East London Line - stuff happening!

For Brockley commuters, it's not immediately obvious that anything is being done to deliver our shiny new train set by 2010.

But as this website shows, there is lots going on, particularly at New Cross Gate...

[Update - here's the recent BBC London feature about homes in New Cross Gate affected by construction work]

29 comments:

Pete said...

Not to mention the cracks that have opened up in people's walls who live near to the building works...

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, I tried to find a link to that story, as I caught the tail end on the news. Do you have a link?

It's not proven to be the cause, is it?

Kate said...

Anyone who gets the train past New Cross Gate can't fail to notice the massive construction works going on, surely?

Brockley Nick said...

If you travel in at rush hour, the most you can see is the back of someone's head...

Bea said...

There's a video clip of the news report on bbc.co.uk under "Construction cracks homes"

Anonymous said...

No pain, no gain.

Anonymous said...

They only pay £30 a week to the council to live there anyway.

patrick1971 said...

The cracks did look pretty damning in that BBC London report, I saw it on the telly at the time. To be fair to the construction guys, though, they weren't trying to wriggle out of it, they were saying "let's sit down and see what's happened".

Great website with all the pics on. All that's happened at New Cross is the removal of the third rail from the terminating platform.

Monkeyboy said...

....and you'll see they've started stripping out the old signalling equipment, cables and the like.

Luckily I don't think there's any big civil engineering work happening down our way so we should be OK.

Top tip for the council, get the contractor to pay for an independent survey of nearby properties BEFORE work starts. That way if there is an issue both parties have something to refer back too. In Metronet (soon to be back in the loving bosom of London Underground) we insist that contractors working close to our infrastructure have a 'monitoring strategy' in place and a plan to deal with any issues.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

the fact that they need to have a strategy in place to deal with 'issues' suggests that it really shouldn't of been privatised in the first place, but thats a seperate issue.....

Monkeyboy said...

It's infrastructure protection, a practice that has been around since the year dot. Anyone working close to the track has to demonstrate that they have assesed the ground conditions and understand if and how the track will move, if so how much it can move before there is a problem and have measures in place to deal with it. All entirely normal and good engineering practice. You can see it at London Bridge, look for the little orange reflector thingies attached to the cast iron columns and screwed to the sleepers. Now look up and you'll see a green laser measuring doo da (can't remember what its called) it scans every so often and will alert the relevant people if the 'Shard of Glass' construction works starts to affect the station or track adversely.

LUL have have been insisting on this this kind of thing for years, nothing to do with privatisation but everything to do with digging big holes and driving piles into the ground. At least the ground isn't opening up and swallowing peoples gardens like on the CTRL project - a tad embarrassing that.

I only know about protecting the railway, not sure what would have been done to look out for the locals houses. If they hadn't considered it it would be a bit shabby.

Anonymous said...

From the people I saw being interviewed I would say those complaining about cracks are not council tennants but homeowners.

Headhunter said...

Metronet... What a complete, unmitigated, Blair engineered PFI disaster that was.... Lasted all of about a year, made a few rich people richer and we all pay more for our tickets. Now it's back in the "bosom" of LU

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Sadly, it was all kind of pradictable. Ken seemed to think so - why else would he spend so much money fighting it in court.

There wasn't really much competition, a private company would not have an incentive to do things properly. This was a maintance contract, not a customer orientated service. There was no dis-gruntled public to answer to.

The funny thing is that from a 'macro' economic perspective there is only so many qualified rail workers. If there is no surplus supply then it is likely the same rail workers will be employed by LU.

Anonymous said...

What's the difference between LU and TFL and Network Rail? I know some hints are in the names -- but I don't understand which are public, which are private and who's answerable to whom.. anyone care to break it down (in brief)?

Monkeyboy said...

LUL have a magnificent pair as well - Can't wait to get my head down.

