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Overground Lengthened

Lots of publicity is currently appearing in all Overground stations, including a nice map showing you what work is taking place at Overground stations to extend the length of the platforms to accommodate five-car trains.

Overground extension map

Overground extension map

The new longer trains should be ready to roll out and be in operation from December of this year, and you can see work taking place all over the Overground network to lengthen platforms, as can be seen here at West Brompton.

West Brompton Extension

West Brompton Extension


10 Jul 14

Pop up at Embankment

We noticed this when passing through Embankment the other day – all the shops in the ticket hall area have now been closed – permanently – and the southern entrance/exit is having tiling work done.

We spoke to a member of station staff who said that the shops were going to be replaced with a ‘Pop up shop’ instead, followed quickly by ‘Or maybe a Marks & Spencer’s’, which seem like two different things to us.   We’ll keep an eye on it, to see what they put there … but that means we’ll have to update our App (and Map!) for facilities at this station!

Closed shops

Closed shops

17 Jun 14

S Stock Collision

S7 Damage

S7 Damage

Details have now come out about a minor collision between two District Line trains last week.

It occurred near Putney Bridge between two of the new S7 trains running on the branch between Wimbledon and Edgware Road, and all new S Stock trains were immediately withdrawn, whilst an investigation took place.

It also led to the unusual occurrence of some C Stock trains not running to Wimbledon and being sent to Ealing Broadway and Richmond instead.

D Stock trains continued to run to Wimbledon as normal.

The story appears in the Evening Standard and on the BBC News website.


10 May 14

New Pudding Mill Lane Station Open

The new Docklands Light Railway Pudding Mill Lane station, which is now the largest on the DLR network, was open today to the public for the first time; so, of course, we went along there to have a look for ourselves.

New Pudding Mill Lane

New Pudding Mill Lane

The new concrete and glass station is in a slightly different location, as the previous station is being demolished to make way for the Crossrail tunnel portal at Pudding Mill Lane where it will join existing railway lines through North East London to Essex. DLR passengers will be able to interchange with Crossrail at Stratford station. The new station is also double-tracked and trains arrive there together regularly as clockwork, Crossrail say this will boost capacity and enable the railway to carry an extra 1,100 passengers per hour on the route between Stratford and Canary Wharf / Lewisham.

The New Platforms

The New Platforms

There were many other people there, taking photographs and generally having a look at the pristine new station on its opening day and a surprising number of staff (we counted at least 7 or 8), for what until 10 days ago was a tiny station, we’re not sure why or if they were suddenly expecting an influx of passengers now the station is bigger! However we noticed that the lifts aren’t presently working so it may have been they were there to assist with accessibility needs until the snagging work going on by the builders is completed.

Pudding Mill Lane - Old Station

Pudding Mill Lane – Old Station

It was also very noisy, as the work has already begun to demolish the old station.

Of the people there, we were lucky enough to be able to meet the architect of the new station, Dan Moore, who was taking photographs of his work and was justifiably proud of what had been achieved with a DLR station, compared to the old “Tin shed in the sky” as he put it.

He very kindly pointed out some interesting features of the station to us, that aren’t immediately obvious to the casual observer.

e.g. Presently, there are three staircases side-by-side up to each of the platforms. But, underneath the outside two staircases, they have already built escalator pits and space for machine-gear, so once the stations gets busier they can simply lift the staircases out and install escalators. Clever eh?!

Pudding Mill Lane Exterior

Pudding Mill Lane Exterior

Also, as you enter the station (currently behind hoardings) there is a large brick façade. This façade currently conceals 1000 square metres of retail space, so when it’s needed, it can be demolished and shops fitted out in its place. There’s even a yard area behind the station for deliveries and refuse etc, again all planned for future expansion as the surrounding area becomes more developed, and the station busier.

Pudding Mill Lane - Exit

Pudding Mill Lane – Exit

Outside the station there is still some Crossrail work and access required, so there is a hoarded off walkway to get you to Stratford High Street, and also a separate access route to take you onto the Greenway (which is well worth a walk on if you’ve never been there), the View Tube and on to the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park (but it wasn’t signposted as such).

