The East London Line Tube

Yesterday morning, we bumped in to a Brockley Central regular at Brockley Station. She normally commutes via Crofton Park, but there had been a problem with the service that morning, so she had caught the bus down to Brockley, to use the London Bridge service. We both agreed that crowding on the trains seemed a little bit better lately, despite the closure of the East London Line. Then, to serve us right, a train with only 4 carriages pulled up, stuffed to the gills and the announcer said that the next train would be delayed.

This chastening experience, coupled with the fact that Clare just became the thousandth person to trot out the 'it isn't a tube and who wants to go to Hoxton anyway?' line of argument, means that we felt compelled to write this on a Saturday morning, when we really should have been doing other things.

Six ways to look a gift horse in the mouth:

1. It's not a tube.

Don't be silly. All the tube lines are a bit different from one another. Different trains, different stations. Some go very deep underground, some barely go underground at all. The trains will be like overland / Central Line hybrids (a bit like the Metropolitan line, only much nicer), they will stop at other tube stations, Brockley will be on the tube map and the station will have Oyster and be dressed with those familiar little roundels. What bit of the tube experience doesn't that offer?

2. But it won't be part of the London Underground - it's called London Overground.

And your point is? The name is only different because the service will be managed by Transport for London, rather than London Underground. It's a semantic distinction that should only bother the sort of people who object to phrases like "I'll Hoover the stairs" or "I'll just Google it."

3. But there will only be a few trains an hour.

At Brockley, there will be 8 ELL trains an hour in either direction or one every 7.5 minutes. Add that to the fact that we'll have 8 trains an hour on the overland service, we'll have a service frequency that many other zone 2 stations would envy - less than 4 minutes per train.

4. It won't go anywhere useful.

Well if you don't work in Canary Wharf or the Eastern side of the City, if you don't have family or friends in Hackney, if you never want to go to Islington or the Dome, if you don't want to explore East London, use the DLR or fly from City Airport, then yes, it's not necessarily going to make a big difference to your regular journeys.

The overland service is great if you specifically want to get to London Bridge, but the East London Line will plug us in to a much wider network, giving us new options and connecting to all kinds of different transport hubs, making a whole range of journeys much easier.

It will also alleviate crowding on the overland service, so even if you never set foot on one of the trains, you should be grateful they exist.

And in the highly unlikely event that the overland service you were expecting should ever be cancelled, delayed or reduced to four carriages, you'll be bloody glad of the East London Line.

5. People who are afraid of getting an overland service to Brockley are stupid and we don't want them here anyway if they've got that attitude.

Yes they are stupid. But can you honestly tell us that, when you are trying to get somewhere in London and you realise it doesn't have a tube station nearby, your heart doesn't sink a bit at the prospect of having to take things like Chiltern Railways. The tube is handy, it's familiar - people immediately and intuitively understand how to get somewhere by tube. Railway journeys to somewhere unfamiliar take a bit more mental effort - and people are lazy as well as stupid.

And one day, some enterprising bar owner with a dream of creating a decent place to have a drink near Brockley Cross will justify their business plan to their bank manager on the basis of those lazy and stupid people.

6. It's taking ages to build

It's two years away. If you think that's a long time, good luck waiting for Crossrail!

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said Nick. The main advantage which you have touched upon is that to take an overland train (to say Hither Green), you're not actually getting the train to Hither Green, you going to Orpington or somewhere equally unknown in deepest Kent. This makes jumping onto trains a little more effort. I used to live in Hither Green and would have regular converstions with mates at Charing Cross who were on the way to mine, saying that they were looking up at the board and Hither Green hadn't come up yet. What should they do. This creates a perceived effort in their journey and when they remember it back they think it has taken them longer to get there than it may have done. Even I occassionally jumped on the train only to find it was the wrong one. This tends not to happen when the line is only used for one service. With the tubes and ELL or DLR people instinctively know that the train stops at EACH station on the map, it doesn't skip any and it's easy to navigate. Bring on the ELL.
P

Richard Elliot said...

Completely agree Nick. As I live closer to St Johns I really wish the East London London extension was coming to us. I am really jealous of all the people living that little bit closer to Brockley Station, it is going to be a great resource.

Anonymous said...

It's such an old, tired argument, that stands up as much as arguing it's better to travel to New York by boat rather than fly. Funnily enough the only people to sneer though are the ones who will not benefit from the service. Jealousy is such an ugly thing...

jon s said...

Of course it's a tube (singnalling, controls, etc.) and represented as such on the tube map, that makes a major difference.