And yes there is a limited number of companies who are capable of doing this kind of work. Who's building the ELL? Balfour Beaty (ex Metronet shareholder) Who's building the trains? Bombardier (ex Metronet shareholder)

The thing to realise is not that the contractors were incompetent it's more to do with the contract that didn't allow LUL (or bizarley Metronet) to penalise the contracotrs sufficiently.

Now the contracts are being managed by LUL/TfL, lets see how they do.... remember the Jubilee line anyone? They had to get Bectel in at great expense to kick ass (Bechtel largley own Tube Lines doing ok, or at least not as badley as Metronet)

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

It's scary stuff really.

Contractors, who obviously are seeking a profit (otherwise why else would they do it). Will seek to pay less to their employees and cut corners when ever they can to make sure they are profitable and 'maximising' their potental.

This is the problem. The incentives do not add up.

In this case, maintainance (which is the first thing to be poorly upheld by a contractor - for the reasons given above in a different post) will only be enforced by a contractual obligation.

The problem is with a contract is that it is just a contract, it will never be 'water tight' and things will evidently go adrift.

This is normal. Nothing in law or the written word would compensate completely for the lack of natural incentives for a private company to deliver cost effective solutions in an environment where a natural monopoly (like the railways) exists.

I think the only real way to deal with this is to nationalise it, under public hands, and let the body/government be accountable to the public directly. This seems to be a natural solution (and it removes the circa. 30% loss in efficiency due to money not being taken as profit and reinvested).

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

and by the way, anyone else remember the situation the national railways were in a few years ago when owned privately by railtrack? Train crashes evety couple of months at one point. Many people being killed. Big disasters like the ladbrook grove one.

Under network rail public ownership, allowing for transitional improvements, this just simply hasnt happened.

Headhunter said...

Looks like there may be criminal proceedings associated with Metronet and Balfour Beatty to top the whole debacle off...

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23453956-details/Corruption+probe+over+Tube+deals/article.do

Monkeyboy said...

Will you come and visit me in prison?

Headhunter said...

You could just claim temporary insanity and they'd probably put you into one of Brockley's loony bins in the conservation area, so you wouldn't have to move very far...

Monkeyboy said...

OK...good idea. Got to fly to the Cayman Islands to sort out my 'private' bank account first. I'll need a good lawyer too, wonder what Hugh charges.

Headhunter said...

Hugh could probably get you of completely and leave the door open for you to sue the government for unlawful arrest or whatever...

Hugh said...

Criminal work is for those who care about pik*** and therefore not within one's remit.

Monkeyboy said...

Damn.... looks like plastic surgery and a one way trip to Panama for me then.

Anonymous said...

All this proved was that a badly implemented privatization can be quite as bad as public ownership at its worst.

Londons transport system has been a politcal football for decades. Other countries do not use the governance and finance of major infrastructure to exercise ideological differences and develop convoluted experiments in creative accounting.

The publicly owned British rail also had its fair share of disasters. One happened not so very far away and reaped a grim toll of life and limb one foggy night outside St Johns station. No blaming PFI then, it did not exist.

I think the transport system should be freed of the politisation that holds it back. It is far too important to be left to politicians who are never around long enough to see projects through.

patrick1971 said...

But if the transport system were removed from politicians' control, how could we ever ensure that it did what we, the people, wanted? As I said on the other thread, whatever else you think about Red Ken, when he was voted in we KNEW we were getting a congestion charge and we KNEW we were getting more and cheaper buses. And that's what we, the people, wanted. And he delivered it. I doubt that something like a congestion charge would ever have been introduced without clear public support demonstrated through an election.

Tressillian James said...

Would steer clear of Panama, monkeyboy. Recently 'dead' Brits haven't done too well there. You should go for Uruguay - they have a track record stretching back...oh 50 years or so...of helping people disappear

Anonymous said...

patrick - the politcians should set the overall objective. Then leave it to an expert committee rather like interest rates are handled now. Remember the days when that process used to be a politcians favourite boom maker?

So too with Transport and Health for that matter. Both have been completely undermined by over politisation.

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