Arctic survey - how well prepared is Lewisham for snow?

We're currently torn between schadenfreude as we sit 8,000 miles away reading tweets from Brockley residents struggling with snow-induced transport chaos and fear that we're about to get our comeuppance and be unable to fly back to a UK airport. In either case, we're staying out of this debate, but Fintan wants to know what BC readers think about the area's preparedness for this early flurry of snow. He writes:

Am I the only one who thinks that Lewisham council has simply abandoned the idea of gritting anything other than the major roads?? I cycled: Aspinall, Frendsbury, Turnham (over the rail bridge which was particularly dangerous!!) & Dalrymple without any indication whatsoever of any attempt to grit.

Likewise on the other side of Brockley & Adelaide, St. Margarets, Chalsey, Tresillan, Harefield this morning walking – again no sign or evidence whatsoever of any attempt to grit!! ALSO – the overground was not working on the Brockley line south of Surrey Quays – BUT was running fine into New Cross. Does this suggest that that overpass at New Cross Gate is particularly vulnerable to snow and ice?

108 comments:

Wickhamena said...

Pretty miserable. St John's station was a disgrace this morning. Not gritted and no information. There were trains, but it was anyone's guess when they were going to turn up or where they were going. As for the Overground - it was working again tonight, albeit with short notice delays and cancellations. It really shouldn't be that hard. We knew the snow was coming... All quite galling when there's so little snow here.

Bobblekin said...

The main roads look fine but this is useless if the residential streets are not gritted. the roads around here (tressillian Rd) are an ice rink, so we're not using the car (altho I would if an emergency).

The rail services into Kent/Surrey can not operate because of teh third rail system which freezes over continuously.

Third rail is a system not used anywhere else the world outside of urban areas precisely for this reason!

This is why our train service collapses in these conditions - as we are served by routes coming in from teh outer, colder areas.

DLR is working fine (as usual in these conditions). This is because it is an urban network and has snow insulation on its third rail.

London Overground I'm afraid has shown its achilles heel - its just a regular third rail overground service that extends into a surburban and more cold area. Hence it gets delays just like the other overground services!

Oaksys said...

Ah I think the problem of lack of grit on Chalsey Road is that Lewisham Council don't appear to have any maps showing that it is in fact running down the side of a hill. The road is now just about a continuous 2cm sheet of ice flowing down the length of the road.
I well remember on previous year watching as Council official panicked as they tried to drive up the iced Chalsey Road. There was a look of horror on their faces as their car slid backwards down the hill despite their brakes jammed on hard. Strangely enough after that incident the Council seemed able to find a gritting lorry and load to deal with the road. The previous day a Milk Float had slid down the hill trashing a neighbour's car in the process.

Bobblekin said...

Just watched a moving car slide off into a parked car on Tressillian.

In answer to teh question - No, Lewisham has not done enough!

tyrwhitt ali said...

It's somewhat better than last year in that the 484 bus oute is gritted. Means that in theory I can walk to Brockley in the road or bus to Lewisham / Brockley. Tressillian road from Harefield down is a nightmare though.

Anonymous said...

Upper Brockley Road is an ice rink- both road and pavements. I had to chisel ice from under my wheels to get moving today. It is extremely dangerous to drive on any road that isn't a bus route. The council should be gritting more, and earlier.

Anonymous said...

I don't think any pavements - even the main ones have been gritted. Dread to think how bad the descent to Ladywell station's going to be. Not that there's much point in going there.

I hear that the DLR uses a more weather-proof version of the 3rd rail system - it gets electricity from the underside rather than the top of the 3rd rail. Pity no one thought of that for the Overground. That said I wouldn't have got home on Tues were it not for the ELL. No Southern Trains from London Bridge. Not too long a wait at Canada Water - pity a train broke down ahead of us & kept us waiting for another half hr though.

This really brings home the need for better bus routes into town. Not the interminable 171/172 routes which regularly take a good 20 mins longer than the timetable estimates - or twice as long on Tues. Any local politician who can get us an express service that say only stops at Elephant/Waterloo & Holborn would get my vote. Mind you, we probably need new roads first...

Anonymous said...

The station platforms, stairs and overpass at Brockley station were extremely treacherous on Monday. Gritting seemed non-existent and don't even start me about the weird inferior quality white, ball-y grit-lite stuff they have been throwing around. Completely ineffectual and actually makes things more slippy as they act as hundreds of tiny wheels...