Diamond Geezer was down there at 7am when it opened has now put a complete Flickr gallery of photos online.

And lastly, of course, no Station Master visit to a station would be complete without the obligatory noting of the best exits, counting the steps and facilities and a sketch map of the station so we can update that information for the next release of the App!

28 Apr 14

New Exit at London Bridge

New Signage

New Signage

The proliferation of new style ‘Yellow on Black’ signs that first appeared at King’s Cross a while ago are now starting to spread to the rest of the Underground.  London Bridge, we noticed when passing through the other day, is now full of them.  We’d go so far to say that there are too many and they are distracting from all the regular signage that you’re used to.

But we also spotted something else – a new entrance/exit to the ticket hall!  It’s linked to The Shard, and at the moment, it’s just an arcade of retail outlets which have yet to be let out, so there’s nothing really going on, but it is marginally quicker to go this way if you want to exit by The Shard.

New entrance/exit to ticket hall

New entrance/exit to ticket hall


25 Feb 14

Acton Town DMIs

The slow rollout of platform Dot Matrix Indicators actually showing the ‘next train’ information (after years of them being installed without showing it) continues its progress as we notice they’re now working at South Ealing and here shown – At Acton Town – useful when you’re going up to Ealing Common and you’re trying to work out if the Piccadilly or District service is going to leave first.

Whether a train in ‘3 minutesactually arrives in 3 minutes though is another matter, and we’ve got an idea that we’ll be blogging about soon, to check the actual timings of trains.

Acton Town DMI

Acton Town DMI

11 Feb 14

Liverpool Street Crossrail Station progress

After our visit a couple of weekends ago to the sites of the new Bond Street Crossrail station that are currently under construction this week we were able to visit part of the new Crossrail Liverpool Street Station.

Just like Bond Street, as the new station has very long platforms, it will also have two ticket halls; a western one at Moorgate (the station entrance in Moorfields) and an eastern one at Blomfield Street. At these sites, shafts that will provide ventilation and emergency access, and house mechanical and electrical equipment for the new ticket halls are currently under construction. There will also be connecting corridors at each ticket hall to enable interchange between The Underground at Moorgate and Liverpool Street.

The 250 metre long platform tunnels are currently being excavated and constructed from a temporary worksite in Finsbury Circus. Crossrail’s tunnel boring machines will travel through these tunnel later in 2014 to complete the route to Farringdon.

You can see the Finsbury Circus site in the background of the photograph below.  The area behind the blue hoardings is a compensation grouting shaft site.  The red coloured construction to the left was a device intended to load lorries taking away earth from the site, but was found to be too noisy in practical operation. Noise is constantly measured by microphones (see if you can spot them on the buildings) and any breach of the noise regulations is notified by text message to the contractors and the City of London automatically.

Crossrail Moorgate Shaft site

Crossrail Moorgate Shaft site

The existing ABN AMRO Bank building on the site was demolished and some of the piles that used to support it removed before work commenced on the shaft itself in 2013.

Crossrail Shaft Construction at Moorgate

Crossrail Shaft Construction at Moorgate

86 tonne mobile crane at Moorgate

86 tonne mobile crane at Moorgate

60 metre high diaphragm walls were constructed first (you can see these around the outside and are textured identically to the ground from which they were dug), the supporting structure for the mobile crane was put into the ground (it is further cross braced as it gets revealed as the excavation progresses) and then the actual excavation of the material in the shaft commenced.

Reinforced concrete supporting rings (containing 2000 tonnes of steel) are constructed as the shaft gets deeper to support the walls.  Once complete the shaft will be 40 metres deep.

The mobile crane in use is brand new, weighs 86 tonnes and was delivered from Switzerland at Christmas. A very exciting Christmas present for the project the site manager told us!  One for the crane-spotters!

We’ll also be posting about the Crossrail Whitechapel and Farringdon sites later on in February too.

10 Feb 14

Bond Street Crossrail Station progress

This weekend we were lucky enough to be able to visit both sites of the new Bond Street Crossrail station that are currently under construction.

