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Tag: east london line

Visit Columbia Road Flower Market

The new East London line puts us into contact with great places in London you’d rarely have visited a few months ago before the line opened. So if  you’re looking for something to do on a spare Sunday morning, why not visit Columbia Road Flower market – close to Hoxton station on the East London line?

Open from 8am-2pm every Sunday, the market has over 50 flower stalls selling plants and flowers at unbelieveable bargain prices (leave it until near closing time and you’ll get even better prices!). And Columbia Road and the adjoining streets are packed with interesting boutiques, art galleries, vintage clothes shops and the like.

Hackney City Farm with the wonderful Cafe Frizzante  is just along the road.

For directions from Hoxton station visit:,27494&xhr=t&cp=13&rlz=1R2GZHY_enGB337&wrapid=tljp1293545281170024&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=columbia+road+flower+market&fb=1&gl=uk&hq=columbia+road+flower+market&cid=0,0,16371762784659927086&ei=SO8ZTYqOEcPChAeFkqW4Dg&sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=image&resnum=2&sqi=2&ved=0CCkQnwIwAQ

East London Line hits 70,000 journeys per day. TfL presents update on extra late trains and extension to Clapham Junction..

In a report to the Sydenham Society and other stakeholders, TfL reports the  latest news on the East London Line.  

  Written Update – London Overground 13 December 2010 

1.      Dalston Junction – West Croydon service 

Performance on the Dalston Junction / West Croydon route is the highest on the Overground network. On average 95.4% of trains, arrive within 5 minutes of their scheduled arrival time.  

Customer satisfaction levels on the new Dalston Junction – West Croydon route have been high since it opened. The key stats from the most recent customer satisfaction surveys are:

  • Overall satisfaction score of 86 out of 100 (Overground network average was 81)
  • General punctuality score of 84 out of 100 (Overground network average was 77)
  • Service frequency score of 83 out of 100 (Overground network average was 71), reflecting the value of the high frequency 5 minute service provided on the core section.
  • October 2010 passenger counts on the Dalston Junction – West Croydon route showed that the number of journeys undertaken per weekday on the route had risen to 70,000 (compared with 40,000 in the first full month of operation).

 2.      London Overground extension to Clapham Junction

  • The Government’s recent Spending Review announcement re-confirmed the funding for the London Overground extension to Clapham Junction, so TfL London Rail continues to press on with the project. 
  • The construction works will be split into new railway works (which will be developed and delivered by TfL), and On-Network works, i.e. those to existing National Rail infrastructure (which will be developed and delivered by Network Rail).
  • Tender responses have now been received for the TfL works, i.e. construction of the new 1.3km railway ink between Surrey Quays station and the existing South London Line at the Old Kent Road (largely within LB Lewisham). It is expected that the contract will be awarded in early 2011 and construction work will start in spring of 2011.
  • Network Rail is continuing with the design of the connections into the existing national rail network and the works at Clapham Junction required for the scheme.
  • When the construction works are complete in late 2012, London Overground services will run from Clapham Junction to Dalston Junction via Surrey Quays calling at all stations en route.  A fleet of new high capacity, air conditioned trains will provide a direct and frequent service of four trains per hour to Docklands (via Canada Water) and the City (via the new Shoreditch High Street station).
  • The funding for the scheme did not include the cost of building a new station at Surrey Canal Road.  Although TfL, Lewisham Council and other stakeholders have lobbied the Department for Transport for funding, the Department has now confirmed that it will be unable to provide the £7m required.  However a site for a possible future station has been incorporated in the design of the extension so that, should funding be confirmed at a later date, it could be built with reduced disruption to the operational railway. TfL and Lewisham are continuing to work together to ensure that the design of the scheme in this area takes account of the proposed development nearby.

 3.      Later Dalston Junction – West Croydon services.

From 13 Dec later services will run between Dalston Junction and New Cross Gate allowing late night travellers to interchange with Southern services at New Cross Gate. From 13 Dec the extra trains between Dalston Junction and New Cross Gate will be the 23:47hrs, 00:01 hrs and 00:15hrs from Dalston Junction.

Paying more than our fare share? Are 2011 travel price hikes justified?

We’ve all heard the news about above inflation travel price rises in the New Year. But are inner suburban areas like ours getting a particularly rough deal? 