Exasperated of Ladywell said...

Upper Chudleigh Road (short bit up to Brockley Grove) is like an ice rink tonight - the road seems worse than the pavement.
In the last cold "snap" (February) piles of grit and salt were left at strategic points for diy ice treatment - not this year so far. Years back all Council sweepers and refuse staff would be "diverted" to the spreading of grit, often from the backs of open lorries. The only sweeper I saw this morning was in Ladywell Road, being "urged" by a local resident to spread grit on his front path!
I hope the Ladywell councillors read this blog as they need to take action NOW!!

Anonymous said...

Yep, Marsala Road, Ladywell end of Algernon Rd and Adelaide Ave all have ice rink pavements too.

Was disappointed to see no evidence of grit on pavement around the sheltered housing block at the end of Marsala Road - I was previously promised it would be added to list of priorities, together with Lloyd Court sheltered housing in Slagrove Place, following complaints during previous winters.

You could try tweeting Nigel Tyrell @lovelewisham with details of particularly icy patches of road/pavement, which is what I'm going to do now.

Ewhursty said...

Service rubbish late last night _ no ELL from Canada Water, but no information either - guy kept coming onto PA system to say "Sorry there is no information, I keep trying to phone London Overground to find out what is happening but nobody is answering the phone". Really! And nothing out of London Bridge AND the 343 stopping at Peckham - making me fear that this is where it will stop if the night route is shortened. Other parts of London have tubes and buses that keep working ... we here are screwed. Just as well I have decided to move, bring it on!

I Love South Eastern Trains! said...

I'd just like to say South Eastern trains have been brilliant.

Almost a full service, trains on time, clear stations, well informed and helpful staff, a fantastic well
updated website.

The 12% fare increase planned for next year is obviously completely justified.

Erm, hold on - no - wait. Sorry I was dreaming. None of these things is true.

They have in fact, again been useless.

This bad weather meltdown has become as predictable as, erm, snow in winter.

Monkeyboy said...

Look out the window....I dare you.

Anonymous said...

OMG - that wasn't forecast! No work today then.

Anonymous said...

Anyone attempted getting ELL yet this morning? I know Southern trains are suspended until at least 10.

Anonymous said...

The DLR is still working. That's your best bet.

Anonymous said...

Best bet in my experience is the 172 (or is it the 171?) to Elephant & Castle and get on the tube from there.

Anonymous said...

East London Line is fine, Southern on the other hand not running 'til 10.
Lou - discuss...

Matt-z said...

Moan moan moan. Do we want higher investment in snow-proofing? If so where's the money going to come from when there are cuts left right and centre?

As for why the Overground does't use the same third rail system as the DLR - it's because it runs on national rail lines, not just here but in North london too. To convert all these routes and trains to that system would cost billions and take years. As would the other option of converting to 25Kv overhead line equipment.

FossilG said...

The 484 has been diverted and is not running up/down vicars hill (which is well gritted at the moment). TFL website says

Buses are diverted and are not serving Harefield Road,Tressillian Road, Hilly Fields Crescent, Brookbank Road, Shell Road, Vicars Hill or Algernon Road due to adverse weather conditions

hey ho

Tressilliana said...

I walked to work in Camberwell. The 484 seems to have kept running all week, but not always going up Harefield Road and round Hilly Fields to Vicar's Hill. It sometimes runs from Ladywell along Adelaide Avenue and Brockley Road instead. However, this morning having walked as far as Brockley station I just kept going. It was quite nice, actually. Hardly any cars so crossing the roads was a piece of cake. Walking boots make all the difference.

Lou Baker said...

@anon

The ELL is not running fine. It's currently running an hourly shuttle service from New Cross to Dalston.

There are more Southern trains running. Though not many.

Total fiasco.

Brockley Jon said...

I'm on the DLR now! Packed. They just said the line is now suspended between shadwell & bank because of a faulty train. Not looking good.

Anonymous said...

I see that SouthEastern Thameslink (from Crofton Park) are now terminating at City Thameslink. Can't see any reason for this - other than them using any excuse to further piss off their customers. Do they really expect us to believe the stretch from City Thameslink to St Pancras is impassible? At least if it stopped at Farringdon you could get the tube. We basically have a situation here where it's impossible to get into central London without making a torturous 1hr plus bus journey. 171/2 to Elephant? No thanks, life's too short!

Anonymous said...

