London Grinding To A Halt

Forgive the title of this post. There are times when only cliche will do.

Today I am going to a place just north of Farringdon. This journey would normally take – what – 35 minutes – if that. Today I’m allowing just over an hour. the TFL website journey finder reckons my best bet will include a walk, followed by a train, followed by a tube, followed by another walk, followed by a bus. Frankly I’m just going to take a chance that Cannon St will be open (TFL reckon it will be, but I’m always edgy until I get there) and walk the rest.

Weekend engineering works are such a sore point it feels tedious just to mention poor transport links – every blog I read moans about them on a weekly basis. But just because it’s getting boring now doesn’t mean to say that it’s any less inconvenient, irritating or downright fury-inducing.

The weekday services have been utterly appalling – especially during the snow which created excuses a-gogo for Southeastern, and yet, strangely, didn’t seem to affect anyone else nearly so badly – even those companies in the west of London that had it so bad TV reporters camped out to gloat managed to get on their feet more quickly that our lot.

But the weekend services have been on a trickle of misery for years now. The Jubilee line is worst of course, especially when it’s closure has coincided with Southeastern closing the Charlton/Westcombe park/Maze Hill/ Greenwich line (and not mentioning on any kind of notice a the station that there’s no point taking a bus to the Jubilee line ’cause that’s shut too…)

And now it’s all kicking off with the Northern Line. However much Boris may huff and puff, I’m guessing that it will make no difference. Tube Lines will continue to be inefficient because they know they can’t get kicked off the job (I’m convinced they just factored the fines for late delivery into the initial cost).

It’s enough to make you get back in the car.

But no – you can forget that too, if you’re planning to be out any later than 9.00pm and – heavens – decide to cross the river.

For the next three years, don’t even think about driving south through the Blackwall Tunnel between 9.00pm and 5.00am, Sundays to Fridays, AND Sunday, 1.00am-8.am – so that’s your Saturday night on the tiles scuppered.

Why is there no contraflow created? All I can find are mutterings about Health and Safety. I don’t buy them. As Lupo-Lupo points out, this won’t just affect motorists either – I don’t think I’d go as far as to say that Evelyn Road, Blackheath Hill and Greenwich town centre will be ‘paralysed’ every weekday night, but the traffic will be heavier and we will get jams. Not least because there’s not been that much advance warning of this, and there will be a whole bunch of confused motorists getting as far as the A2 and being forced to turn back. No hope of extended Ferry crossing hours, of course.

It doesn’t seem like any time at all since this all happened last time.

It all kicks off from tomorrow – so here’s a fun thing to do tonight:

Get a load of mates together and drive back and forth through the tunnel all night – between one o’clock and eight – just because you can, luxuriating in the delight of two tunnels at night.


11 Comments to “London Grinding To A Halt”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Why would the southbound closure cause jams in Greenwich? Wouldn't the problems be on the north side?

  2. Dazza says:

    I suppose We (@no9) should count ourselves lucky. We got a letter through the door advising of the closure of the Tunnel 'till Dec 2012'
    Ah ha I thought, something that won't be finished for the Olympics…..but wait, weren't we supposed to have a transport infrastructure that would enable to Officials/Competitors to 'compete not commute'? Well God help them if they want to travel around the 'Olympic Sites'.
    And as an after thought….Where are these spectators/visitors going to be parking their cars/coaches etc.? I can't see Burney Street being able to cope with the influx……..
    I think I'll be moving out for the duration..I think a nice long holiday, a cruise maybe…..hang on, Got to win the Lottery first!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Jubilee line upgrade is on time and on budget. How is that inefficient?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous – because a lot of the southbound traffic will be diverted to the Rotherhithe Tunnel -> Evelyn Road -> Deptford/Greenwich -> further south

  5. Anonymous says:

    Actually Phantom, Friday and Saturday nights the tunnel will be open. That is, when there are no extra closures, which they have said will happen, potentially at any time.

    See http://www.blackwalltunnel.com to get a full picture of the absurdity.

  6. Ed says:

    Here's a facebook blackwall tunnel action group agaist this madness (no contra flow).

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=270432323947&ref=nf

  7. methers says:

    Just north of Farringdon you say? I'd either take the Northern Line from London Bridge to Angel and walk back down, or walk from Cannon Street to Bank (3 mins) then take the Central Line to Chancery Lane. All those lines are running fine today.

    And the upgrade to the Jubilee Line signalling is just a bit late; it was supposed to be ready for when the new extension opened in 1999!

  8. scared of chives says:

    TGP – I'm pleased you mentioned the lack of 'don't bother to go the tube cos it's shut' signs. The ****-wits don't put signs up at bus stops or the train station(s).

    @dazza – good idea, already mulling over this (get sea-sick, so no cruise)

    I'm having lasagna for dinner, thought you'd like to know.

  9. Nat says:

    I don't think any other capital city in the world would put up with such nonsense EVERY weekend! I hardly ever even bother trying to leave the Borough at the weekend anymore unless I'm going by car.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Instead of trying to get around London, spend the time in lovely Greenwich. Check out the Tourist Information Centre. Did you know that when they move back to their old home (in March) they won't be able to sell books at all, so now is the time to snap up those fascinating publications. Of course Waterstones will be selling some of the better known volumes, but it's the small limited editions which contain the nuggets.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Maybe tfl should buy some of those amphibious buses that are being tested on the Clyde (on the bbc news web today) for the route 108…