In addition, orbital railways create demographics shifts from the hub and spokes model - we can live, breathe, work, etc. without having to go through central london.

A night out in Islington, a night out in Canary Wharf, a day in Hampstead, all within a 30 minutes comute from the ELL.

My offices are on the eastern edge of the city, come the ELL extension, I can go 7 stops on the ELL, change at whitechapel and then 1 stop to Aldgate East. It will shift commuting patterns (north and south) from Liverpool St.

Bring on the ELL!

Hugh said...

Living nearer St Johns has its advantages, namely:

1. a station with plenty of quick trains to London Bridge, Cannon Street, Embankment and Waterloo East; and

2. the DLR (Deptford Bridge or Elverson Road) for Greenwich, the Wharf and Bank.

The irony is that living on this side of the conservation area makes the arrival of the ELL a matter of indifference, barring the profile-raising effect the tube will have on the neighbourhood as a whole.

Luke said...

So many plus points. It will ease congestion, bring value to the area and will allow me easy visits to the Dalston Jazz bar.

As a aside, I was chatting to someone yesterday who reckons TFL could close the Brockley tracks for renovation work nearing the completion time, without sufficient warning...

...just like it did with the recent second phase of the Victoria line refurbishment.

ElijahBailey said...

FACT: There is only one Tube train and that is the Viccy line.

ElijahBailey said...

Also I think far too many people have the impression that the way things worked in the early days was that the Underground simply linked up existing areas. If you look at Metroland this was simply not always the case. The Metropolitan Line helped create large parts of London.

Or another example is the fact that Golder's Green Station was practically built in a field. Now look at the area.

Clare said...

Seeing as you refer to me personally I feel I have a duty to reply.

I hope I am wrong, but I think people have been sold a pup with the ELL. We shall see. Certainly I know people in Forest Hill were worried that other services would be reduced to accomodate the ELL. Perhaps that fear has been addressed.

As I said, I am happy with the service from Hither Green. For me, getting a fast(ish) service to the centre of town is more important than having trains that stop everywhere up the east side of London. I already get a good service to Canary Wharf et al from Lewisham.

If I want to go to Hoxton I will change on to the ELL at New Cross. I just can't see it happening all that often.

Bring on the ELL and I hope it brings you all that you hope it will.

Clare
x

Anonymous said...

And in the highly unlikely event that the overland service you were expecting should ever be cancelled, delayed or reduced to four carriages, you'll be bloody glad of the East London Line.

Does the East London Line run on a diffrent track to the overland train or something? How does an overground train get round a delayed train on the same line?

Anyone know how many carriages will form an overground train?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Brockley posse can meet up with the Hoxton crew.

The most feared are the London Fields Crew, the Hoxton Boys and the E5th Ridaz, who used to control Lower Clapton's Pembury Estate and who have produced their own home-made music video to encourage attacks on rival gangs.

Stoke Newington is two worlds,' said one estate resident. 'You've got the middle-class influx who shop at Fresh and Wild, the organic wholefoods shop, and the farmers' market, and buy their rolls from the upmarket baker and eat out at the local gastropub. Then you've got the gangs.


Yep, seems to have more in common with Hoxton than Hither Green? :)

Anonymous said...

Oh I dunno, lewisham kate was boasting about all the riots that keep it real in hither green too...

Clare said...

I must have missed that one.

Anonymous said...

Clare, "I hope it brings you all that you hope it will." ....grow up love.

Kake said...

It's also easy to overlook the advantages of an easy interchange with the Jubilee Line - which is very handy if you want to get somewhere that's not conveniently covered by the City branch of the Northern Line from London Bridge.

(BTW Nick, I sent you mail to your gmail account earlier this week — no rush for a reply, just wanted to make sure you'd seen it.)

max said...

Yes, that's so easy to overlook that I still struggle to see it.
Am I missing something? Doesn't the Jubilee Line stop at London Bridge next to the Northern Line?

Anonymous said...

Another major of having the ELL and being on the tube map, is
there'll be less stress rushing for the last train from London Bridge or Charing X. The ELL is bound to run for later than the train service.

I'll be glad to FINALLY use my Oyster pre pay from Brockley rather than having to bus it to New Cross Gate.

Anonymous said...

*another major PLUS of...*

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

You know, the funny thing about the ELL is that it doesnt even need to go anywhere special to be a success for brockley. It is the 'perception' that it does that matters now. And lucky for us, every major tube line/through rail in london, in recent history and brought with it massive regeneration and this has created the 'perception' about the ELL.

It doesnt actually matter too much what the critics say, or me for that matter as its going to happen and its going to generate significant benefits to all areas served by it.

