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Tag: train

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 When the Zone 2-6 One Day Travelcard is withdrawn you’ll be forced to buy a 1-4 zone card instead.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.

Gatwick Airport station redevelopment

Network Rail has announced the go-ahead for a major upgrade of the station at Gatwick Airport with easier access, reduced congestion and better facilities.
Work to finalise the station design will start immediately with the relocation of a substation due to commence in summer 2011. Passengers will begin to see progress at the station but the major construction work is not scheduled to start on site until Autumn 2012 after the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics games have finished. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.
The £53m scheme will deliver a range of benefits for passengers including:
  • Improved passenger circulation on platforms 5 and 6 through the replacement of an existing stairway with an escalator and the installation of a new lift  
  •  Refurbishment of the concourse area to provide better facilities for passengers and improved circulation  
  • Upgrade of the track and signalling to improve performance and reliability of trains passing through and travelling to/from Gatwick Airport.
  • A new platform to address the existing bottleneck in the Gatwick area for services on the Brighton mainline


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.

More trains to and from London Bridge in December

Good news for rail passengers travelling to and from London Bridge comes with the new timetable on 12th December.

Here are the main improvements:

• Two additional evening peak trains will run between London Bridge and Crystal Palace via Sydenham at 17.24 and 18.24. This will help to ease the evening rush hour services which were cut from six trains per hour to four trains in May. We are now back to five trains per hour – not ideal but we’re getting there.

• An extra Saturday late evening London Bridge to Victoria train will leave London Bridge at 23.52, getting you to Sydenham at around 8 minutes past midnight. This fills in a 30 minute gap after the 23.36 and means that there will now be six late evening trains from London Bridge after 11pm (the 23.06; 23.22; 23.36; 23.52; 00.06 and 00.36)

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.