Transport Watch – July 2014

 

Yet more changes at Paddington. Until the 22nd August passengers will no longer be able to access the Bakerloo Line from Paddington National Rail Station though they will still be able to exit the Bakerloo Line. This is of course whilst escalator upgrades take place. The suggested alternative is to take the Hammersmith and City Line from Platform 16 and to change at Baker Street. Remember Circle Line trains terminate at Edgware Road and also that Edgware Road, Bakerloo Line is a separate station which means paying two fares for one journey if you choose that option.

 

However, some good news. Bond Street Station on the Central Line has re-opened, but as Crossrail work progresses the station is now closed to Jubilee Line services, and elsewhere the Piccadilly Line is still not stopping at Gloucester Road. Nearer to home, the line between Uxbridge, Rayners Lane and Wembley is subject to major disruption as essential track relaying work is taking place. Do check the station posters or the excellent TfL website if you plan to travel that way.

 

Don’t be alarmed if you think you have seen or heard a steam engine on the Piccadilly Line. It may not be imagination for as part of the Underground’s 150th anniversary a special steam hauled train will leave Northfields Station at 8.24am on the 2nd August, and again the following Saturday. It will then proceed to Moorgate Station where, after a short wait, it will run to Hammersmith, (dep 09.55), and back. Finally, at 16.25 it will depart Moorgate for Northfields, arriving 50 minutes later. The return journey will be electric hauled but with a steam engine at the rear.

 

Never short of surprises. London Buses has erected an unusual bus shelter in Regents Street, near to the famous Hamley’s Toy Store.. Unusual, yes, because it is built of Lego, the famous Danish-created toy beloved by children. This is all part of  the "Year of the Bus” celebration. Perhaps the most noteworthy event of the Bus Year is the restoration of a B-type bus many of which were pressed into World War One service. The restored bus can be seen at the London Transport Museum.

 

Full marks to TfL for their enterprise but a cautionary note about their decision not to accept cash on any of its buses which came into force on 7th July. Freedom Passes, Travelcards and of course Oyster Cards are still accepted and also most bank debit cards. Drivers have been advised to accept passengers with low balances on their Oyster Cards putting the card into the red in order to complete their journey. But this overdrawn amount is automatically deducted from the next top up. But if the card is already in the red when you board then, sorry, you are shown the red card and cannot travel.

 

We all have our own opinions about bus safety and bus driving standards and these opinions will often change at the end of a particular journey, but bus related injuries continue to fall dramatically. TfL publish details on their website and the figures for January to March 2014 are now available. So lets give praise where praise is due. Driving a London Bus in London traffic is not easy. Even so 2 fatalities and 283 hospital referral injuries do not leave room for complacency.

 

Complaints about national rail services fell by over 9% in the first quarter of this year to just 34 complaints per 100,000 journeys. Email remains the most popular way to lodge a complaint and delays remain the major cause for complaint, so perhaps the milder winter helped reduce the impact of delays on travel. But punctuality remains a dilemma for rail operators. Do they, for example hold a branch line train to await the late running “London” train, or do they maintain on-time departures and leave the connecting passengers to suffer a delay awaiting the next branch line train?

 

London Overground, which serves Acton Central and South Acton, has returned the first 4 coach train to Derby where a fifth coach will added increasing capacity by a further 25%. The extended train will then undergo vigorous testing before returning to service in London in November. Subsequently a fifth carriage will be added to all Overground’s trains at their New Cross Depot, a short two day process enabling all their trains to be upgraded and in service by the end of 2015. Even before the extended trains enter service, customer satisfaction with the Overground service remains high, a recent industry survey records an 80% plus result

 

An apology for a mistake in last month’s column. I stated that the new Crossrail Trains would have 600 seats and space for up to 1500 passengers. I was wrong. The number of seats has been determined at 450, still more than on many of the FGW services serving local stations...