Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

The Road to Nowhere

Posted in Great Britain, Infrastructure, Metro by Chairman Pip on 25 January 2010

My nearest railway station is New Cross. New Cross is one of two stations serving the area, the other being New Cross Gate; both serve suburban trains from London Bridge, with Southeastern services to North Kent stopping at New Cross, and Southern trains towards Croydon using New Cross Gate. In addition, they were the two southern termini for the East London Line when it was a tube line. Well, as you should know, the East London Line has been turned over to London Overground, which will link it to the National Rail network to the north at Dalston Junction and to the south at New Cross Gate, which will then allow through running trains from Highbury & Islington to Crystal Palace and West Croydon. The problem is New Cross, which is also being kept as a terminus (unlike New Cross Gate which will become a through station). New Cross was completely rebuilt in the 1970s, with the original station building that was located on the bridge over the railway demolished and replaced by a new building at the side of the line, and the track layout completely altered to what is in place today. This had the effect of removing pre-existing connections between the East London Line and the (then) Southern Region lines, thus truncating the ELL to New Cross. So, here’s my question – if the line can’t be extended from New Cross, perhaps to somewhere like Bromley, which has no direct connection to this part of London, then why is New Cross being kept as part of London Overground’s network? It isn’t as if the people of the area won’t be able to use the service, as New Cross Gate is a 10 minute walk from New Cross. I would imagine the argument is that it allows people using Southeastern’s services to then interchange to the ELL, but believe me, in all the years I used it I don’t believe I ever saw people getting off at New Cross to use the tube. Why keep this short stub? It’s at this point that I raise my fist and cry out “BARROWMAN…GRRR!!!”. Yes, it is easy with hindsight to complain, but New Cross had connections between the ELL and the Southern Region on BOTH sides of its alignment, which would have allowed the kind of through running that will be implemented at New Cross Gate, thanks to the installation of the new flyover – southbound trains at New Cross Gate will use the existing ELL platform (Platform 1), while northbound they will use Platform 5, and divert just a little further on onto the new flyover, carrying them across the main line onto the ELL. It makes one wail in despair at the lack of foresight – even if the route was not maintained, it could have at least been kept in place so that it could potentially have been used at a later date. But no. And it leaves us left with New Cross the stub, New Cross the Road to Nowhere.

Kent Rail – New Cross
Clive’s Underground Lines – East London


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  1. […] to admit that, for my own personal use, it is a bit pointless. Not pointless in the way that the terminus at New Cross is pointless, though I still maintain that it is pretty pointless to have trains terminating at New Cross, given […]

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