line through Hackney Central station.

Hackney Downs And Central Stations

Hackney Downs And Central Stations

Note that in the South-Western corner of this map is the Graham Road Ventilation Shaft for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

To further investigate I walked from Hackney Downs station parallel to the railway, before turning under the newly-reconstructed rail bridge on Marcon Place (Click here for a construction video!) and then walking round Spurstowe Road. This enlarged image shows where I walked better.

Enlarged Image

Enlarged Image

For information, the platforms at Hackney Downs station are numbered 4, 3, 2 and 1 from West to East (left to right).

These are the pictures I took as I walked.

I don’t think massive is an appropriate word for this walkway high in the sky. It certainly couldn’t be described as flimsy!

These pictures sort out a lot of questions, but they still don’t show how you walk from the top of the stairs and lift into Hackney Downs station.

This plan that I clipped from this page on the Dalstonist web site, appears to show that there will be a gap made in the wall behind Platform 1 to access the walkway.

Hackney Link Plan

Hackney Link Plan

TfL obviously have the figures and know the details of the various passenger interchanges between the two stations, but I can’t help feeling that at least one direct interchange other than between Platform 1 at Downs and Platform 2 at Central may well be necessary.

I would assume that there are plans for adding lifts between the platforms and the subway at Hackney Downs, but that will still mean a step-free walk from Platform 2, 3 or 4 at Hackney Downs to Platform 1 at Hackney Central will be four lift journeys.

If I look at my  own  use of the walkway, it will be in probably in changing between a train going East to one going North or the reverse. Both could need three lift journeys, although I generally can easily manage the foot bridge at Hackney Central.

However, mine and the usage of many others of the interchange would be improved or minimised, if Transport for London develop the Lea Valley Lines and other transport links in East London as many expect they will.

1. Higher frequencies from Hackney Downs to Chingford, Cheshunt and Enfield Town, which are currently four, two and two trains per hour respectively.

2. More trains between Stratford and Cheshunt via the new Lea Bridge station.

3. A reinstated Hall Farm Curve allowing trains to run from Chingford and Walthamstow to Stratford for Crossrail and all Stratford’s other services. Walthamstow to Stratford could go from a 43 minute journey to one of just twelve.

4. We’ve already had notice of a blockade on the Victoria Line this summer to enable track work, that will increase frequency to 36 trains per hour.

I also have a few questions that I would like to see answered.

1. There is a curve under the former Olympic Village that enables trains to go between the North London Line the Lea Valley Lines.  Are there any future plans for this curve?

2. Many passengers using the trains to and from Hackney arrive at the complex by bus. As the area around the stations is developed, will we see a much better bus interchange?

3. My personal favourite addition to the Hackney station complex would be to see a second entrance at Hackney Central direct into the westbound Platform 1, which for many journeys would avoid the need to cross between the two platforms at Hackney Central. Are there any plans to improve this access?

I suspect a lot more will be revealed in a few months.



May 25, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

TfL Rail Starts To Appear

It is not until next Sunday, the thirty-first, that Transport for London take over the Shenfield Metro services that will become part of Crossrail, but the signs are starting to appear.

It would appear that the only different between the Abellio Greater Anglia and TfL Rail version of the station nameplate, is the banding at the top.

May 25, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Fighting The Algae

I walked through the New River Walk in Islington this morning and the Council were doing their best to fight the algae.

The theory is if you put bales of barley straw in water infected with the algae, it helps to combat it.

They don’t seem to be having much success, but then I didn’t when I tried it years ago in one of my ponds.

May 25, 2015 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

The Hauer-King House

I came across this house in Douglas Road, Islington this morning.

The Hauer-King House

The Hauer-King House

There’s more about it here on the mimoa web site.

I bet it was a devil’s own job to get planning permission.

I’d love to have a look round.

May 25, 2015 Posted by | World | , | 2 Comments

A Trixi Mirror On The Essex Road

I saw this mirror on the traffic lights by Essex Road station a few weeks ago from the top of a bus, but it was only when I walked that way this morning, that I was able to photograph it.

A Trixi Mirror On The Essex Road

A Trixi Mirror On The Essex Road

It’s a Trixi mirror, from a company called Convex Mirrors amd is designed to protect cyclists from trucks and buses turning left, by making the driver more likely to see the rider.

May 25, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment


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