It's to do with rolling stock movements. You can't just turn a train around anywhere. A crossover point is needed.

It's not to do with which sections are impassible but more to do with which sections further up the line are impassible.

Brockley Kiwi said...

I gave up on the trains and walked to work this morning. Took me 1 1/4 hours from Brockley to Southwark. Most of the journey was eerily quiet and somewhat pleasant.

Not looking forward to the trip home though ...

Tamsin said...

If the snow keeps falling it won't be too icy - and the play of light (sodium orange and ice blue) is beautiful.

I was impressed to see 484 buses still running and the priority surely has to be to keep the bus routes open and functioning. Once you start on the side roads where do you stop and most people fit enough to contemplate going out can get a few hundred yards to where they can catch a bus.

The Royal Albert said...

I know all this snow makes beer deliveries unlikely. Then again, I got some nice pics of the pub in the snow and a fox walking down the train tracks, untroubled by any South Eastern trains hurtling through.

My train story said...

The was most NOT fine, it was a flaky as puff pastry. Got it at New Cross- received a lift there. The train comes in, I get a seat, feel positive- I inform work I'm on way. The train moves thenstops and starts, halts, judders, then finally it splutters to halt, the lights go off, the driver speaks "sorry ladies and gentlemen, I can't get enough power" he then reverses back into station.
He says something about have to reboot the power. Meanwhile a train stops heading to LB :(
Marched up Old Kent road and took bus into work.

Anonymous said...

Have you considered a price freeze?

Anonymous said...

So would the good people of the UK rather have a massive tax increase/further cuts, in order to fund a transport system that works as well as 'everywhere else', or would they prefer to do things on the cheap and put up with 1 week of inconvenient travel every couple of years?
Genuine question, as for all of the people who have been moaning and whinging for the past few days I can't imagine anyone being willing to pay for improvements.

Anonymous said...

I rather pay and get quality than have cheap rubbish, but that's just me.

Old Timer said...

I can remember,many moons ago,when us kids used to complain there was too much grit thrown down, so none for a snow ball fights.Oh the good old days

Old Timer said...

Or not,in us kids case.

drakefell debaser said...

I took the bus into work this morning - #36. Waited 15 minutes by New Cross fire station and was at work half and hour later. About 15 minutes quicker than normal.

max said...

"So would the good people of the UK rather have a massive tax increase/further cuts, in order to fund a transport system that works as well as 'everywhere else', or would they prefer to do things on the cheap and put up with 1 week of inconvenient travel every couple of years?"

The question would not even exist if the privatization of the railway wouldn't have been such a bothced job.
People already pay enough to fund a system that works much better than it does, only that the money end up in profits for the rail companies.

Brockley Economist said...

@Max - my understanding was that reliability had improved and costs had been cut since privatisation, at least for the Train Operating Companies. How would you organise it differently?

The real problem is surely with Network rail, which according to the ORR's latest benchmarking exercises doesn't appear to be able to organise a proverbial drunken event in a beer manufacturing establishment. Far and away the most expensive infrastructure company in Europe.

Oddly enough, Network Rail is the only part of the privatised structure still in public hands - a massive political overreaction to some accidents under railtrack. All in all, the case against privatisation doesn't look all that solid to me...

Anonymous said...

@ Brockley Economist

Don't go wasting your time with facts and rational analysis here. We only want ideology and moaning sentimentalism of the kind that satisfies kiddies.

Boo Hoo!! Bad Tories ruined our railways and now no grown ups come to magic all the snow away.

Andy Endwell said...

I just want to add my two penneth to the comments about pavements! Endwell Rd and Mantle Rd are skating rinks and I realy fear for the elderly who are either prisoners in their homes or risking serious injury. I could not give a monkeys abot gritting the roads but for the council to neglect the pavements is a bloody disgrace and its the same every year! I wish Mr Bullock a broken leg!

Anonymous said...

Why don't the students of Goldsmiths show their worth and clear the pavements?

Tamsin said...

The Tories did ruin the railways and New Labour made it worse. Privatisation and PPP is a money-spinning charter for lawyers and the big corporate shareholders.

On pavements "if each before his own door swept...". I have to admit to not having done so for the past couple of years, but I used to. And walking into work this morning down, indeed, Endwell, there was one place where the entire pavement had been cleared which has shamed me into resolving to do likewise myself when I get home - or at least tomorrow morning.

max said...

