Heathrow Airspace and Future Operations Consultation

Did you get this leaflet through your letterbox this week on Heathrow’s Airspace and Future Operations Consultation?

If you didn’t you can still attend one of the 29 consultation events HERE that run from 8th January to 4th March 2019. There’s a consultation event in Surrey Heath. Though stated as being in Woking, it is on Saturday morning and afternoon [10.0am to 4.0pm], 16th February 2019 at Tringham Hall, Benner Lane, West End, Woking, GU24 9JP

The nearest alternative consultation events are at Ascot Racecourse on Friday afternoon and evening of 1st February 2019, or Grange Bracknell Hotel, Bracknell on Wednesday afternoon and evening 6th February 2019.

Click on image to enlarge.

The uncertain future of tube trains on the Isle of Wight

On assured sunny days, visiting the Isle of Wight is for us a favoured adventure day trip. We’ve travelled there by almost all possible ways.

The easiest way for us is to go from Portsmouth. We can get there easily by car, park in Gun Wharf Keys, then catch the foot ferry to Ryde. Occasionally we might take the car ferry to Fishbourne. We’ve not yet used the hovercraft to Ryde esplanade, nor have we yet caught the train from Woking to Portsmouth Harbour, perhaps we will try both in 2019.

Arriving at Ryde Pier by foot ferry we either walk down to Ryde esplanade, or catch the Island Line tube train from the pier-head. On one visit we caught the tube, and got off at Brading station– such good fun, lovely heritage station and Signal Box.

The tube trains are reconditioned 1938 London Underground trains, and boy don’t you know it. While fun, they are uncomfortable, as you might expect with 80-year-old carriages. The rail track is similarly uncomfortable, bumpy, noisy, and in need of replacement.

Most recently, this year, we caught the tube to Lake station, walked on the promenade to Shanklin up to the station and thence for late afternoon lunch in Ryde. We’d not been this far previously by tube. Handy yes, uncomfortable, certainly. I thought, at the time, that the rolling stock and line were in urgent need of replacement.

Hence, the point of this story. The tube train from Ryde Pier is something that adds to the tourist experience, which the island should endeavour to retain. But how?

All the arguments about possible alternatives are addressed in London Reconnections article Third Ryde Tube: Transfer Troublesome. It’s a longish article, but fun for train buffs. Below are a few photos on the tube from our past visits.

Yet more on the Waterloo station redevelopment

I try to limit the number of times I write about the changes at Waterloo Station. Honestly, I do.

I hope I may be allowed to post a link to a recent article in City A. M, wich notes that there are plans, by developer LCR, to create a major £200m retail and leisure development for Time Our Group at London’s busiest station.

City A.M’s report says,

Time Out Market London will have restaurants, bars and “cultural experiences” hand picked by the British media company from across the capital. Occupying 32,500 square feet over two floors in the former Eurostar terminal, the market is expected to open in 2021.

With around 500 seats, it plans to host 17 acclaimed London chefs and restaurateurs serving all kinds of cuisines, plus three bars and a space for cultural experiences showcasing the best London talent.

On Thursday 13th December, Time Out Group announced their plans for Waterloo London, see their plans below.

Time Out Group plc announces new Time Out Market London - Waterloo

A Waterloo Station upgrade report

The revised Waterloo South Western Railway timetable from December 2018 is predicated on the reopening of the old Eurostar International platforms – see HERE.

The work to bring those platforms into use has been part of my regular Waterloo Station photo reports of the ongoing work – see HERE for all the articles in descending date order.

My most recent article – HERE – surmised that the engineering works would not complete by December. I’ve not been to Waterloo station since. Therefore I’m relying on comments in the Back to the Future: (Re)lengthening and Shortening at Waterloo article in London Reconnections website.

These comments, the latest on December 11th, indicate that platforms 19, 20, 21, and 22 are in use, and that the new walkway is open, although there is ongoing work in the ‘orchestra pit’. My most recent photo opposite – click to expand..

Meanwhile, again reading in the superb London Reconnections website that the revised time table for additional, and longer trains will not apply before May 2019. There’ not mention of this fact in Network Rail websites that I can see. Apparently there is insufficent power to operate the trains. The situation is fully explained in A Good Spark is Getting Hard to Find: SWR and the December Timetable.

Looking into deep holes is fun for some

The some in this case is me. Yesterday on my familiar long walk from Lightwater to Deepcut, I encountered engineers having dug a deep hole to expose one on the Esso pipelines.

Talking with helpful engineers, I learned that the uncoverd pipeline was the original pipeline carrying heated heavy fuel oil from Fawley Refinery to Heathrow. The covering around the pipeline has, in places, cracked and allowed water onto the pipeline potentail causing rusting. The plans are to replace this 10 inch pipeline with a 12 inch pipeline.

The pipeline exposed at this site is deeper than elsewhere, and has a slight bend in it to account for the rise in the land.

One humourous story I learned was that, and this isn’t recent, a digger found a 500lb unexploded bomb in his digger bucket. We laughed, and imagined the digger driver making a rapid exit from his cab.

Unsheduled conversations, like these, are an enjoyable part of my life.

Waterloo Station upgrade inching towards completion

It states in Network Rail’s Waterloo Station Upgrade web page that the project extends from July 2017 to December 2018, and what they say about December 2018 is as follows,

Platforms 21–24 re-open permanently and will be included in the December 2018 timetable, with additional train services provided.

As, dear readers, you will know of my predilection of photographing the ongoing works at the station from the same vantage point on the upper concourse – see HERE if you’d like to see all my past articles on the work, which goes back to March 2016, a little earlier than Network Rail’s stated timings.

I took a photo of the works on Tuesday this week, and show it next to the one I took on November 26th. From my perspective, the work seems to be inching forward. Whether they’ll have completed all the work by the end of December, it looks to me most unlikely. [Click on images to expand – Nov 26th on left and Dec 4th on right.]

I’ll be amazed if Waterloo Station upgrade meets its deadline

Regular readers will know that I like to record the progress of the upgrade to Waterloo Station, and do so by posting a photo or two here from the same vantage point on the upper concourse at Waterloo Station.

This is from the Network Rail website on the Waterloo and South West upgrade says,

Work on the Waterloo and South West upgrade started in April 2016 when we began re-developing the former Waterloo International Terminal for domestic services. The project is expected to be complete by December 2018 and will provide the biggest package of improvements to London Waterloo since the 1930s.

I’ll be amazed if the date of December 2018 for completion is met. Take a look at the photo below, and make your judgement. To see my past articles and photos of the progress over the past few years, enter Waterloo into the search box in the top right hand corner, and they’ll be shown in date order – newest first. Click on images to expand.