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Bonkers Blog December 2015

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20 December - Crossrail enters a new phase at Abbey Wood

Swept RoadThis was the week that Network Rail pulled its cranes and piling rigs out of the old Abbey Wood station site on a succession of lorries. The work continued through the night and by day there was the occasional traffic jam while lorries reversed and loaded. Shoppers may have been deprived of more parking spaces too as lorries awaited their turn to load up.

A similar piling operation will now take place to the north of the railway track and access for the equipment will be difficult. As with the south there is only one way in and at the present time Felixstowe Road is still an obstacle course. Its realignment is the one part of the project that does not appear to have run on time.

The usual weekly photo feature (64 pictures, 5MB) attempts to portray the last week, the dismantling of the equipment, the waiting lorries, the near completion of the platform canopy and some new large holes in the ground already being filled with reinforced concrete.

Once again December’s gloom was not ideal for photography and pictures are additionally affected by the early hour of some, dirty windows and closely meshed fences.

Yesterday I was on the receiving end of orange suited gesticulation and shouting because I poked a camera for the umpteenth time over the top of a fence but it wasn’t the only complaint this week. The report on the Liaison Panel meeting was judged disrespectful on the Cross with Crossrail Face book page.

When has Bexley is Bonkers ever been respectful?

The complaint was over my use of the term Professional Moaners. I’ll tell you why I used it. One person has been responsible for around half of the complaints at panel meetings. The Minutes of the meetings lists these…

• The lift attendants are always missing.
• Trees have been cut down.
• Rivers have been blocked between Plumstead and Abbey Wood. (Twice)
• The Felixstowe Road station entrance will be closed with no practical new route.
• The lifts are unreliable.
• The toilets are open only on application to station staff.
• Lorries do not indicate when turning left or right.
• Roads are left muddy. (Twice)
• There is no help for the disabled when getting off trains.
• Disabled parking bays are blocked.
• There are no windows on the station footbridge.
• There are trip hazards on footpaths.
• Tarmac has been broken.
• The council does not enforce parking restrictions.
• The two sets of Harrow Manorway traffic lights are not synchronised.
• The design of the roundabout outside Sainsbury’s makes it a danger to pedestrians.
• There are not enough lifts in the new station and it is a fire hazard.
• Varying colours of paving proposed for the station forecourt is unacceptable to disabled travellers.

There has undoubtedly been an impact on Abbey Wood. The taxi office proprietor says that his trade falls significantly when the line is closed, the manageress at McColls says the sale of Oyster Cards is well down and a young friend who lives next to a Crossrail site is fed up with all the men stopping work and staring at her every time she goes in or out of her house.

But Greggs is doing very well.

Most of the disruption is unavoidable. The roads occasionally get muddy but five minutes later they are hosed and swept. (See picture of wetted road above.) The UK Power Networks people seemed to be particularly adept at pavement parking and installing a bridge in August and to be still without a rail crossing four months later seems to be more than a little senseless, but generally the inconvenience is kept to a minimum. Not that that minimum is especially low as we are about to find out when the North and South of Abbey Wood become even more divided by early Spring 2016 with no improvement to cross track accessibility in prospect until the first Crossrail train runs.

More Crossrail related blogs and Photo features.


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