@ Brockley Economist

Well, you can improve reliability by reducing the timetable and announcing an emergency timetable as soon as a leaf falls on the track.
And I wonder if the other non-privatized railways around Europe also improved in the meantime or was it the privatization that worked the magic.

I don't know much about Network Rail but I took a look at South Eastern balance sheets last year and it shows that they had distributed the subsidy they received as profits as a bulk in the first years of the contract and once there was nothing left to provide a profit for shareholders made staff redundant.
That's some kind of efficiency I guess but it blatantly short-changes the passengers.

They sacked staff and reduced the investments in the service to bump up profits beyond what would be reasonable. Can it be that this happened because the privatization didn't delived us a functioning market?
I can't see how this can be in the interest of the travelling public.

Anonymous said...

never mind the trains,isn't it a disgrace they cant even grit the roads.I saw 2 road sweepers breaking the iced snow off the pavements along Hither Green Lane this morning.

Lou Baker said...

@max

South Eastern are a very very very bad company. No argument there. And rail privatisation was botched. No argument there either.

But to suggest all private companies just can't be bothered is just moronic. Many, if not most, of the main airports are run by private operators and many have kept going.

Gatwick - run by a private company - hasn't. But I bet you they learn and I bet you it's not such a problem in the future. Because they have a financial incentive not to get it wrong.

The DLR, operated by a private company, has performed relatively well in the snow. As has C2C - private company.

The M6 toll has remained clear - operated by a private company;

Lewisham's roads - gritted by the council - have been a disgrace.

So to suggest this is some kind of public good, private bad or vice versa is just absolute twaddle.

It's a question of good organisations v bad ones. Lewisham and South Eastern have both demonstrated where they fit.

THNick said...

Anon 9:58 - as someone else has pointed it, it depends on where they can turn the trains around. If they go past City T, are they going to have to try to get to West Hampstead and get stranded? Or are they just running shuttle services to help things run more smoothly.

And as for getting on the tube, city thameslink is 5 mins walk from a variety of tube stations, not least farringdon!

Headhunter said...

It is pretty crap that there is no salting of roads other than main ones and certainly no salting anywhere of pavements. Manor Ave was an ice rink last night. Took the dog out for a walk but could barely make it round the block taking small baby steps.

Anonymous said...

Bloody Trains.Its the same argument EVERY time.

Royston said...

Germany and Canada are two countries that see a hell of a lot more snow than us and they deal with it, in part because people keep their own bit of pavement ice free, in fact I believe it's a legal requirement.

I was salting the bit outside my house last night and people were incredulous that i was bothering 'Bloody councils job isn't it.' was one of the comments said to me. If people got off their arses and actually did something rather than sat around waiting for other people to do it for them then this country wouldn't be in the mess it's in. People complained about the nanny state but actually they quite like not doing anything then they can blame everyone else for everything.

Howson Road said...

"Why don't the students of Goldsmiths show their worth and clear the pavements?"

Why don't you?

Anonymous said...

@ Lou.

It's not even to do with good or bad organisations. It's a simple question of basic mechanics. Trains relying on 3rd rail power delivery are susceptible to ice. The train companies which have least problems are those which use overhead wires. This is why very few railways outside the south east of the UK use 3rd rail. It's an antiquated system which is pretty unreliable.

Brockley Economist said...

@Max,

Not sure I follow your logic to be honest. The franchises for TOCs are awarded by the DfT on the basis of a competitive bidding process. Consequently the subsidy paid to Southeastern is the minimum necessary to get any company to run it. If there were money left on the table, it would have been snapped up by other firms. Ergo, it strikes me as unlikely that they are making excessive profits, i.e. those greater than those justifiable by the risks they take.

@ Bobblekin/Matt-Z

Interesting that the third rail is less efficient in the cold. Does the DLR not work with a third rail? For that matter, doesn't the tube? What are the costs of replacing it like versus the inconvenience a couple of times a year when we can't get to work?

Tommo said...

@Brockley Economist

The dlr's third rail picks up the power from underneath the rail. Snow falling on top therefore has no effect on power delivery. It's a modern system which has been designed for use in all weathers.

The majority of the tube is above ground and during heavy snow is subject to icing problems. The high frequency of tube trains is usually enough to keep the power rails ice-free though.

The cost of replacing third rail with overhead lines would be astronomical. New sub-stations would be needed. The lines would also have to shut whilst the process was carried out. Not to mention the fact that the rolling stick would have to be replaced or extensively modified.

max said...

