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contrast between what Bexley Council is doing to Lesnes Abbey park and what Network Rail is doing for Crossrail, both within
a few minutes walk of home, could not be starker than it has been this past week.
If I showed you some up to date pictures of the park, and I may later, you would be hard pressed to see the difference between those taken a week ago. But in that week the developing Crossrail station and the track for a quarter of a mile on either side have been transformed.
The noisy piling which has affected residents in Alsike Road and Coptefield Drive was finished a week early. The new Dartford bound track to the west of the station has been laid, although it won't come into use until the new Platform 2 is completed in August.
The podium across the tracks upon which the new station will be built is very nearly completed and the massive concrete structures that are part of the new Northern ground level entrance are taking shape. They are likely to ensure that there will be no separate Crossrail service track beyond Abbey Wood for a very long time.
Over the past two days huge concrete castings have been dropped into their places spanning the tracks and fitted together like gigantic Lego bricks. One support column that had to be cast on site didn’t quite fit and caused a minor hiccup while it was ground down by about five millimetres.
The night shift was due to continue until three this morning with the possibility of doing a bit more this morning if necessary. However my eight o’clock sight seeing trip showed that everything planned was done.
Meanwhile, Bexley Council is a year late with their £4·2 million Lesnes Abbey job and Bexley Village bridge is not going too well either.
Councils’ inability to do anything properly has been illustrated in another way over the past week or two.
At the Crossrail Liaison Panel meeting two weeks ago, the lighting on the stairs between the Harrow Manorway flyover and Gayton Road - firmly on the Bexley side - came in for criticism. Street lighting is a Council responsibility and there has never been any lights on those 40 year old stairs. Recently the situation has been made worse by Bexley's inability to repair the sodium lights on Harrow Manorway which failed last November.
Network Rail installed some temporary lighting on those stairs several months ago but Greenwich Councillor Steve Offord, who chairs the Liaison Panel, ordered Network Rail to install more.
I seriously doubt whether a Greenwich Councillor has any power to order Network Rail, which is effectively a government department, to install lighting in Bexley, but perhaps his 1,810 votes in Abbey Wood ward have sent Steve Offord slightly power crazy. However, a couple of days later Network Rail installed several extra lights on the staircase. If anything, it is too damned bright there now!
There is no way a council could have organised itself to install new lighting in two days. Good at the talk sometimes but not a lot else.
The weekend’s Crossrail work is pictured here.