TfL works out how to add 4 trains per hour to East London Line peak

A new strategy paper from TfL reports that increasing the capacity of the East London Line will be cheaper, easier and faster than previously expected, allowing them to reduce peak time overcrowding. London Reconnections reports:

In the case of the ELL, it has become possible to increase the frequency by removing signalling constraints long before anyone imagined it would have happened and at little, or no, cost to TfL.

To quote the paper:

"In the 2016 Autumn Statement the Chancellor announced a £450m Digital Railway fund for trialling digital signalling technology, expanding capacity, and improving reliability. The strategic outline business case for the ELL 20 trains per hour project has been shortlisted to receive funding from this fund. Funding of £6m has been received to develop the project to outline business case but a final decision is not expected until spring 2018."

So an unexpected opportunity has arisen to both buy trains at a cheaper price than they would otherwise cost and to have the ELL signalling upgraded at no cost to TfL. Despite TfL being strapped for cash, it must be hard to resist such an opportunity. Indeed, one could even argue that because TfL is strapped for cash it is even more important to take advantage of such an opportunity while it exists.

The ELL is well-known for operating at capacity at certain times of the day. Of particular concern are stations such as Honor Oak Park in the morning peak, where passengers cannot always board the first Overground train that arrives.

For many years there has been talk of running an extra 2tph ‘pixie busters’ (‘Passengers In eXcess of Capacity’, or PIXC to its friends) on the Crystal Palace branch in the peak period. Indeed it is a bit of a mystery why this hasn’t already happened, as the trains are available (they are currently designated as ‘hot standbys’). The main reason for this not taking place seems to be the issues at London Bridge during its redevelopment...

We can fairly safely conclude that the proposal is for the service to be increased to 6pth on both the Crystal Palace and the Clapham Junction branch. At Crystal Palace, where there are two dedicated terminating platforms available, we can be confident that the terminus can handle the increase in services.

There is much more extensive analysis here. Thanks to Richard for the spot.

Clement & Black, October 26

Meet Jo Black & Will Clement
Clement & Black is a local wine tasting company that celebrates its first birthday today.

Based in Honor Oak, Will Clement & Jo Black organise wine tasting evenings in the Greater Brockley area, with their next event taking place at Honor Oak cafe Two Spoons on October 26th. They say:

"Two Spoons maestro Luca will kick us off in authentic Italian style with seasonal cocktails. Then we'll taste 8 beautiful wines along with some lovely food, plus our favourite single estate olive oil."

To get tickets, click here.

Mouse Tail, Deptford

Another local archway-dwelling venue, Mouse Tail is the newish coffee shop underneath Deptford Station (Archway 3).

A cosier version of Peckham's Blackbird Bakery, its chocolate-block walls cocoon customers in a woozy half-light - you will need the coffee just to stay awake.

The Nunhead Gardener, Nunhead

The Nunhead Gardener (1a Oakdale Road) is a charming gardening shop tucked under an archway next to Nunhead Station.

Although it doesn't have the floorspace to compete with larger garden centres for equipment, trees and larger plants, it offers a beautiful range of plants and pots for window boxes, borders and around the home.

Yule not enjoy the Christmas train service

Joe pointed me in the direction of this announcement about local trains over the Christmas period:

This Christmas, between Saturday 23 December and Monday 1 January 2018 inclusive, there will be closures and changes to services as the Thameslink Programme continues to rebuild London Bridge station and the surrounding railway.

During this time there will be fewer trains into London and your journey will take longer, especially during the three working days (27th -29th December) From Saturday 23 December until Monday 1 January 2018, there will be changes to rail services across London and the south-east while Network Rail continues to transform north-south travel through London as part of the Thameslink Programme.

Southeastern, Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Southern services will all be affected as well as other train operators, with no National Rail services running on Christmas Day or Boxing Day.

Southeastern services will not run to or from Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Waterloo East, London Bridge, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill, Westcombe Park, New Cross and St Johns for the entire period of 23 December to 1 January.

Thameslink services will not run through central London. Trains will be terminating at Blackfriars, Victoria or London Bridge (from the south) and St Pancras International (from the north) from 23 December to 1 January.

A reduced Southern service will operate to and from London Bridge from 23 December to 1 January.

Heat Massage, 315a Brockley Road

Heat Massage is a new massage therapy room, in Heat salon on Brockley Road. Prices start from £25 for 30 minutes (or £20 for baby massage).

For details, click here.

The Brockley Christmas Market 2017

Last month, I ran into one of the members of the Brockley Cross Action Group, who had moved away from the area, realised the terrible mistake he'd made, and moved back. He was busy weeding and trimming the plants in the Brockley Station garden, which the group created.

The garden and the wider Coulgate Street masterplan they championed helped to unlock the wider improvements around the east side of the station and have produced the town centre that this part of Brockley had always lacked.

This group - along with many others like it - form the vibrant civil society that has shaped Brockley's development over the last decade. We are lucky to have them. Soon, they will be going on a recruitment drive for new members, but for now, they want you to know about the Christmas Market they will be holding in December. Rupert writes:

"The Brockley Cross Action Group is once again organising the Brockley Community Christmas Market, which this year will be held on Saturday 9th December from 12pm (in Coulgate Street by Brockley Station).

"As in previous years we intend to have up to 60 stalls along the street selling a wide range of arts & crafts items, festive gifts and food. There will be festive activities and live music all afternoon.

"We are looking for local volunteers to help set up and run the market on the day! Tasks include setting up the market in the morning, putting the stall lights up, looking after the stallholders, running the BXAG mulled wine stall (to raise money for community activities) and tidying up at the end of the day.

"If you would like to help us run this wonderful and well established community event please get in touch at rupertking@hotmail.com. Thank you!

"If you would like a stall at the market please contact Erin Essex (eaessex@hotmail.com) to obtain an application form."

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