The Anonymous Widower

Crossrail 2 At Dalston

In a post called An Opportunity For Dalston, I looked at how a double-ended station for Crossrail 2 might connect with both Kingsland and Junction stations. I felt it could bring major advantages to the area of not requiring any demolition, except for the unloved Kingsland station, much better interchange for passengers and improved pedestrians routes in the area.

I concluded that all was possible because the Victorians spaced the stations to enable a modern Crossrail station to fit in between. This map from the Crossrail 2 web site, shows the two stations and the safeguarded area.

Crossrail 2 In Dalston

Crossrail 2 In Dalston

The rail line at the far right or north is the North London Line with High Speed One beneath. The safeguarded area would appear to follow the Kingland High Road, but it does pass close to both stations.

I just thought it was logical and never envisaged that those working on the project would entertain a similar idea. But after contacting my MP, I have received a letter from Michele Dix, who is the Managing Director of Crossrail 2. This is a paragraph.

We have been working closely with the London borough of Hackney on the early development of the proposals for how Crossrail 2 could ultimately serve Dalston. The work to date has been based around delivering a double-ended station, with one end being at Dalston Junction, and the other at Dalston Kingsland, thereby allowing the Crossrail 2 station to link to both existing stations. As Mr. Miller rightly points out, the distance between the existing stations is well suited to the 250m long platforms that will be required for the Crossrail 2 station, and the greater interchange opportunities to London Overground services also deliver significant benefits.

Various factors will also drive the design of the Crossrail 2 station and the related Dalston Kingsland station at Dalston.

1. Crossrail 2 will have to get past and probably under High Speed One and the Dalston Curve, that takes the East London Line to Canonbury and Highbury and Islington. So it will be a deep line, where any stations will need escalators and/or lifts. These stations will also probably be built from the tunnel up, as parts of Whitechapel station are being built for Crossrail.

2. Could Dalston Kingsland station be designed as a station with entrances on both sides of Kingsland High Street, perhaps with a single island platform served by escalators and lifts?

3. Demolition of any quality buildings will stir up a lot of opposition.

4. There isn’t many places to put a work site, with the possible exception of the Car Park in Bentley Road which is in the safeguarded area.

5.Surely the Ridley Road market could be improved by good design of the new stations.

I think there is a chance for a good architect with a bit of vision to create an innovative world class station.

Perhaps, we need our own versions of these distinctive fosteritos to access the Crossrail 2 station from the surface.

These were designed by Sir Norman Foster for the Bilbao Metro. Hence the name!

I also think that if the design is right, Crossrail 2 can sneak its way through Dalston, with little disruption and no demolition of a building worth saving.,

Why shouldn’t us plebs in Dalston have the best?

March 28, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

How Where I Live Now Looked In 1949

This is an image of Dalston from Britain from Above taken in 1949.

Dalston In 1949

Dalston In 1949

This is the same area today from Google Earth.

Dalston In 2014

Dalston In 2014

In the Google Earth image, the Overground lines are marked in orange and Dalston Junction station is marked by a red arrow.

In the aerial image the following can be clearly seen.

1. The platforms at the old Dalston Junction station in the bottom right hand corner.

2. The A10 road stretching away to the North.

3. The Balls Pond Road stretching towards Highbury Corner.

I can pick out more, but then I live in a house that was built ten years ago and is or would be in the bottom left hand corners of both images.

February 5, 2015 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Walking Through My Maternal Grandparents’ Lives

My maternal grandmother, Harriet Martha Upcott, was born opposite Dalston Junction station in Dalston Lane in May 1871. In September 1894, she married my grandfather, Henry Millbank, who had been born in Clerkenwell in 1870. Census and other records show that in 1894 they lived at 29 Dalston Lane and then by 1901 they had moved to 90, Princess May Road in Stoke Newington. As Princess May Road is perhaps a kilometre from where I live now, I walked round all these places this morning.

In some ways, one thing that struck me as I walked in a semi-circle to St. Mark at the back of the famous Ridley Road Market was how intact the late Victorian terraces were. But why was 90, Princess May Road missing. Was it just development or did the Luftwaffe have a hand? I shall go to the Hackney Records Office opposite where my grandmother was born in the week.

It was a family joke between my parents, that my grandmother was born in the Balls Pond Road, when it was posh the first time around. The Balls Pond Road is the continuation of Dalston Lane towards Islington.

I can’t salso ever remember talk of Dalston, despite my mother having worked at Reeves. Stoke Newington and Islington were mentioned.

January 18, 2015 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Can We Extend Overground Connectivity In North London?

The East London Line has four termini in South London; New Cross, West Croydon, Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction, but only two in the North; Dalston Junction and Highbury and Islington.

