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TfL Rail

16th November 2014
 

Great new piece over on the London Reconnection website, explaining how the pre-Crossrail that will be Crossrail service between Shenfield and Liverpool Street will be branded as ‘TFL Rail’.  We couldn’t resist…

TfL Rail

TfL Rail


Battersea goes ahead

14th November 2014
 

A TfL press release this week confirmed that the Northern Line extension to Battersea is definitely going ahead.

Battersea extension

Battersea extension

They’re already calling it the ‘NLE‘, the Northern Line Extension, even though it’s just for two stations! We would expect them to be as large, and architecturally as brilliant as the new Jubilee (JLE) stations were back in 1999.

And they’re optimistically saying that they could be be finished as soon as 2020.

So what will be first to open? The new Metropolitan Line extension, Crossrail, or the NLE?


New fares for 2015

11th November 2014
 

TfL have today announced their new fares for 2015, and there’s something very interesting that we weren’t expecting.

The peak all-day cap for Oyster or contactless payments is actually being reduced – so much so that there’s now no ‘peak’ and ‘off peak’ cap – there is just one capped price, and it’s cheaper than it used to be – approximately one fifth of the price of the equivalent 7 Day Travel Card to Zone 1.

So if you’re someone that only travels a few days a week e.g. a flexible or a part-time worker who never buys a 7 Day Travelcard this could mean that you will be saving a fair bit of money on your journey.

New Fares for 2015

New Fares for 2015

And with the new all-day caps being so much lower than the old peak caps you can travel before 9:30am without being penalised for it as you used to. e.g. travelling in zones 1 to 3 at peak now will cost you £10.60 (vs £7.70 after 9:30am).  In 2015 this will reduce to £7.50 even if you travel before 9:30am. The TfL press release states that it estimates that ‘Over 600,000 passengers’ will benefit from paying lower fares.

There’ll also be a 5p increase on the single fare for buses – up from £1.45 to £1.50, with the daily bus cap however remaining at £4.40 – but a One Day Bus & Tram Pass (last available in 2009 when it was discontinued) will be re-introduced – it costs £5 a day and is for those who wish to travel but aren’t in possession of an Oyster card or contactless card. Tfl says the pass will be “a lightweight single use Oyster card that will not require a deposit” – we’re not quite sure if “single use Oyster card” means “use the card for one day and throw it away” (seems wasteful) or “will only be for a bus pass” though (would be more sensible).

There are though, some losers amongst the winners and those are people who travel into London off-peak from the zones further out. Download the full PDF from the website here to look at the new fares, which start on Monday 5th January 2015.

Update:


Covent Garden Re-opens

8th November 2014
 

We were lucky enough in the last few days to get a ride in one of the two new shiny lifts at Covent Garden.  The station has been exit only since February of this year whilst two of the lifts have been replaced, and we can now report on the new lifts!

New Covent Garden Lift

New Covent Garden Lift

We timed it, and on average the lift is about 8 seconds faster than the old ones.  Their capacity is also 56 people – six more than the 50 of the old lifts.  All this will help get more people moving.  But perhaps the smartest thing is that the doors now have intelligent software installed, meaning that they can sense if no one is getting in or out at a certain leve, and rather than lingering around for wasted time, it’ll shut the doors and whizz back up or down to collect people who may be waiting at the other level.

All in all – people should be shunted up and down more quickly than before!

The respite is only for a couple of months over the Christmas period though – come February of 2015, Covent Garden will become exit only again whilst the other two lifts are replaced, and you’ll have to wait until November of next year for the station to be fully open again.

 


Embankment Re-opens

7th November 2014
 
New Embankment Escalator

New Embankment Escalator

Embankment station re-opened last week on the Northern and Bakerloo lines and so we popped down to have a look at the new escalators.   We noted that it’s only some of the escalators that have been replaced, others are still the same old ones.

Amusingly, the down escalator to the southbound Northern Line was already broken when we paid a visit, with many men from OTIS standing round in their bright orange jackets wondering how they were going to make it work again.

New tiling

New tiling

Many of the passageways have also had a complete facelift, with nice new shiny cream tiles along many of the corridors and the stairwells, so it looks all clean and new, although other parts of the station could still do with a scrub – the northbound Bakerloo line platform here looks rather dull and uninspiring,

 

But the best bit the very best bit – is some of the new signage that they’ve installed, and a blatant error that appears!