In January, single tube and bus fares are set to rise sharply — by 5.5% and 8% respectively:

Cost of a single central London tube journey            Cost of a single central London bus journey 

                      2010    2011                                                                               2010    2011

Oyster         £1.80   £1.90                                                          Oyster        £1.20   £1.30

Cash             £4.00   £4.00     A rise of 5.5%                       Cash            £2.00   £2.20    A rise of 8 %

Now comes the really bad news for our area.

Currently there are six different one-day travelcards — in January there will be just three. The only one day cards  available, peak or off-peak, will be for zones 1-2, zones 1-4, and zones 1-6. This is bad news if you currently use the Zone 2-6 travelcard, which enables you, for example, to travel from Sydenham to Canary Wharf via Canada Water without going into zone 1. This card is being scrapped forcing you to buy a travel card which includes zone 1 even if you never travel into zone one. When the Zone 2-6 One Day Travelcard is withdrawn you’ll be forced to buy a 1-4 zone card instead. That’s a massive 57% fare increase off-peak, and an astonishing 67% increase for the all-day user.

If you are thinking – so what, I never buy a One Day Travelcard anyway, think again. You’ll be paying a great deal extra, indirectly at least, through daily price-capping. Pay-as-you-go price caps are always set to match the relevant Travelcard, so if a paper Travelcard disappears then so will the matching electronic price cap.

For example, if you use your Oyster to swan around in Zones 1-5 all day, you currently never pay more than £12.60. Once the Z1-5 Travelcard vanishes you’ll have to pay up to £15.00 instead, which is the Z1-6 cap. Over a week, a month, a year, that’ll really add up. Or consider an Oyster user who makes four off-peak Zone 2-3 tube journeys in a day, each costing £1.80. At the moment the price cap kicks in at £5.10, which means the fourth journey is free. Once the Z2-6 Travelcard vanishes the price cap leaps to £8.00, which means the fourth journey costs full price.

Hardly a fair deal for local travellers!

We are indebted to the irrepressible Diamond Geezer —surely the most characterful blog in Britain—  for his analysis of coming price rises.

Good news for rail travellers – extra late night train on East London Line in December

Good news for night travellers on the East London line when the new timetable starts on Sunday 12 December.  An extra late train will leave Dalston Junction at 00.15am calling at Canada Water at 00.31 and arriving at New Cross Gate at 00.36am in time to catch the last train from London Bridge and arriving at Sydenham at 00.52am.

After the new timetable starts in December the times of late ELL trains leaving Canada Water towards Sydenham will be: 22.46, 22.56, 23.16, 23.26, 23.46, 23.56 and 00.31.

With the news reported earlier on this website that two extra evening rush hour trains from London Bridge will be provided in December, this shows a continually improving service for Sydenham.


It’s not grim up north – a guide to some great pubs on the East London Line

Pub enthusiast and CAMRA stalwart Neil Pettigrew takes you on the first of a series of trips to the best boozers along the new rail line.

Part 1 – Dalston


Sydenham pub-goers, often less than thrilled by the pubs on offer locally, are finding they have a feast of new pub experiences to enjoy, now that the recently re-opened East London Line goes all the way to Dalston. There are good pubs to be found near all of the stations on the new line (including Wapping and Whitechapel), and this article, the first of a series, will begin by looking at just those that are an easy walk from Dalston itself, the end of the line.

The previously-uncharted (at least by a southern softy like me) territory of Dalston is a goldmine for those who, like me, enjoy the endlessly fascinating architecture of London’s Victorian suburbs, and in particular the faded grandeur of our capital’s purpose-built nineteenth century pubs. And, a bonus for real ale lovers, all of the following serve traditional cask-conditioned beer by hand-pump.


When you emerge from Dalston station you will immediately be confronted by the sad sight of two impressive Victorian pubs that have seen better days. Look slightly to the right and you will see the Railway Tavern – now a William Hill betting shop – and then walk left to the main crossroads where you will see the Crown and Castle – now a noodle bar. For both pubs, look up to see the evidence of their former glory.