@Lou, I was talking about railways, not motorways or airports, and specifically of Southeastern.
I don't say private is always better or public is always better, it's a case by case. It just happens that railways pose a rather clear structural barrier to providing a market where customers can chose. Everyone's stuck with the railway company that serves the area they live in.
-
@ Brockley Economist, Southeastern transformed the subsidy given them for the duration of the franchise into an immediate bump profit at the beginning of the franchise period.
Maybe it's daft of the DfT to give all the money upfront instead of releasing them on a performance related basis but if they had invested those money (or just part of them) into the service they run then they would have added value and made life better for their customers.
One thinks that profits are extracted by running the service efficiently throughout the franchise not a one off upfront payment.
You could argue that they received less subsidy than they needed to run the service and invest in it, well in that case they should have asked for more or allow someone else to run it.

THNIck said...

Lou - some great classification in your post. The DLR, built by public money and regulated by government, is "private" but Lewisham's gritting, contracted out to a private company, is "public" and therefore rubbish.

Brockley Economist said...

@Max,

Interesting insights but not sure I agree.

Firstly, is not clear that this problem of "natural monopoly" (no choice by nature) stops markets from working. Electricity/gas networks are a natural monopoly just like rail - you can't choose which set of electricity cables running down your street to use - there is only one set. Nonetheless, after privatisation, operating costs in the UK energy industry fell by half in real terms over ten years and we have one of the most efficient energy sectors in Europe.

Secondly, the DfT doesn't give them a one-off payment (as I understand it) but a payment every year, for 8 years, depending on SouthEastern keeping to its contract. In any case, the argument that we are paying the minimum possible to get someone to run the trains still stands - why couldn't other private companies have underinvested in just the same way? Are not all big private transport conglomerates equally profit motivated?

Monkeyboy said...

Track is the responsibility of NR is it not? A government owned company, most of whose upgrades are contracted out. Lu is a company owned by transport trading limited, in turn owned by tfl. Partly funded by customers, partly by subsidy. Upgrades and a lot of maintenance is contracted out, some perform some don't. A failure of private or public organisations? Discuss

Brockley Kiwi said...

Definitely a failure of public organisation(s) as they are ultimately accountable for delivering the service. If they choose to contract out aspects of their services to private companies then substandard service is a failure of contract negotiation and management on their part.

Pete said...

I managed to cycle in this morning; the main roads were more or less fine if a bit slushy.

Fingers crossed they won't be icy on the way back home.

Deptford Pudding said...

Its a failure of the imagination. Lewisham had plenty of warning about imminent snow and freezing tempertures, but nothing was done till after the snow had fallen.
Surely the mayor should be putting the well-being of his constituents ahead of anything else and prioritising the distribution of salt around local roads. Then we can get on and spread it ourselves if the council won't. Typically the council hold us all in contempt.

Deptford Pudding said...

Its a failure of the imagination. Lewisham had plenty of warning about imminent snow and freezing tempertures, but nothing was done till after the snow had fallen.
Surely the mayor should be putting the well-being of his constituents ahead of anything else and prioritising the distribution of salt around local roads. Then we can get on and spread it ourselves if the council won't. Typically the council hold us all in contempt.

Tamsin said...

But where it has been put out in advance in the past (there used to be special containers filled up in readiness every November) the ungrateful populace stole or vandalised things. Self help = help yourself.

No point in putting out piles of the stuff when it will be washed away in the rain.

Also to bear in mind that, as I have heard, there is considerable environmental damage caused by scattering salt around willy nilly (certainly to salt the fields used to be the way of rubbing in defeat on a population - genocide through starvation) and it is not an infinite resource.

Monkeyboy said...

So it's always the clients fault? Now that is BS, both can screw up. Essentially you can pick your political leanings in advance and make a plausible arguments from splicing together different bits of evidence. I've worked in both, delivery and client roles, public and private and the bits in between. Cock ups and success aplenty in both. I expect there will be examples quoted now and others will counter quote. Tells you nothing about what's happening now. The fact is that france and Germany spent money and kept up the spend on their railways. Over here it's been a battle ground for those who want to use it to prove a point. We are playing catchup now but no one wants to pay. Just keeping it ticking over is a struggle, I predict that once the upgrades that have started and can't be stopped have finished on the tube, well be back to annual and make do and mend. A slow degradation will follow.

Anyway, tea time soon.

Deptford Pudding said...