In the North the Lea Valley Lines are being added to the system and although these lines meet the North London Line at the Hackney Downs/Central station complex, they are not intimately connected to the core route of the East London Line, as this would need a change of train at Canonbury.

So how could we improve the extend the connectivity?

Hackney Central/Downs

I regularly take the Overground from Stratford to my home. On a wet day, I would take a train to Canonbury from Stratford, walk across the platform to a southbound train and then go one stop to Dalston Junction, from where I would get a bus two stops to my home. On a sunny day, I might change at Hackney Central to a 38 bus or walk from Dalston Kingsland.

But I usually take the Canonbury route, as it has the least amount of walking and if I’ve got a heavy parcel, there is a lift at Dalston Junction.

The two Hackney stations are being connected by a covered high level walk and this would help those changing between the North London Line and Lea Valley and Cambridge services.

But two other things could be done, if the run-down area around the stations is redeveloped.

If you want to get a bus or walk to the Town Hall area, after alighting on the westbound platform at Hackney Central, you have to cross the tracks on a footbridge. An entrance needs to be provided on the south side of the station.

The connection to the buses are better than they were a few years ago, but Downs/Central should have easy access to stops for the high-frequency bus routes that pass through the area.

I have a feeling that they may have spent a lot of money on making the footbridge step-free with lifts and in a few years time, it will be rarely used, as other better routes are developed. A southern entrance would help in this respect.

Crossrail 2 will be the driving force here, as the planners have stated a preference for only having one station in Hackney, to save a billion pounds. Whether this station is Dalston Junction or Hackney Downs/Central doesn’t matter, provided that these two stations are connected by other means. There are already two routes; the North London Line and the high-frequency buses.

For this reason, the access to buses from Hackney Downs/Central must be made as easy as possible. But that doesn’t need to wait for Crossrail 2!

There is a superb opportunity here for a developer to create a real town centre at Hackney Central/Downs, of which everybody can be proud. The original station building is not used, but it is a building worthy of saving as are few other historic buildings in the area.

An Extra Terminal In The North

If the frequency on the core section of the East London Line is increased from 16 tph to 24 tph as is stated in TfL’s plans, there could be a need for another Northern terminus to supplement Dalston Junction and Highbury and Islington, where these trains could turn back.

An extra terminus might ease the overcrowding that is prevalent at Highbury and Islington.

In the original plans for the Overground, there was talk about some East London Line trains going as far as Willesden Junction and terminating there.

With plans for a new super station at Old Oak Common, that could be a possibility. But even New Cross to Old Oak Common would be a journey of about an hour, and there will be faster  ways via Crossrail at Whitechapel.

So a terminus for the East London Line at Willesden Junction or Old Oak Common, would be more about inceasing the frequency of trains on the North London Line, by using some of the eight extra trains an hour on the East London Line to provide the extra trains.

There are two other possibilities for extra Northern terminals.

If the Dalston Eastern Curve were to be reopened, then trains could move easily between Hackney Downs/Central and Stratford and the East London Line.

This would mean that Stratford could be an additional terminal and also that some East London Line trains could have an interchange with the Lea Valley Lines.

There is also a curve at Canonbury that connects the North London Line to the East Coast Main Line. It used to be double track, but is only single track now! So could this be used to get to a new Northern terminus?

The Canonbury Curve To The East Coast Main Line

The Canonbury Curve To The East Coast Main Line

It all depends on the passenger flows, which of course TfL has at its fingertips.

We must also take note of passenger behaviour in using cross-city railways.

When Crossrail opens in 2019, all parameters will change, as many who want to use the East London Line to get on the Underground at Highbury and Islington, might get on Crossrail at Whitechapel instead. This passenger will probably go to Oxford Street, by walking to Dalston Junction, before taking the East London Line to Whitechapel for Crossrail. The alternative of taking a bus to Highbury and Islington and then getting the Victoria line, means I have to use a station I avoid as much as possible, due to the excessive walking involved to get to the trains.

The Eastern Curve At Dalston Junction

This seems an easy option to improve connectivity, as it would allow trains to pass easily between Stratford and Hackney Downs/Central and the East London Line. But there are two problems.

It might be a difficult sell to the Dalstonistas and the shopping centre at Dalston Kingsland is being redeveloped, although the Eastern Curve is safeguarded.

It would seem though, that in the next couple of years, there is a chance to make a good fist of sorting out the shops and stations at Dalston.

Tying In The Lea Valley Lines

There has been little or no speculation about how the London Overground will link the Lea Valley Lines to their current lines. London Overground has said that it will deep clean the trains and stations and that new trains are on the way.

They have also got at least three out of station interchanges between the new lines and the current system.

