I can’t read architectural drawings. As several people have pointed out, there is no plan at all to stick a whopping great shutter over the front of Blackheath station. Instead the plan is to keep the external windows and entrance unchanged, but to reduce the size of the newsagents at the upper floor, and to shift the ticket office to the right, which will make more room for ticket machines, as well as revealing the windows on the other side overlooking the tracks. Above is a before and after animated gif, to show the changes more clearly (hopefully). Sorry… I’ll get my coat…
Tag Archives: railway
You remember the little bit of wind we had a couple of weeks ago? All the train companies in the South East switched to emergency timetables just in case, and havoc ensued. My train was massively late, so I filled in the Delay Repay form on the Nationalised French Rail Operator’s website.
Of course, it’s not really the nationalised French rail operator. I mean, we all know that free markets win out, and that the railway companies in the UK were privatised, so how could that possibly be true?
Except that it kind of is. Your season ticket for £1,424 goes to SouthEastern. SouthEastern are owned by Govia. Govia are owned by the Go-Ahead Group (65%) and Keolis (35%). And Keolis (keep up at the back) is majority owned by SNCF, the French equivalent of what used to be British Rail.
I’ve just paid £1,424 for a season ticket – that’s more than most people pay for a month’s rent in London. Then I receive a token for £1.10, which I can ONLY redeem with SouthEastern trains, and will be valid for exactly 12 months. It’s not even redeemable online.
How is this going to encourage the only train company that I use regularly to improve its service? In the notoriously left-wing rag City A.M., Alister Heath laments:
There is also huge support for the nationalisation of the railways, at 66-23; again, not surprising given the weird public-private mish-mash that characterises the industry, the subsidies, the lack of transparency and accountability (who is in charge? Network Rail? The train firm?), the awful service and the lack of choice. We need a new deal for our railways – but state ownership was a disaster during the decades when it was tried.
Yes Alistair, it was a catastrophe… Except that Britain now has the most expensive fares in Europe, says the Telegraph.
The Go-Ahead Group (such a dumb name) which Southeastern is part of, made pre-tax profits of £82 million last year, and proposed to give a share dividend to investors of 81p per share. They’re doing just fine.
Keolis, the French part of South Eastern, made profits of 287m Euro in 2012.
Our rail system was a national asset. The market for rail companies isn’t working for anyone except its shareholders, more than 30% of which in our neck of the woods is now owned by the French government, and run for a profit, which is extracted from your pocket, into the French government’s.
Every time I go into The Princess of Wales or the Railway pubs, the toilets almost never have any handsoap in them. It happened again to me today in the PoW, and it drives me nuts. These places sell food. I think it was probably AA Gill who said that if you walk into a restaurant, and there’s no soap in the loo, just leave.
Let’s say you’ve got a normal immune system, and you go to the bathroom, wash your hands in a perfunctory manner with no soap, and later on decide to eat some chips or perform some other activity that transfers bacteria from your hands to the upper portion of your gut.
You’ll probably be fine, just as you will probably also get away with driving while mildly-illegally drunk.
But doing this buys you quite a lot of tickets in the Pathogen-Disaster Lottery. If you get a big enough dose of bad enough germs into yourself, your immune system won’t be able to react and shut them down before they’ve multiplied into too large a population to stop, and then you’ll be in trouble.
Which, again to not be over-dramatic, probably won’t be the kind of trouble that kills you. But may be the kind that initially makes you afraid that you will die, and later on makes you afraid that you won’t.
UPDATE: As James points out in the comments, the pub does have an online survey where you can make your views felt… And win a meal (yum!) with a bottle of wine. http://www.castlewebsitesurvey.empathica.com/?certcode=42510
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?
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?)
* 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!
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 :)
From the “just has to be read to be believed” department:
To keep disruption to a minimum and get best value for money, work to renovate the platforms took place at the same time.
Transport minister Norman Baker said: “It is important that everyone is able to access the railways as rail travel continues to grow in popularity – that is why we have contributed £1.1m from our Access for All initiative to upgrading Blackheath station.
“In total we are committed to spending £370m on upgrading stations across Britain for people with reduced mobility.”
Dave Ward, Network Rail’s route director for Kent, said: “Thousands of people living and working in Blackheath rely on the railway every day.
“This new step-free route around the station is great news for passengers and will make it much easier for everyone to use the train, especially those with reduced mobility or with small children.
“It’s a significant investment in our stations so they better meet the ever changing needs of passengers.”
This article surely is a joke. Where are the delays, the wrong steps, the misery of the commuters? Please head to their comments page and make them realise what a crock their article is. Government subsidy to pay for increased accessibility whilst the SouthEastern is allowed to cream off £61.5m profits every year.
They’ve now added a statement from Network Rail to the bottom of the page:
A Network Rail spokesperson said:
“We issued a letter in April advising local people that we had experienced some problems with the project owing to a combination of extreme winter weather conditions in December and January, some unforeseen difficulties with the installation of the new power supply for the lift and some issues with the fabrication of the new staircase.
“This meant we would not be able to complete the work to the original timescale.
“We apologise for any additional disruption this caused for passengers.”
Translation: We ordered the wrong size steps, we subcontract to subcontractors who have to come in on the train from Southampton (good luck with that), and our subcontractors can’t agree between themselves who is responsible for removing the wobbly bridge. Suck it up and enjoy those price rises…
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.
“ACCESS FOR ALL” WORKS – BLACKHEATH STATION
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 http://www.networkrail.co.uk or telephone our 24-Hour National Helpline on 08457 11 41 41.
Nick Gray Community Relations Manager
Whether you’re looking forward to, or dreading the pubs being open for New Year’s Eve, here’s a list of the various opening times in Blackheath. No tickets for any of them, except for Cave Austin. If you’re going to try and watch fireworks over London (like last year), try the junction of Cade Road and General Wolfe Road, shown below
Hare & Billet
Close at 1am
No tickets, but cash only – no credit cards (probably because their card machines are so slooow)
Cave Austin weird Las Vegas thing…
Tickets are £15 in advance, more on the door
Open from 8pm-4am
No ticket required
Open until 1am
No ticket required
Open until 2am
No tickets, small donation on the door goes to charity
Open until 2.30am
Prince of Wales
No ticket required
Open until 2am
Can’t get hold of them, but will update the blog when I do…