Willesden Green is now on the Bakerloo Line!

Willesden Green is now on the Bakerloo Line!

Wrong!

Wrong!

On the Bakerloo Line maps they’ve put ‘Willesden Green’ instead of Willesden Junction, which is hilarious … Willesden Green of course is on the Jubilee Line.

So someone has had some ‘JCTN’ stickers made up (not even the full word!) to cover them up, but they’ve missed one and we found where it was …


Five Car Overground

6th November 2014
 
Five Car Unit

Five Car Unit

The first of the new five-car (carriage) trains rolled out today onto the London Overground, as it went into service on the Highbury – New Cross branch (East London Line) of the network.

Over the next year, all London Overground trains will receive an additional carriage, and we’ve just realised (with a resigned ‘sigh‘) that it means we’ll have to go and get the exact carriage and door exit positions all over again for Overground trains now that they have this extra carriage!


Abandoned Map … updated

3rd November 2014
 

As we’re doing a lot of work at the moment on disused & abandoned tube stations, we thought we’d bring you an update to our Abandoned tube station map that we brought out a while back.

It’s got a few tweaks and updates – including one station that previously didn’t appear on it (Uxbridge Road) that we’ve now added.

Click the image for the full-size version!

Abandoned tube stations

Abandoned tube stations


Osterley … Park? and Spring Grove

31st October 2014
 

Head on over to the Wikipedia article for Osterley Station and you’ll find a reference to the former station that was a little way up the line ‘Osterley & Spring Grove‘.

We’ve had this heated discussion (no, really!) with people before about whether the station was actually called Osterley Park & Spring Grove, as it seems that some people don’t think the word ‘Park’ was in there.   Looking at the historical timeline diagram that the wikipedia article offers up, it’s certainly not mentioned in there.

Yet head on over to the excellent Abandoned Stations website where it talks about and they certainly do have the work ‘Park’ in the title.

We’re now going to have to fall on the ‘park’ side (and no doubt get embroiled in an edit-war on Wikipedia) after a visit to the old station this morning – now a bookshiop, where the lovely owner took time out to show us old historical photos of the former station building, clearly showing the full name as Osterley Park & Spring Grove.

Osterley Park & Spring Grove

Osterley Park & Spring Grove

Station Master Geoff was down there this morning, filming a sequence for the forthcoming ‘Abandoned Stations on the Underground‘ video for Londonist, which will be released on DVD before the end of the year – sneak preview here though!


Stop meddling with the WiFi

30th October 2014
 

When TfL introduced WiFi to the tube all those months back, it was rather tedious to use at first because – like most people – if we’re on a journey through several stations underground it’s fun to connect to the WiFi at the station that you’re passing through and check Twitter, your email, etc.. as you travel.  Even message people to tell them what station you’re at and how far away you are!

WiFi advert

WiFi advert

But to begin with, the service was really tedious and it had caveats.  If you wanted to load a webpage, or see a picture on Twitter (but, interestingly not the tweets themselves) you had to always load up a browser, choose a bookmark and instantly be presented with an advert page (which you had to skip), which would then take you to a menu page, and you’d be properly connected, and THEN you had to select your bookmark for your webpage again to finally read it.

WiFi Menu

WiFi Menu

A few months into the service though – it changed! Someone must have finally got through to them on how annoying it was, and you only had to tell it to connect ONCE at any ‘Virgin Media WiFi‘ SSID, and then for the rest of your journey it would just auto-connect.

Well … not anymore, last week it had switched back, meaning that you have to do through the tedious advert and menu screen every time you want to access the internet fully, which is rather annoying to say the least.

 


District S7

28th October 2014
 

We’ve seen pictures of them running, even witnessed one or two running in service – but not actually been on one yet ourselves, so when we rocked up to Ealing Common last week it was a pleasant surprise to find a new S7 train running an Ealing Broadway to Plaistow service.

S7 Unit at Ealing Common

S7 Unit at Ealing Common

Interestingly, its set number was 753 which according to the Working Timetable is a Lillie Bridge Depot to Plaistow staff trainer, but in this case looks like it was replacing 050 from Ealing Broadway, heading east.

S7 unit at Barons Court

S7 unit at Barons Court

We did – of course – make a note of all the the slightly changed door exit positions at every stop to update the Station Master exit data for a future update!