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Bonkers Blog September 2017

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24 September - A landmark or a blot?

It’s that time of the month when Bonkers releases the latest crop of Crossrail photos, the station looks a lot different to what it did a month ago. The two mid-platform escalators are ready to be mothballed for a year, the lift shafts are glazed and ready for the installation stage and a lot of the bare concrete has disappeared behind brick and wood.

The observant who shop in Sainsbury’s will be disappointed to note the name Stannah on some workers’ backs, how long do the shop travelators go between breakdowns? Not long.

The observant who look at the giant pictures of the station that adorn various walls in the vicinity of the station will be disappointed to see that the wooden cladding omits the styling shown in those pictures making for a plain look which I have heard described as ugly.

No one who I have asked for their opinion likes the new station design. It is too big, it is not in keeping with the surroundings, having only one entry point is a mistake and it should not have been on the flyover. Basically the site was too narrow to do anything else at the eastern end so the options were few.

When I asked a construction worker for his opinion he too thought it was ugly, “but it’s a landmark”. There can be no argument with that.

CrossrailOthers who may be disappointed to see the latest set of photos are the optimists at Bexley Council who think the Crossrail tracks can be extended to Belvedere and beyond. The photograph shows where the next obstacle to an extension is going. (†)

Enquiries revealed it will be an access ramp for maintenance and other vehicles servicing the station and it is not an afterthought but on the original plans. Maybe Bexley Council hasn't noticed.

" The big question now is whether the station will open as scheduled. The last time I heard a date mentioned by senior Network Rail staff was on 7th September when it remained 22nd October with the official opening the following day. Later dates have been mentioned on social media but yesterday one of the top three bosses at Abbey Wood said to me “it’s going to be tough but it will open on time”.

It was only afterwards that I realised he had not actually mentioned a date.

It has been traditional to give an update on the Lesnes Abbey regeneration at the same time as the monthly Crossrail report but as the abbey gardens are pretty much completed now and the opening ceremony has been held in almost total secrecy a change of tack is required.

A reader who clearly knows more about the history of English architecture than I do is curious about the choice of artwork and in particular the viewing gallery.

The abbey is “obviously Norman” in style she says so “why are the look-out windows Early English?”

I haven’t a clue, prettier I suppose, certainly prettier than Abbey Wood’s new station.
Lesnes Abbey Lesnes Abbey Lesnes Abbey Lesnes Abbey
† A single track extension to Belvedere would be a relatively simple solution as would sending the occasional Crossrail train down the North Kent track but passenger benefits would be minimal compared to changing trains at Abbey Wood. A consequence of Bexley Council’s failure to face up to the future when they first took office in 2006. Bexley could have had a bridge three years ago if it was not for Council Leader Teresa O’Neill. It’s Blackwall Tunnel again for me later today. Grrr!


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