Nine months to install a lift…

Network Rail letter informing Blackheath residents that the station improvement works are to be delayed.
BVRG has a copy of a letter sent out to local residents, explaining that the building of the Sistine Chapel station improvement works will take longer than expected. It won’t be completed until late June this year.

If it takes me 1m42s extra to walk across to the wrong platform and over the bridge, this means that I will have spent approximately 5 hours walking over the wobbly bridge, before the repair work is completed. Dodgy calculations can be mocked and critiqued here.

9 months to install a lift. In the same amount of time, there will be 19.5 new electricity power stations built in China.

Progress Update


I am writing further to my September 2010 resident letter informing you of Network Rail’s planned Access for All improvement works at Blackheath station.

Site works commenced as programmed in early October 2010 with the installation of a temporary footbridge. The planned works are now well underway with much of the new ramp around the outside of the station building leading down to platform 2 now constructed, the new lift shaft from ticket hall level to platform 1 constructed and the associated lift equipment installed.

The extremely cold weather conditions experienced during December and January, some unforeseen difficulties with installation of a new power supply upgrade required for the lift, including fabrication issues with the new staircase for platform 1, have slightly delayed our progress, with works now anticipated to be completed late June 2011.

We apologise for any ongoing disruption, however the equipment we use means some disturbance is unavoidable, but we will make every effort to minimise any unnecessary noise. Furthermore, those working on site are briefed on working responsibly in the local community.

I hope this information is helpful and we apologise for any inconvenience these essential works may cause. However, if you have any additional questions or concerns, please visit or telephone our 24-Hour National Helpline on 08457 11 41 41.

Yours sincerely

Nick Gray Community Relations Manager


Filed under blackheath

20 responses to “Nine months to install a lift…

  1. Is the BVRG the young version of The Blackheath Society? Do they complain less?

    I’ve been on their site a couple of times but don’t know how they fit into the local ‘Friends’ scene/area.

    Care to enlighten me Bugle?

    • Benjamin

      As the Bugle didn’t enlighten you I will – if it has taken me a while to get round to it…

      Possibly the BVRG has a slightly younger demographic we don’t keep a record of members ages but I’m on the steering group and was born in the 80s if that is of help .

      We are keen not to come accross as complainers. I set up the online petition against the train cuts at Blackheath and the online petition against the library being shut, so yes we do complain about things that we feel adversly affect Blackheath as do the Blackheath society. In the past there have been various social activities organised but we don’t do as much of these things as we would like – mainly because we have busy lives.

      There are representatives of the BVRG committee on various local groups such as the Blackheath Joint Working Group (that looks at the heath), police safer neighbourhood meetings, and the Age Exchange library proposal invited representatives along so we could be kept upto date on their designs and planning.

      The Blackheath Village Residents Group is free to join, and will soon be holding its AGM on 13 July above the Crown pub in the Village. If you fancy being involved or seeing what the BVRG is really about then pop along.

  2. Also, more walking means more calories burnt, i.e. healthier Blackheath citizens. Quit complaining! ;-).

    • Vincenzo

      You can burn even more calories by carrying heavy shopping or a pushchair with a small child in it. Great fun for all the family.

      Thanks so much Network Rail. Don’t hurry or anything.

  3. Michele O'Brien

    @Mr. ‘Orn
    “I will have spent approximately 5 hours walking over the wobbly bridge, before the repair work is completed … 9 months to install a lift. In the same amount of time, there will be 19.5 new electricity power stations built in China.”

    Yes, but think how much healthier and fitter Blackheath has become as a society through all that having to clamber up and down those bloody steps each day to cross the bridge.

    Those whose health wasn’t up to it will have died off by now, saving the government oddles of cash because it won’t have to (or doesn’t have to any longer) fork out for their state pensions and other benefits.

    And of course their demise means less strain in the already overburdened and financially strapped NHS.

    AND LESS CROWDING ON THE TRAINS AT BLACKHEATH, TOO. Now there’s something to think about, what what …

    Meanwhile, the survivors on Platform 1 will have become leaner and fitter through all that obligatory extra daily exercise the bridge has entailed, thereby cutting the burden on local health services.

    I think the government realizes it’s on to a winner here in its battle to cut expenditure. I look forward to further initiatives of this kind at government instigation in this area and around the country.

  4. ElizaF

    God forbid anyone who is on crutches or in a wheelchair (they don’t just exist on Dr. Who) needs to go anywhere via mainland train from Blackheath …

  5. Dr Nick

    I know it’s not big and it’s not clever, but I can’t resist…

    As far as I recall, it didn’t snow indoors at the station this winter, where construction may be taking place. (Happy to accept corrections though. And please, don’t tell me about the cold weather causing transport problems. Many of us were there too.)

