23 Dec 2012

View on Harrow

View on Harrow, originally uploaded by Rienk Mebius.

I picked up this picture on Flickr. The far tracks are the lines out of Marylebone. They are not electrified and there are no plans for electrification on this route, which runs only as far as Aylesbury.

At one time it was part of the Great Central and trains ran to Rugby, Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester. The route beyond Aylesbury is largely intact and could be reinstated at relatively little cost as a conventional railway to provide the additional capacity that HS2 advocates insist can be provided only by constructing a high speed line. They assure everyone that it would cost just a teeny-weeny bit more. That sounds implausible.

21 Dec 2012

London Overground took another 40 years

Ticket dated 11 November 1972, issued for a special railtour to demonstrate the practicability of a train service around London. A service on what is substantially the same route eventually opened on 9 December 2012, forty years and one month later. The train used was a DMU from Cricklewood, normally used on the St Pancras - Bedford route until electrification in 1975.

The train ran from Broad Street to Richmond, where it reversed and ran to Clapham Junction and then to Woolwich. After that it ran back via Clapham Junction and Olympia to Willesden Junction, then via Gospel Oak and South Tottenham to North Woolwich, then via Stratford to Broad Street.  It must have reversed somewhere as the east curve at Dalston Junction had been closed by then and consisted of just the two platforms (lower photograph).

The train service which opened in phases from 2010 has transformed travel in London's inner suburbs.