I can’t tell you who was at the Transport Committee to represent Network Rail
because Bexley Council’s brilliant seating plan doesn’t allow members of the
public to see, but he is seated back to camera and central in the photograph below.
He was a substitute so I can’t even guess his name.
Before directing attention fully to Network Rail issues, Councillor Stefano Borella (Labour, North End) said he favoured public ownership of the Metro operators which provoked laughter and implied ridicule. Councillor Davey (Conservative, Crayford) could not resist taking the mickey out of British Rail so it was perhaps a little ironic that the very next day the Mayor’s office said it was planning a take over by TfL. Both Stefano and Chairman Val Clark expressed a preference for a TfL takeover, I’m not sure why, perhaps I have just been unlucky when travelling on the Overground.
A school governor said that since Network Rail removed the trees from the line east of Abbey Wood station past my own house, teachers at Northwood Primary School had to stop teaching when trains went past because no one could hear at that time. I can only agree, since the vegetation was cut back I now have a perfect view of the trains down to wheel level and it was for several years not possible to see them at all. There has definitely been a noticeable increase in noise levels though behind the double glazing I would not claim it was a nuisance.
Mike Gibson (Southeastern) believed, as I did, that a noise screen was to be provided but the NR man didn’t think so. The Chairman only knew of sound barriers to the west of the station. She may be right. I went to the same Liaison Panel meeting as she did.
The Chairman brought up the question of the Barnehurst landslip again, reminding us that it had happened in 2014 too.
The NR man said that the site had been assessed as “an extreme weather site subject to a much more rigorous assessment process”. It was assessed in 2015 as being “structurally sound’ and therefore given “less assessment than a site in poor condition”.
“The amount of weather over the Christmas destabilized that and it was not something we could have foreseen”. The site is to be given “even more rigorous assessment”.
It’s a pity that a rail broke nearby last Monday. Maybe public ownership is not so clever after all. The meeting moved on to the subject of buses.
Transport User’s Committee: Police report.
Transport User’s Committee: Southeastern report.