What rain? Who is suggesting salting Hillyfields?

Brockley Jon said...

@Pete, well done mate, I bottled it - those roads looked more than a bit too slushy for my skinny tyres and I can't forget that night in January when it was like an ice rink!

Monkeyboy said...

I've killed and hollowed out a polar bear to sleep in, works for bear gryls

Anonymous said...

Maybe we could wrap up in those seal skins.

Brockley Kiwi said...

Stuck at London Bridge waiting for a severely delayed train. Staff are saying it's because the carriages to form the services are on their way from forest hill. But 60% of the platforms are filled with empty carriages ... Why can't they use those?

I don't get it?

Brockley Jon said...

At new x gate waiting for that very same train. Reckon there will be room for another 100 or so, BrockleyKiwi?

Mezzer said...

Why in earth are you at New X waiting for a train? Get the 171 or 172, or failing that, take a ten minute walk!

Same with the London Bridge scenario. The trains aren't working. The Overground is going as far as New Cross Gate. See above.

Charlie said...

Awful journey to work and back, are they are grounds for compensation?

Exasperated of Ladywell said...

Talking of the opportunist nicking from piles of grit for their own use, yesterday saw a Ladywell resident instructing a Council man spreading grit on pavements to put several shovel-loads on his own (short) front path.
Still no piles of grit up Chudleigh Road.
Why aren't the under-utilised rubbish collectors out spreading grit on the side roads and pavements? Time for the Mayor to act!!

Anonymous said...

Well the road sweepers cant sweep,so why not fill there carts with grit.

Anonymous said...

I thought the pavements near me in Ladywell were a lot better this morning - the bottom of Adelaide Ave had been gritted (pavement), although there was more snow on top, and Ladywell Road was pretty clear. I suspect it will be worse tomorrow though if it gets colder tonight.

According to the @lovelewisham twitter feed, the street sweepers and refuse collection team have been out helping with gritting as waste collections have been suspended.

In my experience the Council's waste team are pretty hard-working and committed, but not psychic, so it's well worth letting them know of specific concerns on 020 83147171 or @lovelewisham or http://www.lovelewisham.org

Mr Frost said...

The areas you mention Sue,are all near the Council yard,its different away from there.

Miss L said...

I live just outside Brockley off Shell Rd in SE13 and there is no sign of grit here and pavements becoming really trecherous again. That said I do echo the point someone else made above about salt being quite damaging for the environment, so probably should be used sparingly anyway.

Saw some idiot clearing the pavement outside his house with hot water yesterday - guess he can start selling tickets for his private ice skating rink soon...

Brockley Jon said...

Well, it's a bit late now but @mezzer, Who said I was going to Brockley? I get off a bit further down the tracks. Was informed by staff that a train would be along in 10 mins. Said train arrived, and I was home hassle free about 10 mins later.

Ideas? said...

Bugger - need to get to ge tthe car out to go to France tomorrow night, But right now tressillian road is an ice rink and the tyres are just spinning and I'm going no further than the kerb. Any tips anyone? Please don't say 'stay at home' or 'take a train' - they are both not options..

Ramble said...

Ideas - apparently cat litter is good for freeing tyres. As for driving down the road without crashing into someone elses car........

You could rent a car or can you take street cars abroad or try whipcar? Think main roads are reasonable.

Good luck

Mezzer said...

@Brockley Jon - apologies. It's the moniker that confused! Glad you got home without major delay anyway.

Paul said...

Once again, the only train leaving Brockley station was an ELL!! What would we do without it!!!

Tamsin said...

@TIE - the rain that falls out of the sky when it is not quite cold enough to snow. Last year the weathermen came in for a lot of stick on one occasion when they predicted a heavy snowfall in London and the the SE and it did not happen - just not quite cold enough, a degree or so lower would have done it and you can't be that accurate.

And if the populace can't be trusted to leave the grit/salt in its special containers for when it will be needed it can't be put out in advance. The council has no option but to be reactive rather than pro-active in these circumstances.

Lep Recorn said...

Decided not to bike it today as I was worried about overnight lows creating an ice rink (but need not have bothered!).

Checked the tfl site and discovered that there 4 overground trains an hour on the Brockley stretch.

Walked to the station - no sign of any gritting anywhere. Then discovered that they had only seen one train in the previous hour.

Managed just to get on a southern train to London Bridge, then the Elephant and discovered Southwark employees with handcarts scattering grit liberally . . .