  1. Walthamstow Central to Walthamstow Queens Road.
  2. Hackney Downs to Hackney Central, although the way that is going, it will probably become a single station.
  3. Seven Sisters to South Tottenham

There are also a couple of junctions where useful connectivity already exists.

There is a rail line that goes between the Lee Valley Lines and the North London Line, virtually straight under the old Athletes’ Village. This is the North London Line End just after Hackney Wick station.

NLL To LVL Link At Stratford

NLL To LVL Link At Stratford

And this is the other end on the Lea Valley Line, between Stratford and Tottenham Hale

NLL To LVL Link At Stratford

NLL To LVL Link At Stratford

Incidentally, I don’t think there is a station under all those dwellings.

There is also another junction that links the Lea Valley Line to the Gospel Oak to Barking Line to the East of South Tottenham station.

Perhaps the most interesting proposal though, is to reinstate the Hall Farm Curve in conjunction with the reopening of Lea Bridge station. I travel to Walthamstow Central regularly and the curent timetable of the GreaterAnglia service is a bit threadbare to say the least. So if this curve is reopened, will we see trains linking Walthamstow to Stratford and even to and along the North London Line by way of the link I showed in the pictures to my local station at Dalston.

If the Eastern Curve at Dalston Junction was to be reinstated, then some of those extra trains through the core section of the East London Line could go to Walthamstow and Chingford.

Summing Up

The more I look at the East London Line, the basic concept of a high frequency line through Marc Brunel’s Thames Tunnel, fanning out to several destinations on both sides of the river, was a stroke of genius, which was probably dreamed up in the time-honoured manner of so many other good ideas on the back of serviettes, beer mats or fag packets in a real ale hostelry somewhere.

Who can predict with any certainty what the Overground will look like in 2020, let alone the 2050 target of Transport for London?

The only certainty is that Transport for London will have created another iconic brand to go with Underground and Routemaster.

It could also be argued that London’s three new cross-London lines;Thameslink, Crossrail and East London, are all following a similar design of a central tunnelled core, with a collection of branches at each end.

Certainly the current Thameslink and East London Line have shown that the concept works and if they perform in the next few years, this can only mean that further lines in London and further afield follow a similar pattern. Crossrail is adding more branches and termini and the basic design for the proposed Crossrail 2 appears to have been designed by the use of a photocopier.



August 11, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should Crossrail 2 Serve Dalston Junction And/Or Hackney Central?

The latest proposal for Crossrail 2 says this about the routes north of Angel station.

Further work to reduce the overall cost of the scheme and to minimise environmental impacts during both construction and operation has resulted in a potential change to the proposal for Crossrail 2 in this area. Rather than the route splitting at Angel with one tunnel going via Dalston and the other via Hackney, a single route would continue as far as Stoke Newington or Clapton, at which point the line would split, with one branch towards Seven Sisters and New Southgate and the other towards Tottenham Hale and Hertford East. 

So it looks like it’s either call at Dalston Junction or Hackney Central stations, but not both.

Before I discuss which of the two locations is served, I will make a few assumptions.

Crossrail is going to provide up to 24 two hundred metre long trains per hour, that can each carry up to 1,500 passengers between Whitechapel and Paddington as detailed here. Thameslink will also be using a frequency of 24 trains per hour.

So it is reasonable to assume that Crossrail 2 will have similar frequency and probably use similar trains to Crossrail, so there’ll be an awful lot of passengers on the line.

But they are proposing Crossrail 2 for the future not for 2014.

By that time the  Overground will be running more trains and they will be at least five-car trains. Judging by the modular nature of the Class 378 trains, which have already gone from three to four and will be going to five coaches later this year, who’s to say what the length will be? The limiting factor is the length of platforms, but I think I read somewhere, that most stations could go to six. At those that couldn’t take six coaches, selective door opening could be used.

Station improvements will also increase the capacity of the system.

With the redevelopment of the Kingsland Shopping Centre and the various redevelopment between the two stations, I would hope that the walk between the two Dalston stations ; Junction and Kingsland, becomes a pleasant sheltered one past cafes and shops, rather than a precarious scramble up the side of a busy road on a crowded and exposed pavement. If the Dalston Kingsland station entrance was moved to the eastern side of the Kingsland Road, this would shorten the walk and mean that only one major road had to be crossed.

As the Lea Valley Lines will have been fully incorporated in the Overground by then, Hackney Central should have been combined with Hackney Downs to effectively be one station. I’ve believed for some time that the two stations should be made one, with a proper interchange to the buses. I suspect too, that the station improvements could be part of a large property development in the area, as could the improvements at Dalston.

