Very useful information, via Diamond Geezer:
This guide shows you how to get a third off any single off-peak rail travel using your oystercard, if you already have a 16-25 Railcard, Disabled Railcard, a Gold Card, HM Forces Railcard, or a Senior Railcard.
But you have to go and ask a human being for it, in a station. Which is daft… It’s almost like they don’t want you to use it!
I love the fact that the guide includes step-by-step button-pushing instructions for the station staff.
So far, I have heard Boris say “Hi folks” whilst waiting for trains at Blackheath. I’ve heard him say “Hi folks” as I interchange at London Bridge. I’ve heard him say “Hi folks” at Charing Cross whilst making my way to the underground. I’ve heard “Hi folks” as I scurried through at least three tube stations.
And I could just about get by with the occasional grumble on Twitter to maintain my sanity. But today, after hearing it three times at three different stations, I took a bus to Sainsbury’s. The bus was full. It was too hot. Everybody was standing. And then, along came the aristocratic old Etonian who read Classics at Oxford calling me his “folk”.
I’m not his folk, and he isn’t mine. I never will be. It was only on the bus when I realised what a disaster the “Hi folks” recorded messages are. They make you feel as though you are living in a police state. I feel like I’m being told how to think, without any control over when I hear it. It’s the same message everywhere, and it doesn’t change. It’s relentless. And it’s starting to terrify me.
I realise that we live in a democracy, and that we’re lucky to do so. But playing the announcements everywhere with such ease demonstrates that most of the equipment is in place to remove our democracy at any time. All the machinery necessary to tell you how to feel, and what to think is sitting there, and is ready to go. And that scares the life out of me.
And it’s weird, because that Tannoy system has probably been set up for years, but I’d never noticed it until I heard it on the bus for the fourth time today.
Charing Cross photo by Flickr user Mike_fleming. Booming Boris Johnson from Wikipedia.
UPDATE: My headline is excessive… There will be trains, but fewer. Please read the comments to get a better picture of the situation. Please remember at all times that I know very little about anything, and I rely on readers for most of my info!
It looks as though Blackheath trains to Charing Cross might not be stopping at London Bridge in 2015-2016.
Just writing to bring to your attention what I found on the Network Rail website:
It looks like they have planned a severe deterioration in the train service planned in 2015/6 during the rebuilding of London Bridge railway station and if we want to fight this we need to do something now. Basically for two years our trains won’t stop at London Bridge which will make it a nightmare for me to get to work and represent a big deterioration in an already very poor train service.
More on Brockley Central last week:
When the work is completed, the services will come back on line, but we’re still looking at as much as three years of disruption, when London Bridge effectively becomes a terminus, forcing everyone travelling to the West End in to a tube station that is already a severe pinch point to complete their journey or persuading even more people to use the East London Line, which is already nearing maximum capacity.
Based on a spot from from SouthEastCentral.
Another interesting story on the Blackheath Village Residents Group site:
Network Rail has distributed this letter to residents living close to the station, advising that work will shortly be underway to lengthen the platforms to take 12 coach trains.
Didn’t they extend it to take 12 cars back in 2010?
This is really cool. You can now find out where the bus you’re waiting for has got to. The “Now & Next” displays for buses are now available online. So even if your bus stop doesn’t have a display, you can use your phone to find out where your errant 202 has got to.
TfL’s Countdown page: http://countdown.tfl.gov.uk/
It’s only in testing at the moment, but I used it today, and it makes such a difference. Lying on the heath in the sun, check your phone to see when the bus is due, then saunter over to the bus stop two minutes beforehand, and sure enough the bus appears by magic!
You can bookmark your favourite stops – each one has a unique URL, so for example the bus stop next to Shepherds Foods is:
Or the accesible text only version would be:
There’s also a version formatted for mobiles (thanks for the tip Methers)
So you can save separate bookmarks on your phone for your frequently used bus stops.
This is such a great system, and it’s been a long time coming. It opens up so many more possibilites for fun things to do with data & travel. Which are the best/worst performing routes? Which timetables need tweaking for accuracy? iPhone apps that beep when it’s time to run for your bus, and enhanced apps (like the brilliant London Travel Deluxe that no commuter should be without) that can now show real time updates.
Hooray for TfL, and I don’t say that very often…
(Spotted on the excellent Diamond Geezer blog).
Stunning photo of Blackheath Bus Stop in the sun by twitter user Neil Clasper
As pointed out on the newly formed myblackheath blog (hopefully not run by estate agents), SouthEastern Trains are holding a Meet The Managers morning at Charing Cross station on Thursday (tomorrow) from 8am-10am. This is a monthly event whereby the SouthEastern managers stand around explaining that very few things are their fault, most things are either due to the government’s reduction of state subsidy, or Network Transport’s problems.
Please try and speak to them tomorrow if you can… A few things to consider:
* SouthEastern are owned by Govia. Govia is owned by Go-Ahead Group and Keolis. These two companies made a profit of £23.5m and £93m (€106m) respectively last year. These figures are both up from 2009. For bittersweet irony check this out: Keolis is majority owned by France’s nationalised state transport provider, SNCF. So France is allowed to have a nationalised rail system, but takes profit from our privatised system.
* Network Rail own Blackheath station, but it is managed and run by SouthEastern (see how nothing is one organisation’s fault?)
* If they wanted to open the bloody door, they could! Please sign up to the request to open the sliding door!
* They don’t like speaking to bloggers or press at these events. They also don’t like tape recorders. Go as an individual. Here’s an idea: wear your iphone headphones around your neck, and hit record before you wander up…
* Ask them how fixmytransport.com should contact southEastern. So far they don’t seem to be responding to any messages!
Here’s how it went when I met them last year.
I’m using the excellent new FixMyTransport to persuade Southeastern to get SouthEastern to re-open the sliding blue door!
Who wouldn’t love a website with the tag line “Euston we have a problem”?!
Can anyone explain to me why it would be a good idea to permanently close the side exit from Blackheath station by barricading it with a bannister? Tired commuters on their way home used to love gasping out into the open air. It makes no sense to keep it locked, and makes us miserable!
Please come and support me at
PS – The shortened version is bit.ly/openthisdoor which would probably fit on a sticker :)
Following on from yesterday’s nonsense, there’s another PR inflected piece of tosh here:
Network Rail Blackheath Station becomes accessible for everyone
But with an added helpful soundbite from those experts in timeliness, SouthEastern trains. Vince Lucas, service delivery director, enthuses:
“For our passengers at Blackheath the completion of this project is a real improvement that they can see for themselves. The station is vital to the local community and encouraging more and more people to use trains has to be a good thing. As with other stations which have benefited from similar schemes, we are sure that more passengers will now start to use the train to get around.”
Yes it’s great Vince. I’m sure I will continue to choose SouthEastern over and above the wide range of other train operating companies available to me from Blackheath station, skipping down the beautifully rendered steps as I do so.
Could snow failure could end Southeastern’s franchise early? We can only hope so.
Awesome poster is by @set_railfail. I imagine the author would be delighted if you printed it out, and stuck it somewhere…
It’s that time of year – time for the up-the-nostril shots from your favourite London News programme… Here’s a clip (the proper version will appear here eventually).