    My favourite line in the oxymoronic “progress update” is: “…unforeseen difficulties… including fabrication issues with the new staircase for platform 1…”

    I’m not sure how you can get stairs wrong. What happened – did they start at the bottom, aim for the top, but miss, and end up in Kidbrooke?

    An altogether more exciting prospect, however, is that during the excavations for the liftshaft, workers uncovered an ancient iron door with the inscription “Lasciate ogne speranza voi ch’intrate” above it. It would certainly explain the increase in naked revellers in the Hare and Billet pond recently. And the smell of sulphur.

    Mine’s a pint of goat’s blood, landlord.

    • (Latin hyper-linking is mine)

      • Dr Nick

        (Not necessarily for publication!)
        Dear Bugle,
        may I humbly submit that it’s actually 13th century Tuscan, not Latin?

        Perhaps you could consider the fascinating topic of C13th Tuscan for a future blog entry? It’s very odd in that it’s so close to its daughter language, Italian, nearly 800 years later. It’s almost entirely intelligible by modern Italian speakers.
        Compared with what was spoken in these islands 800 years ago, that’s quite something. (Latin, Anglo-Norman, French, and Middle English. Most aren’t that intelligible by most of us these days).

        Your patience is much appreciated.

      • This is why I love writing a blog! Humbled!

    • Anonymous

      Maybe the fabrication issues were that passing trains caused vibrations which stopped the concrete setting… and they didn’t foresee trains passing through in a train station…;-)

      I can’t understand why did they even needed to fabricate a new staircase? Surely there was enough room there to put the lift shaft in that great big open space in the middle of it…

  6. Blackheathen, I’m not publishing that, it’s rude, and more importantly, it’s not Blackheath Soc’s fault that Network Rail can’t get their act together. I have mixed feelings about them at times, but they are not the enemy here!

  7. Anonymous

    Memories of The Great Lift Saga will fade when tales are still being told of the Lee Park Trench.

    Mystery surrounds its origins deep in the mists of time. Our great-grandchildren will gather around this rift in time to hear from wizened elders that it had not always been there. They will gasp at stories that traffic once flowed freely past this ancient artifact, providing access to the outside world from a pre-historic settlement known as “The Village”. Tales will be told of a mythical “workman” once sighted by distant ancestors, although no-one will know what this being was for.

    Then, after texting a few electronic micro-payments into the legendary trench for luck, they will drift off to be bored by a similar lecture-visit to handkerchief-sized fragments of “grass” believed to have been called “heeth” or “park” before being elevated into a Disney-stylee “leisure experience” area.

    • Anonymous

      Still entrenched. Still effing up the traffic. Still no sign of a workperson on my daily visits. I understand that utilities pay for every day they block a road. I also understand that gas charges will soar later this year because the suppliers are strapped for cash. Ho hum.

  8. Bemused of Blackheath

    Perque gli railings devante la porta laterale della stazione?
    Clue:: That’s not C13th Tuscan nor indeed Latin. I just made it up, but the question remains: why has someone (presumably Network Rail) installed railings across the entrance/exit to the station car park?.

    • Dr Nick

      As it’s the end of June tomorrow, how about everybody gathering around the hoarding near the entrance to platform 1 at 6.30am?

      There’s bound to be a grand re-opening ceremony. That’s why it hasn’t been announced – to make it a special surprise.

      And as to Bemused of Blackheath’s question, I think it’s actually a Buddhist Koan – no actual answer, but upon suitable contemplation, one achieves enlightenment.

      A similar Blackheath Station Koan to contemplate might be:
      “how many commuters’ complaints does it take to re-open a station exit?”
      …and so the exit achieved a new level of (inner) openness.

  9. Michele O'Brien

    Installation of the new passenger lift from street-level to the London-bound platform one at Blackheath station was scheduled to be “completed late June 2011.”

    So wrote Nick Gray, Network Rail’s Community Relations Manager for London and the SE, in April when explaining why this “Access for All” project had been delayed. The work started early October 2010.

    Late June 2011 came and has gone. And as at July 1 the lift remains inoperative and the only means of passenger access to platform one and the London trains remains the temporary footbridge over the tracks from platform two.

    These people are a joke.

  10. Kevin Bonavia

    I just took a call from an apologetic member of staff at Network Rail’s communication department which I had been chasing for over a week to no avail. He confirmed the rumour that I’d picked by a Blackheath Cars driver ie the sub-contractor Osborne had ordered the wrong sized steps for the stairway! Apparently, they’re “working towards” the end of this month for completion. Watch this space….

  11. ed

    Wrong steps! What a shambles.

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