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Bonkers Blog August 2018

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26 August (Part 1) - Everything runs late or even not at all

CrossrailIt’s been two months since the last batch of Crossrail photos was brought to your attention so it is time for another lot. Very little of note has happened since June, the minuscule public car park has been finished off and the Felixstowe Road ticket barriers have been installed, beyond that not a lot. Because construction is now down only to snagging jobs the next batch of photos will be stretched through until December, opening day if we are lucky.

I had almost forgotten but when Bexley Council first announced that they were going to rebuild Harrow Manorway as far as the Eastern Way roundabout and refurbish the flyover they said that both jobs would be done by August 2018. File names on Bonkers are frequently date related and I chose 26th August for both photo sets. For the time being at least the relevant pages retain the somewhat optimistic date ID. Flyover pictures and Harrow Manorway pictures to date are available, both sets pushing 300 photos so please be patient while they download.

Some of the initial flyover delays would have been due to the difficult integration with the new station but ten months on from its opening that excuse must be wearing thin.

Harrow ManorwayAt the beginning of July Bonkers’ favourite highways engineer told the Places Scrutiny Committee that the flyover would probably be resurfaced on 23rd July. “We are currently working on the flyover outside Abbey Wood station, final adjustments are being made to the bridge joints prior to resurfacing of the route round about 23rd July.”

Since then three out of the four flyover pedestrian walkways - initially all four - have been inconveniently closed and for long periods no one has been seen working there, although recently more bridge joints have received attention.

I think we can safely say that Bexley Council’s initial and recently restated ambition to have Harrow Manorway, Felixstowe Road and Gayton Road ready for the opening of Elizabeth line services was wishful thinking.

While on the subject of railways, may I be permitted a personal rant?

I can’t remember the last time I went to Dartford but I needed to get there this morning. Yesterday I checked the timetable at Abbey Wood station, making sure I was in the DA (for Dartford) section and looking at the red print because I would be travelling on a Sunday.

SouthEastern services were listed at every 30 minutes with a once an hour Thameslink train listed as running four minutes before one of them.

I went out to catch the ‘isolated’ SouthEastern but it was not listed on the departure board. Fortunately I was at the station with time to spare and an unlisted Thameslink train was showing but running 30 minutes adrift from what was shown on the station timetable; so no harm done, within a few minutes I was in Dartford. I thought I had been lucky but had no idea just how lucky.

I was back at Dartford station at 11:40 and puzzled by what I was reading on the departure board, all trains were due to go via either Sidcup or Bexleyheath, nothing at all on the Greenwich line except the hourly Thameslink train. A 35 minute wait except that it was already announced ‘Cancelled’. Should I wait an hour and a half to maybe see the 13:15 train cancelled too?

I took the Sidcup train but it just missed the Abbey Wood (loop) connection from Crayford so I continued to Bexley with the prospect of half hour or more on a 229 bus. The toilets at Bexley station were ‘permanently closed’, the rain was near torrential and the station bus stop has no shelter. I jumped on a 132 to reduce the risk of drowning and eventually got home just before the Thameslink train was due to leave Dartford, if it wasn’t cancelled!

Once home I checked the National Rail Live Departures site. It is true. Under this bloody awful new timetable there are no SouthEastern Abbey Wood to Dartford trains on a Sunday. Which over-paid lunatic thought that was a good idea?


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