Have no fear, though, a short walk west takes you to The Duke of Wellington (119 Balls Pond Road, N1). This handsome Victorian corner pub still displays, rather magnificently, an old Watney’s sign outside. The original Victorian features inside have been sympathetically retained by the current licensees, including some old dark wood and etched-glass screens. A selection of real ales is offered and kept in excellent condition. Here one can sample beers from Sambrook’s, a small and relatively new London brewery based in Battersea. Food is offered daily, and so too are Saturday brunch and Sunday roast are also available. See their web-site for more information:

Head south from here to the Scolt Head (107a Culford Rd, Dalston, N1), another elegant Victorian corner boozer. While musing over the meaning of the pub’s name, you can admire the green-tinted leaded windows, which are trade-mark remnants of its days as a Charrington-owned pub. And on the day of my visit, there was another reminder of pub heritage: a bitter called Truman’s Runner was available, thanks to some enterprising locals who have started a new brewery in honour of the old company.

The Stag’s Head (Orsman Rd, Hoxton, N1) is a splendidly traditional 1930s back street boozer, included in CAMRA’s inventory of London pubs with interiors of special interest. For those who object to the gentrification and gastro-ization of many of our pubs, this place will be more to your liking, and it has even retained an old spittoon trough around the base of the bar (present-day usage not recommended).

The Prince George (40 Parkholme Rd, E8) is a short walk to the east of Dalston station. Inside is still pleasingly traditional, and outside is a seriously faded pub sign atop a pole (still advertising ‘Whitbread’, although they haven’t owned any pubs for two decades), and depicting the Prince himself with a lady of low morals sitting on his lap. Real ale fans will enjoy the selection available in here.

The Prince Arthur (95 Forest Rd, E8) is just a couple of minutes walk from the Prince George. Architecturally, it’s another good-looking Victorian corner pub, looming over its neighbours by a good ten feet, and with the name of the pub and the year 1861 engraved high up in stone. Inside is still traditional, and above the back of the bar is an eye-catching display of old lettering advertising various drinks.

Meet your new neighbours!

The arrival of the new East London Line puts Sydenham for the first time within direct reach of many communities further up the line. Here we investigate some of the attractions of our new “friends in the north”

Surrey Quays Come out of the bright glass-fronted station at Surrey Quays and you are immediately confronted by the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre just across the road, which includes retailers such as Tesco, BHS, Mothercare and River Island. Just a short walk behind the Centre brings you to the wide expanse of the Greenland Dock, home of the Surrey Docks Watersports Centre, which boasts a wide range of sailing, canoeing and sailboarding activities as well as a large gym. Further along Greenland Dock, close to the river, is the Surrey Docks City Farm, open to the public Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm.

Canada Water This futuristic station with its distinctive conical-shaped glass roof is at the heart of the ELL providing an interchange with the Jubilee Line. Canada Water lies close to the massive Decathlon Sports Centre, the largest sports retail store in the UK and a must-visit for any sports, cycling or camping addict. A little further along Surrey Quays Road is the Odeon Surrey Quays, a giant multiplex cinema – and just next to it, the Hollywood Bowl, a vast ten-pin bowling alley. We’re always complaining that our part of the world has no cinema, now there’s one that can be reached by a regular 15 minute train ride followed by a 5 minute walk.

Rotherhithe is the last station on the ELL south of the river. Close to the entrance lies the Brunel Museum which hosts a fascinating exhibition about the Thames tunnel, the oldest tunnel in use on the London Underground  – and the world’s first underwater tunnel –  constructed by Mark and Isambard Brunel, and which is now used by the ELL to cross under the Thames. Close by is the historic Thames-side pub, The Mayflower, close to the spot where the Pilgrim Fathers first set sail for America in 1620. A short distance further west is another famous riverside watering hole, The Angel – famous for its view of Tower Bridge and reputedly, as a favourite spot of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon when they were courting!

Wapping with its trendy restaurants, warehouse apartments and cool parks such as the Wapping Rose Garden just opposite the station is at the heart of a regeneration which would startle those who knew this formerly run-down area twenty years ago. The riverside has three historic pubs looking across the Thames foreshore to the south bank. Best-known are The Captain Kidd and The Prospect of Whitby (with its eye-catching mock gallows close to the seating area at the back of the pub – a reminder of the former Execution Dock which once lay close by). But well worth a visit is the outwardly plain-looking Town of Ramsgate with its own historic “stair” leading down to the river.