I really do not see why people are so dismissive about this, maybe they need to pick up an economics textbook and then say things that actually mean anything in reality.

Clare, you are the only person who is going to lose out from this if you dont believe the benefits then its your loss.

spincat said...

It will certainly improve things - I was enjoying being a bit provocative about the overground/underground thing. The frequency of the trains is the important thing/where they go: this is a clear improvement for those who live nearby and not, as I feared, simply renaming the current train service.
I may go that way more often - I currently use Honor Oak Park as my alternative to Crofton Park.) .... fact I got out at Brockley a few weeks back en route to Honor Oak (only second time have doen that in 15 years) cos it was a lovely late afternoon and lights were on in Broca and Dandelion Blue - plus I could get an idea about how the shape of the Tea factory will improve the skyline. It was OK.

(Incidentally, for those using Crofton Park station and have experienced 40% increases in season ticket fares - please read Suggest Topic section where am about to post)

Kake said...

Max, yes, the Jubilee Line stops at both London Bridge and Canada Water. So the East London Line will provide a backup route for people who currently interchange at London Bridge. Redundancy is a good thing when it comes to commuting!

(All I'm saying is that "it doesn't go anywhere" isn't a good argument.)

max said...

Got it now, subtle but true.

I'm not knocking it off, the more transport the better, I have actually used the EEL from New Cross a few times and true, it's a quick way to bypass the congestion of central London if you have to go east and it doesn't look too much like a tube and that's a plus for me.

Anonymous said...

Has the existing ELL brought lots of change and improvement to New Cross /New Cross gate?I used to live on teh underground before moving to SE4 and new cross area even though on the tube never felt part of the same network.I'm all for ELL extension but not sure it will make Brockley the next Clapham some people claim.
With tube or not South east london will be South east london for years to come whether you like it or not.

Anonymous said...

Dunno about New Cross but at Brockley I'd argue it's already happened. I moved here because I knew the line was coming so I thought my investment would be relatively secure. Others I have spoken to have done the same. I wouldn't have considered Brockley if the line wasn't going to be built. sad but true.
"If you build it they will come". People will make the changes to an area not the line, the line is the catalyst...

Anonymous said...

I moved to Brockley cos of the ELL. I had a look at other areas nearby too but the line was the hook really that really pulled me here. I'm a young professional with money to spend in places like Dandelion and Broca. there is a buzz about Brockley that has come from somewhere, various people at work have heard of it when I tell them where I live, new places seem to be springing up every month. I'm very happy with my choice of area. For the record I'll rarely use the ELL but that was a huge factor in why I'm now a Brockley-ite?

Clare said...

Anonymous. No need to be rude, and at least I am willing to stand by my comments instead of hiding behind the anonymous tag.

I seem to have hit a raw nerve with some of you.

Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Cheers.

Brockley Nick said...

@kake, not sure I got that (did you mail as kake?). Pls could you resend?

Kake said...

Nick: Have just resent it! It'll be coming from my main email address - kake@earth.li

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon, 18.04 - I would imagine all of us like SE London, otherwise we wouldn't be living here. I don't expect anything to change dramatically, just for the area to gain some of the things it currently lacks, like a few more decent places to eat and drink and a wider variety of goods and services available locally and an improved public realm as the result of some better local businesses coming to the area, replacing plastic shop fronts with something a bit nicer. Some of the disused buildings will be replaced with

As for whether the ELL made any difference to New Cross, that's not really the point. Firstly, we don't know what the area would have been like without it and secondly, the old ELL was a very limited service, in terms of the route, the frequency and the quality of the trains. £600 million is being spent on the new link alone and it will eventually form the eastern and southern side of a complete orbital loop of London, joining up with Clapham Junction in the west. That's a fully-integrated service, particularly when you consider that it will link with Crossrail and that both the Jubilee and DLR are expanding capacity.

James said...

Being on the Tube line does make a difference - even if we know that the overground is great and gets us into central London in minutes.

When I first bought into Brockley I had heard rumours of the ELL extension and this helped me confirm my decision. It also helped keep me here when I moved flats last year.

I've rented a room in my new flat for a few months - and the first question I always got was about the nearest Tube. It DOES make a difference in people's perception of the accessbility of a place.

Anonymous said...

I was just watching a programme about "hip and trendy" East Dulwich and people moving into the area. I don't know but does East Dulwich have a tube station?

Anonymous said...

What a fatuous point. Blackheath doesn't either and that's lovely, but Wembley does and that's a dump.