Is it Lewisham - or has only Brockley been abandoned??

Tom Gifford said...

Possibly a bit late to be of any help, but after walking the length of the Old Kent Road earlier this week I've belatedly discovered the 21 bus from Lewisham Way to Borough High St/London Bridge. It takes about 45 minutes but it's regular and has plenty of seats. It seemed easier than waiting at the stations for trains that may or may mot materialise...

Tamsin said...

And if you are on the West Side or South Side the 343 thinks it is going to Birmingham by way of Beachey Head but does ultimately get to London Bridge as well.

Pretty crowded though by all accounts on the bit through Peckham.

Anonymous said...

What is so aggravating is that like last year the weather improves but the train service gets worse. An emergency service from Ladywell (with short notice cancellations), barely anything at Brockley & no trains at all from Crofton Park. Have learned to check the live departure boards from further up the line which often contradict the information for the local stations - & prove to give a more accurate picture of the service.

Anonymous said...

I think the press need to put a bit more emphasis on showing people the travel chaos currently happening all over europe. We are not unique - snow breaks stuff, wherever you are, however your council is run. Just do the best you can until it melts and we get back to normal.

drakefell debaser said...

I think the press should focus on something else entirely. Jon Snow was asking the transport secretary why there hadn't been a Cobra meeting to discuss the disruption on Chanel 4 news last night. It’s becoming ridiculous.

Fucks sake said...

The simple fact of the matter is that the snow in Britain is not that bad. Tubes still run, trains still run, people can still walk and you can still drive cars and buses.

Any excuse for health and safety, PC, "don't offend anyone" Britain though.

Anonymous said...

The Real Reason the roads and pavements are terrible in Lewisham...

LEWISHAM COUNCIL HAVE NO GRIT

I have been reliably informed (i work in a council department) that although it had been ordered last Friday (a little late i know) that there was due to be a delivery of grit to Wearside Road on Wednesday. This has NOT happenned. They are using whats left over from earlier in the year....

Thats why council employees are just dumping small piles here and there.

Lewisham gritters are NOT out, contrary to thier website. CONWAY gritters are out, hired by Transport For London to cover bus routes and A roads which is their responsibility.

Lewisham COuncil have yet again failed to be prepared for this weather and have NOT learnt from their mistakes last year.

THIS WEATHER HAS BEEN FORECAST FOR 10 DAYS!!!!!!

Brockley Jon said...

@Ideas, apparently starting off in 2nd gear (with appropriate revs) will get you going as there is much less chance of wheelspin.

@mezzer, no worries, the moniker is a legacy thing :)

Mr G Rit said...

There used to be a mountain of grit at that Lewisham depot.

And its down to TFL to grit the main Highways,doesn't seem Lewisham has done much gritting at all.

Headhunter said...

I've been cycling in the entire time. The main roads are ice free and well gritted. This morning it was the coldest ever though - felt like my face and lips were going to peel off! I had to walk the bike to the end of Manor Ave to get on at Lewisham Way though as Manor Ave has basically been an ice rink since the snow started... Only problem is that grit/salt damages metal bike components, will have to give it a good overhaul in spring. Not many other bikes on the roads though... Come on you big fairies, it's only snow/slush!

THNick said...

IDeas,
As BJon says, as high a gear as you can manage. At least second, third if you can and lots of revs. Cat litter good as a) weighs down the boot of car and b) you can put it under the tyres. Also you can take your footmats out and put them under the wheels to get going.

Mezzer said...

Just received an email from Southern:

A half-hourly service is running in both directions between London Bridge and East Croydon calling at New Cross Gate, Brockley, Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill, Sydenham, Penge West, Anerley and Norwood Junction.

London Bridge to East Croydon will run at 20 and 50 minutes past the hour

East Croydon to London Bridge will run at 22 and 52 minutes past the hour

Deptford Pudding said...

Rain is forecast tomorrow so there's a brilliant excuse for the council to stop gritting, if they've started...which I doubt.

Re salt and the environment: read Margaret Attwood's views on why the world is going to hell in a handcart because of 'the environment' and 'human rights' taking precedent over common sense as the planet heads for oblivion.

Deptford Pudding said...

Apologies Maggie for spelling your name incorrectly.

Anonymous said...

New trains,same old problems.

Monkeyboy said...

I think you mean existing 3rd rail system, same old problem

Anonymous said...