So by the time Crossrail 2 is finished both Dalston Kingsland/Junction and Hackney Downs/Central could be two substantially developed stations with lots of apartments, shops, offices and leisure facilities, with the North London Line between them. At present there are eight trains per hour and an awful lot of buses between the two areas.

I think we can see, why the planners have virtually said that it’s an either..on between the two stations. Cutting out one station supposedly cuts a billion off the bill for the project.

So which will get built?

It’s very much a case of who pays the money gets the tune.

But I think as Hackney Central/Downs will be the better connected station, it might well get the vote.

But remember one of the rules of the planning of large and expensive projects. What gets delivered in the end is often very different to what was originally proposed. Look at the simple example from Crossrail, where the line was originally planned to run to Maidenhead, but was extended to Reading, in March 2014.

So what could happen to change the scope of Crossrail 2?

The Overground has a problem of not enough capacity, which is partly made worse by all the freight trains travelling along it. So will a radical solution be made to remove most of the freight trains away from the Overground? This problem is going to get worse as more ships call at London Gateway, so sending more freight trains on the North London and Gospel Oak to Barking Lines (GOB) will be increasing unpopular, with both TfL and residents. Although hopefully in a few years, the noisy Class 66 diesel locomotives, will have been replaced with quieter electric ones.

But one solution could be incorporated into the Overground that would make the one station in Hackney work better. And that would be to reinstate the Eastern Curve at Dalston Junction to enable trains to go between the East London Line and Stratford.

The more I think about it, to make a one station concept work, freight must be removed from the North London Line. Read what the London Gateway Wikipedia entry says about distribution, which says trains will go partly at night on the GOB.

Rail logistics partner DB Schenker Rail (UK) plan to run four intermodal trains per day (mainly overnight) via Barking and Gospel Oak to the West Coast Main Line. 

What will the residents living by the GOB, think of the noise at night?

June 18, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Payday Lenders Fight Back

Payday lenders have had a lot of bad publicity today.  So Oakam in Dalston decided to fight back.

Payday Lenders Fight Back

Payday Lenders Fight Back

I suppose the only guy doing well is the guy on stilts.

Perhaps we need more street performers on the High Street.

October 3, 2013 Posted by | Finance, World | , | 1 Comment

Dalston On BBC Breakfast

Dalston featured in a report on BBC Breakfast this morning.

It was all about payday loans.

It is almost impossible to walk down the Kingsland Road without falling over the endless number of boards offering loans on the street.

All loans no matter where they are from, should be properly registered on a central database, which is then checked for anomalies and excessive borrowings.

The FCA is imposing new regulations as reported here on the BBC.

But no matter what regulations are tabled, it will not stop people borrowing at rates, they can’t afford. So the new regulations will probably turn out to be a business opportunity for loan sharks.

October 3, 2013 Posted by | Business, Finance, News | , | Leave a comment

You Don’t Get Behaviour Like This On The Dalston Omnibus!

This tragic tale from Biggleswade, shows what you get when you mix two men of my age, shopping and an argument over parking.

You certainly don’t get any behaviour like this on the Dalston omnibus to or from Waitrose at the Angel. The most outrageous behaviour I saw, was a guy laughing at two ladies sitting beside each other who were probably about fifty years old; one black and one white, who’d both hurt a leg and their hospitals had furnished them each with one crutch. Everybody saw the funny side! Especially the ladies!

I do wonder sometimes, why people bother with driving. I miss it like a hole in the head!

I’ve actually never been to Asda and if you get killed in their car parks, I doubt I will now!

August 4, 2013 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Look At This Guy!

Everybody is getting into the swing of the Dalston House.

These two pictures show someone enjoying himself.

June 27, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

The Dalston House

I went to look at the Dalston House Art Installation by Leandro Erlich, this  morning.

The idea is basically very simple.  a fake house front has been created on the ground and a large mirror at 45° has been placed so that if you say sit in the windows of the house, you can  see yourself sitting in the reflection.

It was fascinating and many of those exploring it, seemed to feel they were children again.

One of the best things, was seeing the expression on a three-year-old’s face as he walked towards the mirror, seeing himself  sticking out of the wall.

I can see that this simple idea being replicated all over the world.

My mother used to work at Reeves just round the corner and she used to tell a tale about how an enormous German bomb in the Second World War, destoryed a lot of the area.  I checked at the library and the whole site, where the Dalston House has been built was a bomb site.  They have a copy of the LCC Bomb Damage Book, which is a must-read book, for anybody, who lives or is thinking of living in an area of London that suffered bombing.

And to make everything even better, there is no entry charge to see this unusual work of art.

You just turn up and play! But they do limit the time you spend walking up and down the house to five or six minutes!

June 26, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , , | 2 Comments


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