Shadwell This tiny neighbourhood station is a brief distance from Wapping DLR station just around the corner. A short walk along Candle Street takes you into Cable Street, scene of mass battles against Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists in October 1936. Look out on the far side of the road for the looming tower of St George in the East, one of Hawksmoor’s east end masterpieces. Further on is the newly refurbished Wilton’s Music Hall, the oldest surviving music hall in the world which is currently running an attractive programme of music and cabaret.

Whitechapel The interchange station for the District and Hammersmith & City lines, lies directly opposite the Royal London Hospital. Walk east along Whitechapel Road and you’ll find the Blind Beggar pub, “front office” for the infamous Kray twins and scene of one of their most outrageous murders. In the opposite direction, along Whitechapel Road, is the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, Britain’s oldest manufacturing company, founded in 1570. The foundry’s output includes the famous American Liberty Bell and Big Ben, the largest bell ever cast at Whitechapel. Travelling one stop along the District Line from Whitechapel to Aldgate East brings you to the Whitechapel Art Gallery and to Petticoat Lane, a 1,000-stall market spread across Wentworth Street and Middlesex Street. Near here are the well-known gastronomic attractions of Brick Lane. You’re deep in trendy art territory here so look out for independent galleries such as Artcadia, The Spitz Gallery and NO:ID, all based along Commercial Road.

Shoreditch High Street This new dedicated station lies on the north-eastern edge of the City, just a few minutes walk from Liverpool St Station and Broadgate. North-west of the station, Curtain Road and Old Street have a large number of clubs and pubs. Dennis Severs House in Folegate Street recreates a former Hugenot silk-weavers home and traces its history, in an almost magical theatrical recreation of family life. Check whether you are trendy enough to enter Hoxton Square (down Kingsland Road and west of Shoreditch High Street) where the White Cube Gallery and bars such as Bluu, The Hoxton Apprentice and Zigfrid are located. From here, SE26 suddenly seems like a long way away.

Hoxton station is adjacent to the beautiful Geffrye Museum – you look down into the museum’s attractive herb garden from the up-platform of the station. The museum, built in a terrace of former almshouses is a sister to our local Horniman Museum, and its collection traces the history of the British home. Head a short distance south-east across Hackney Road for Columbia Road Flower Market (Sunday 8am-3pm) and a plethora of craft, furniture and deli shops. This is the Handbag Capital of the UK with more handbag shops than any sane person could surely want.

Haggerston Don’t be put off by the grim housing blocks surrounding Haggerston Station. Cross Kingsland Road into De Beauvoir Square with its beautiful early 19th century town houses; then head south down pretty Mortimer Road or De Beauvoir Road until you reach the Regent’s Canal. Walk west for three-quarters of a mile along the towpath until you reach beautiful Haggerston Park (awarded a Green Flag in 2009). Visit Hackney City Farm situated in the south of park, open Tues-Sunday 10am–4.30pm; animal feeding time is around 4pm and there’s a brilliant café. From here, it’s a short walk back along the Hackney Road to Hoxton station.

Dalston is the end of the line – for the time being, at least, until the ELL is extended as far as Highbury and Islington in May 2011. The area contains a rich mixture of culture and places of interest including Ridley Road Market, just north of the station, the Rio, London’s largest independent cinema and The Vortex jazz club in Gillett Square just off Kingsland Road. A few hundred metres north is the wonderful Arcola Theatre, one of the best small theatres in the capital.

What’s the best train to catch late at night?

Caught in a dilemma as to whether to catch an East London line train or a train from London Bridge?

Well puzzle no more! The Sydenham Society’s quick and easy timetable showing the best late night trains has arrived!

The timetable shows the times of late evening trains from both London Bridge and Canada Water, allowing you at glance to choose the one that’s best for you.

If you’ve left it until after the witching hour, then London Bridge is your only hope – with trains at six and 36 minutes past midnight.

Sydenham now a transport hub!

The arrival of the new East London Line has not quite placed Sydenham at the centre of the Universe (although we all know it is!). But it has produced many extra direct links to places resulting in quicker and easier journeys around the Capital.

The map shows all of the places which can now be reached directly from this area including important interchange stations such as Clapham Junction, West and East Croydon, London Bridge, Canada Water and Whitechapel.

From 2016, the situation will be improved even further when Sydenham joins Thameslink carrying passengers directly through London Bridge to Thameslink stations such as Blackfriars, Farringdon and King’s Cross.