Yeah "human rights" suck.

THNick said...

TIE - does she read BC?
Also I notice our pavement got gritted today together with a new copy of lewisham life being delivered - surely no coincedence?

Anonymous Skier said...

Look what I got up to yesterday morning...

http://yfrog.com/5mswd01j

http://yfrog.com/72vx60j

Tamsin said...

A bit off topic but can I pass on a lovely snippet about why some schools may be closing.

A school last year stayed open in the snow and quite a few pupils did not manage to get in. When it came to the Ofsted report the fact that it was snowy weather and touch and go whether the school closed or not was irrelevant. (This despite the head specifically explaining the circumstances to the inspectors.) These were unauthorised absences, recorded as such and a black mark against the school.

However if the school officially closes, so no-one can come in, all these absences are authorised and so no adverse effect on the schools rating.

Crazy...

Beamish said...

"I think you mean existing 3rd rail system, same old problem"

The newer trains are far less tolerant of lower power levels and shut down. The shoes on the older trains were also heavier and able to knock lumps of snow and ice from the rail instead of breaking like their modern counterparts.

It's no coincidence that Merseyrail is having few problems with it's 30-year old trains.

Deptford Pudding said...

Last night met a friend who works for Greenwich council, in the rubbish/road cleaning section. They're
not sending out the dustcarts in case they get damaged. Anyway, my friend said that in Bexley the gritters are roaring around the streets, but they've no grit on board. Bexley council apparently think it looks good to have the gritters driving around. Might just be urban anecdote, who knows.

Anonymous said...

1. I live at the Lewisham Way end of Brockley and work in Forest Hill. On my way to work last week I saw at least 5 council road sweepers spreading grit at various points along my journey.
2. I made the decision to walk there and back on a couple of occasions because it seemed like a warmer thing to do than stand at a bus stop.
3. I dressed sensibly, lots of layers, hat, gloves, 2 pairs of socks and wellies with good grip.
My point is that becasue I believe I acted sensibly and adjusted my routine according to the weather I had no problems getting into work on time, I wasn't cold and didn't feel like I was going to slip over.
The majority of buses were running fine, in fact the only people that didn't turn up at my work were those who usually drive and seem incapable of getting public transport.
Also, as far as i'm aware no other councils grit every road. Croydon didn't even bother to do main roads.
Sorry, bit rambling but really fed up with people moaning that they couldn't get their cars out (try walking) and blaming Lewisham council when every council is the same (you're not being vicimised!)

urbansurgery said...

We cleared the path in front of ours and all the elderly neighbours each day. i'll admit that in isolation this was a little futile but we extended it a little each day. it took approximately 10 mins per morning to clear 5 house lengths. The carers and hoem helps were at least able to get to the front doors. Once again there were no meals-on-wheels on the roads. Refuse collection can be done without for a while. The appetito vans also need access to side streets given the operators do not deliver by foot.

Most of the streets on Blythe Hill are rendered impassible with even only small amounts of settled snow for the frail and small. The way the snow fell this year gritting pavements felt like it wouldn't have helped things especially on the hills as it causes compacted ice. Shovelling helps a lot.

Last year I submitted an FOI request related to Lewisham's statement that they do not provide grit bins 'under advice'. Result being that they have no record of who gave whom the advice. Southwark do provide grit bins so perhaps its just us Lewishamites who are civic do-badders vis. grit vandalism.

Deptford Pudding said...

A man calling a phone in on LBC this morning reported seeing a Bromley council gritting lorry in his snow/ice bound side road in Chislehurst. The lorry was full of salt, but wasn't spreading it. Just driving around. He called his council and questioned whether they should have a duty of care to all their residents, and he was told they only feel they have such a duty to the main roads.

Anonymous said...

I have just returned from the Midlands from a long weekend, having left the ice-rink pavements and roads of Brockley. I found it amazing that Wolverhampton Borough Council managed to grit ALL the roads I saw- and the person I was visiting lives right on the edge of town in a cul-de-sac with only 10 houses. Most conservation area roads in Brockley weren't gritted at all, and the roads have hundreds of houses, and thousands of residents. Pavements and roads were totally lethal. Any elderly person, person with balance problems, or with any disability would have found it impossible to walk safely. Before I'd compared Brockley to Wolves I wasn't that annoyed, but having seen a Council that is obviously more well-organised and responsible, I'm very angry that Lewisham was so useless, especially in such a populated and hilly area.

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