The new station will have two ticket halls, the western is at 65 Davies Street (behind the current Underground station) and the eastern is on the corner of Hanover Square and Tenterden Street.

From the 2nd floor of Crossrail’s offices next door we were able to get a birds-eye view over the Davies Street site:

Bond Street Western Ticket Hall site.

Bond Street Western Ticket Hall site.

The walls and excavation for the 25-metre deep ticket hall at Davies Street were completed by Costain Skanska Joint Venture (CSJV) last year and the site has now been handed over to Crossrail’s tunnelling contractor BFK who will construct the pedestrian access tunnels and station platforms.  The site will then be handed back to CSJV who will complete the ground floor.  Another developer will add further storeys to the building which will be clad in bronze.

The Bond Street platform tunnels were completed last year when tunnel boring machine “Phyliss” passed just to the south of the station box.  This was followed by TBM “Ada” whose route went directly through the site of the (at the time unexcavated) station.  BFK now have to mine from the station box to reach the southern platform tunnels.

This part of the station has been built directly over the Jubilee line and many controls were in place between CSJV, Crossrail and TfL to make sure that no damage could accidentally occur.  The site will also be connected by a new pedestrian tunnel to the new Bond Street Underground station ticket hall and entrance on Marylebone Lane over the road north of Oxford Street, so you will be able to interchange with the Jubilee and Central lines here.

The two platform tunnels connect the Davies Street site to the Hanover Square site a short distance away.  The platforms are 250 metres in length (the length of two and a half international football pitches) and each Crossrail train will have a capacity of 1,500 passengers.  In fact, passenger flows in the station have been modelled in such a way that it can be evacuated in 7 minutes should two of these full trains completely empty one immediately after the other.

After viewing the Davies Street site, our group took a short walk to Bond Street itself, where behind an anonymous gate and building façade lies the Hanover Square site – we were able to get out onto a small roof there and look down onto the site:

Bond Street Crossrail Eastern Ticket Hall site.

Bond Street Crossrail Eastern Ticket Hall site.

Unlike at the Davies Street site which will be linked to Bond Street Underground station, despite its proximity to Oxford Circus Underground station, there will not be any link here.  This is deliberate as Oxford Circus station is one of the busiest.  It would also make the site into one huge station complex and make it unmanageable as far as evacuations are concerned.

At the Hanover Square site we were also able to see one of the “grout shafts”:

Bond Street Crossrail Grout Shaft

Bond Street Crossrail Grout Shaft

There are five of these shafts dotted around the sites with bores spreading radially out into the surrounding area.  Should movement of buildings be detected then grout, (concrete without the aggregate), can be pumped into the ground to stabilise it.  Movement is checked for automatically every seven minutes by remote control.  Crossrail have seen movement of only 23mm which is well inside their allowed tolerances.

Work is progressing well at Bond Street and Crossrail say “We’re half way there”.  Services in the central tunnel section are not due to open until December 2018 (pretty much 5 whole years away) and there will be a year of testing once all the infrastructure is complete in 2017.

The cost of the whole project? £14.8 billion, of which The Exchequer, TfL and Private companies are contributing one third each.

We’ll also be visiting the Crossrail Liverpool Street and Farringdon sites later on in February too.

03 Feb 14

New entrance at Hammersmith

New Hammersmith 2

The Station Master is spending a lot of time on the Hammersmith & City Line this week, so it didn’t take us long to notice the familiar blue hoarding and a million construction safety notices to spot that some new works are taking place.

Seems like the barbers shop at Hammersmith Station (C&H) is no more – perhaps everyone is buying their haircuts off the internet instead? – and so LU are turning it into a new entrance/exit on Beadon road to be complete by July of this year.   A new ticket office and gateline? That should help – it does get crowded when an entire train turns out and tries to get through the three barriers.

New-Hammersmith-Entrance 1

This does make us wonder though whether they’ll make one side the way-in only, and one said the way-out only, which’ll mean a slightly longer walk if you’re connecting from the the Hammersmith (D&P) station.

Oh. And did you spot the deliberate mistake back there? We said ‘ticket office’. There will of course be no ticket office, just a bank of ticket machines ..


17 Jan 14