No one's saying a tube is the only factor, but it is a factor.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Agree with all of you, ... just imagine if Blackheath DID have a tube? The positive developments in Blackheath would be mirrored to the comparision with Brockleys development.

Similar with Wembley, if its a dump now, just imagine what it used to be like!

Anonymous said...

bit of a slow news day so far....

Tom said...

My tuppence-worth is that most public transport journeys are for commuting, so examining the ELL on this basis is interesting.

The ELL will be best for commuting to the east side of the City (Aldgate/Whitechapel), and fairly handy for Canary Wharf.

Will it also create a new route to the West side of the City, by going Whitechapel/District Line? A bit, I suspect. London Bridge is not a hugely useful connector, unless the Jubilee Line rocks your boat.

Personally, it won't affect me at all, as it will still be easier to take the Cannon St train. However, I might try using Brockley instead of going to New Cross. I have avoided Brockley in the morning because of times when I've been unable to get on trains.

On the weekend, it will join up Brockley with N and NE London, which will be interesting come the Olympics and all the various projects there. Stratford seems to be getting closer all the time!

Brockley Nick said...

Anon - that'll teach me for using up my articles on a Saturday...

JPM said...

But you haven't reported on the Appeal for the new mental health unit yet...

Brockley Nick said...

Need to give that topic proper attention. Coming up.

nicola name said...

I think it's great. It gives us another route to the City, access to the district line and easy access to the Olympics. As we Londoners are going to have to pay so much in tax for 2012, I will certainly be making the most of it.

would someone just tell me how the ELL connects with Crossrail? that is good news I hadn't thought of.

Danja said...

They will interchange at Whitechapel.

As an NXG interloper, I can't wait to have the ELL back, the trains are so shit in comparison. I'll have lost my guaranteed seat at any time of day to those bloody people further south though.

You can add Liverpool Street to the list of City destinations - not the station itself but the new Shoreditch station will be a very short walk.

Monkeyboy said...

Honestly I go skiing for a couple of days and all hell breaks loose.

The ELL will have many independent systems so a breakdown on the NR service may not affect the ELL (and visa versa)

I'm looking forward too time and from an Engineer in the rail industry, 2 years is not a long time at all.

Anonymous said...

Is that the ELL depot people are complaining about that can be seen being built near Millwall football ground. If it is it looks huge.

Edd said...

OK, East London Line on track, well done!

BUT how about getting an improved service from Crofton Park?

The line's capable to taking more capacity.

Why is it that Mon-Sat services go to Blackfriars, but on Sundays and Bank Holidays they go to Victoria? Why not both every day of the week?

Ref. Spin cat's post

What about a specific Crofton Park Rail Services label? This station rarely gets a mention on Brockley Central. Thanks

Brockley Nick said...

@Edd - fair point. Will try and remedy with a story about what's happening at Blackfriars. But relatively speaking, there's not much to write about Crofton Park Station.

Brockley Nick said...

@Edd - fair point. Will try and remedy with a story about what's happening at Blackfriars. But relatively speaking, there's not much to write about Crofton Park Station.

Anonymous said...

Victoria is a major interchange station with the rest of the country..... Blackfriars is not?

Probably could run it technically speaking but will other parts of fare revenue subsidise a loss making service?

Dunno, only guessing

Anonymous said...

Nick,
now you're not at the airport can you proceed by putting us out of our WestSide Story (cafe) misery?

Anonymous said...

I'm all for it ... I've got some friends over in east London who are, at best, a lazy bunch of tossers and I might get to see them more often! Selah.

JPM said...

Just got back from putting my child to bed, one of the many tasks set us Mummy-Daddies (besides displaying other skills).

Monkeyboy... where did you go skiing? I've just got back from Canada, snowboarding. Great time. But still lagging behind by 5 hours though.

Monkeyboy said...

Four day in Austria, Soll. Things I learnt

1) Austrian cuisine is sausage based
2) I now know why the Euro Vision Song Contest is still going.
4) Too much Schnapps and a debate about US foreign policy with a random American is never a good idea.

Just waiting for the free flight to Cuba and an orange jump suit.

Michal said...

I think ELL will be a great addition to services from HOP and Brockley.
At the moment I commute to the City (Liverpool St area) by train to London Bridge and then a 20-25 minute brisk walk to the office - no good connections from LB to Liverpool St Stn. The new ELL will allow me to go directly to Shoreditch which is only 5 mins walk from Liverpool St Stn.
And there is one major advantage of ELL which no one has mentioned - because it does not go through zone 1 journeys to the City will be significantly cheaper!!!

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