Sunday, 21 February 2016

Barking and Gospel Oak Line (London Overground) long term closure. c 2 years before we see electric trains

The line will close for around 8 months so that electrification and related works can be carried out. The details below (slightly edited) were provided by the Barking & Gospel Oak Rail User Group. The closure will also be used to carry out other necessary works unrelated to electrification

* Last day for through Barking - Gospel Oak trains will be Friday 3 June 2016
* Gospel Oak - South Tottenham trains will continue running on weekdays only until 23 September 2016
* The whole line will then be closed until 7 February 2017 when rail passenger services resume with 2-car diesel trains but with continuing weekend closures until the overhead catenary is cleared for use by electric trains in June 2017
* The existing 2-car diesels will continue to operate until early 2018 when new 4-car electric trains enter service
* Around 500 Overhead catenary support masts are required.
* The pedestrian route across Walthamstow Queen's Road footbridge will closed throughout the works
* About 1500m of trackbed will have to be lowered by up to 0.5m through Walthamstow Queen's Road and concrete slab track used to create required clearances.
* Road over rail bridges at Upper Hollway, Harringay Park Junction and Walthamstow Queen's Road will have to be rebuilt.
* platforms will be lengthened to accommodate 4-car trains
* The long delayed step-free access scheme at Blackhorse Road was expected to be completed by the end of 2016 but the DfT are now reviewing the funding they provided for this.

RAIL REPLACEMENT BUS SERVICES every 15 minutes increased to every 10 minutes Mon-Fri peak times

 ROUTE 'T' BARKING - WALTHAMSTOW CENTRAL from 4 June 2016 until 7 February 2017
* Barking Station
* Woodgrange Park Station
* Wanstead Park Station
* Harrow Green (for Leytonstone High Road station)
* Leyton Midland Road station
* Walthamstow Central ROUTE 'J' GOSPEL OAK - SEVEN SISTERS weekends from 4 June 2016, then daily from 24 September 2016 until 7 February 2017
* Highgate Road (for Gospel Oak station)
* Upper Holloway [?Station]
* Hornsey Road/Hanley Road (for Crouch Hill station)
* Finsbury Park Station * Harringay Green Lanes station
* Seven Sisters station

 There is currently no information regarding any ticket acceptances by other bus or rail/Underground services.

Charity furniture and white goods re-use project near Ilford-Barking border is based at the Barking end of Uphall Road, Ilford.

They collect and refurbish furniture and white goods and sell them on at low prices with discounts for benefits claimants.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Money saving tips for London train commuters

Since about now is a popular time to renew season tickets to miss the Jan fare rise, two - hopefully useful - tips. 
1. If your season is an Annual Travelcard costing GBP 1500 or more, buy it at Marylebone Station from the Chiltern ticket office. It then counts as a qualifying season for unlimited weekend travel on the entire Chiltern network. 
2. If your season is an Annual Travelcard, it'll come with a Network Gold card giving you a third off some fares on trains in the South East. However, it won't be coded onto your Oyster card, so you won't get a third off cash Oyster fares (eg the extension fare charged when travelling beyond your Zones). Go to an Underground ticket office (where they exist) or a roving member of staff (where they don't), ask nicely and they'll sort you out.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

New Rail Journey Planner

Fares supremo Barry Doe is recommending - see Rail Magazine 786. This is by Paul Kelly and Nick Brown, the creators of the website which can find you significant fare savings by showing you where to spilt your ticket (NOT your journey).

Barry continues to recommend, but future plans for fastjp are for "a major new system that will incorporate fares as well [as times]".

I like the fact that up to 5 start and/or end stations can be specified - useful for those times when there is more than one convenient station at either end of your journey (though places like (say) Manchester with several stations called Manchester something are - as is usual - grouped together as if one station  as an alternative to the separate stations.)

Barry dislikes the fact that most train fare websites constrain you to entering journey times, even if you plan to buy an "any time" ticket. We look forward to a site that allows the user to select ticket types before train times, if s/he wishes.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Gospel Oak Line Woes with rail and path closures

The Victoria line is closed between Walthamstow Central and Seven Sisters until 30 August, and there will be a reduced service on the rest of the line.

Instead of Blackhorse Road, then, change between the B&GO and the Victoria at Seven Sisters / South Tottenham. This is an official out-of-station interchange and the shortest route for walking/cycling  is (unsignposted) via Stonebridge Road, opposite S Tottenham Station.

This closure is likely to mean even more people attempting to use the already badly overcrowded B&GO between South Tottenham and Walthamstow Queen's Road, though there are rail replacement buses.

To add insult to injury, the not long opened direct walking route between Walthamstow Central and Queen's Rd - via Ray Dudley Way - is closed until 6 September, and according to the B&GO user group, the diversionary route (via Shrubland Road) has not been [well] signposted as at 8 August.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Railway Working timetables

These are the actual timetables that the railway works to, as distinct from what it shows to the public. There are dozens of pdfs at I was a bit surprised to find, on a schematic map, "Gospal Oak" for Gospel Oak and "Leyton Road East" for Leyton Midland Road.

This information is presented in a more user-friendly way at: and

I'm in the habit now when catching a train from a large or unfamiliar station, of noting which platform the train is booked to use. The train doesn't always use the booked platform, but this information is likely to be useable in the majority of occasions when they do.

You can get an incredible amount of detail - including about non-passenger trains - from this information.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Local Group Vox Pop - Barking & Dagenham

Prompted by the article in the Summer 2015 London Cyclist magazine, sub-headed 'LCC members explain how they got involved with their local groups and what they most enjoy about it'. I thought I'd do a vox pop on myself, using the same questions, but with no editor limiting the word count!

What is your role within the group?

What isn't? The answer to my question is that I'm not the treasurer, but any other named role you can think of, that's me. It's not to say others don't help, but no-one else apart from me and our treasurer has taken on a named role.

How long have you been involved?

In LCC 24 years this year.

What motivated you to join your group?

My older brother told me about LCC in about 1990 and from what I can remember I joined straight away. I was already campaigning. Then I met David Flintham who was running the B&D branch and the Havering branch as one. David persuaded me to run the B&D branch separately. I remember he referred to my "obvious skill and experience". Flatterer.

In your opinion, what's the best thing your group has ever achieved?

Possibly the input the the London Cycling Guides now published by TfL. That said, we have seen a sea change in the official attitudes to cycling in the last few years. Can we claim to be part of that?

In a typical month, what sort of activities do you get up to as part of your role?

Reporting potholes and other road defects, checking the press for new developments / street works to ensure they are cycle friendly. Checking the actual streetscape to see if it is cycle-friendly, especially where the plans said it would be. Updating with any rides / events in or near the area. Reporting abandoned bikes to the council and to Gascoigne Cycling Centre for intended rcovery and re-use. Updating Facebook. Being the liaison between the LCC office and the branch.

What bike do you ride and how long have you been cycling?

I have a Dawes Streetwise Nexus, much of which dates back to 1996, and a Brompton M3, from this century. I have been riding for over 40 years.

What's the best thing about cycling in your borough?

I would say bikes on trains. Although we are served by The Underground, our railway lines are not under ground (except for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link!). Bikes are allowed on trains on all lines serving the borough. This makes getting out of the built up area with your bike easy (outside peak times).

And the worst thing?

The hills. No  - joking - there aren't any. I would say the severance caused by the A13, A406 and A12 trunk roads.

What would you say to get people involved?

More members of LCC means more campaigning weight and - we hope - a better deal for cycling - and this applies at branch level too. Eyes and ears on the ground in as many parts of the borough would improve our knowledge of what's goig on as it affects cycling.