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If you hold any nostalgic affection for the ugly monstrosity which is the public walkway over the railway line at Abbey Wood you’d better get down there quick. The ramps are not for this world much longer.
It’s ages since Crossrail sent out any information to local residents. The
last one I have is dated Spring 2014. The whole communications operation seems to have gone to pot since
(Communications Manager) left their employment,
however a new leaflet showed up this week.
My interest in Crossrail does not go as deep as you may have imagined. It will halve the time to reach my daughter’s place near Farringdon where my old office has been knocked down to make way for the station. Photographing Crossrail draws visitors to BiB so more people get to learn that Bexley is a civic basket case; but most importantly to me, it is fascinating to think of the engineering problems it creates in and around Abbey Wood. Engineering must be in the blood; of five generations I am the only Knight who is not a highly qualified engineer. Two of them railway engineers.
Quite how a train service can be maintained throughout the operation I still fail to see. Driving a computer controlled tunnelling machine between the Northern and Central lines aided by three dimensional maps seems simple to me by comparison. Here in Abbey Wood it looks a bit too much like suck it and see with the goal dithering around in the distance, difficult to hit and not a microchip in sight.
We are just about to see Crossrail take a shot at the first of the really critical stages which affect the non-railway using public.
My feeling that it would prove impossible to come up with practical and tolerable set of solutions looks to be all too true. When the ramps come down in a couple of weeks time there will be no reasonable alternative.
Having read the new leaflet, the reason for the extended works on the dual carriageway on Harrow Manorway becomes all too clear. It will become the cross railway footpath for buggy and wheelchair users.
If you are a wheelchair user or are pushing a screaming two year old in a buggy, the option of going up one slope and straight down on the other side disappears.
Those who can’t make the stairs and find themselves in Felixstowe Road must first head north almost to the BP petrol station on Overton Road and then walk the entire length of the viaduct to the roundabout at the foot of Knee Hill and then back via the lower end of Knee Hill and Wilton Road to the station.
It’s only a whisker under half a mile.
It will be like that for three years until the new station opens at the end of 2017.
For those who already have tickets, the back entrance to Abbey Wood station will remain open for most of the time but the lifts are fairly useless. Large wheelchairs get stuck and mums have been saying that double buggies cannot get in at all.
Local residents have been generally enthusiastic about Crossrail up until now. The planned two way traffic in Wilton Road and the disruption in Gayton Road will no doubt wipe a few smiles from their faces.
I heard that there is to be another Crossrail meeting in the Knee Hill Community Centre on Tuesday but I cannot go and the only documented confirmation I can find is Teresa Pearce’s Tweet. Local residents have heard nothing. Come back Steve Lord.
Crossrail information leaflet. (8MB.)