Monday, 26 January 2009

Deptford Station Latest

Good news in the February issue of Lewisham Life (in recent months a copy has been finding its way on to my doormat); the much delayed construction of our new station building is expected to start by Easter with opening by mid-2010! Keeping all my fingers and toes crossed, and I suggest you do the same...

The Giffin Square revamp should also start shortly, with an eyecatching (according to the Life) new building called the Deptford Lounge as its centrepiece. All these plans should be on show at the Access Point building in the Square this weekend (thanks to Deptford Dame for highlighting this exhibition, pity it wasn't mentioned in the Life).

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

From the Archives: A Presidential Encounter

Watching President Obama's inauguration today brought to mind a fleeting encounter I had with his predecessor in September 2003, at the unlikely location of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal in New York City. Waiting for the next crossing in a crowd of hundreds of returning commuters, murmurings that the President was approaching grew. We surged over to the land side in anticipation and sure enough his motorcade swept past, "Dubya" having just addressed the General Assembly of the UN. The spectacle was more of a fast getaway than orderly procession, it was impossible to distinguish the man himself. And so we turned back and boarded the ferry as if nothing had happened; I guess New Yorkers are pretty used to these sights.

Obama is due in London in April, I daresay this visit will generate a little more excitement.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Perilous Platforms!

Station platforms can be dangerous places. Before the surfaces at Whitehead station were raised people could, and did, fall between train and platform. Just for a change last September it was the turn of the platform to fall (apparently caused by work to relay piping). Fortunately no one was injured and the platform was quickly rebuilt over 10 days, with a full service restored on 6 October.

The Larne-bound platform at Whitehead station the day after the collapse:

And after the debris was cleared away:

Contrast this with the ordered but very lengthy (around 6 months) rebuilding of the platforms at Deptford Bridge DLR station to allow 3-car trains to run. This photo taken last Sunday shows the finished result - still closed off to passengers but bizarrely displaying an information board which includes out of date Christmas and New Year service information...

Nowadays of course many metro systems use platform edge doors, the Jubilee Line being one example. Even these do not provide absolute safety as this incident in Shanghai demonstrated.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

St Paul's Strings

A heads up for this concert at St Paul's on Friday evening. The programme includes Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis by Vaughan Williams and one of my favourite pieces. Its etheral melodies transcend the centuries; as one Fuller Maitland summed up the work of V-W, "one is never quite sure whether one is listening to something very old or very new." In recent years it seems to have experienced a resurgence in popularity, judging by its rise up the Classic FM Hall of Fame and its use or derivation (a fantasia on a fantasia?) in several films.

Update: A fantastic concert performed to packed pews. We were even treated to a extra piece - a spirited rendition of Happy Birthday for leader James Widden.