Starting At Charing Cross?

It seemed a good idea at the time. In the heady enthusiastic days after the brand nee Victoria Line opened, London Underground was eyeing up new destinations and new routes. 
The planners h upon th idea os taking the existing Bakerloo line from Stanmore, bending it a but then rinning via Charing Cross, Aldwych and off eastbound.
Once part of the Metropolitan Railway (back then coloured green) …

… the Stanmore line became a branch of the Bakerloo in 1939.

It was accompanied by simple but effective publicity!

The chosen name for new plans was the Fleet Line, taking the name of the buried River Fleet and Fleet Street.

The broad aim was to take the tunnels south of the Thames where tube lines are a bit thin under the ground. An early option was to veer south …

… to  Lewisham, Addiscombe and possibly in to take over the Hayes branch from Network Rail. Ironically, this route later re-appeared as an extension of the other bit of the Bakerloo from Elephant and Castle to Lewisham …

… and on to Hayes.

The plans became mired in London politics, financial problems and senior management vacillation – so no surprise there. Also lurking in the wings was the on-going development of London’s Docklands.

As everybody knew when it opened, it became obvious that the diddy Docklands Light Railway, more of a tram than a train, would prove less than adequate to transport the crowds for central London.

Other writers with better knowledge than fbb have filled the electron waves with full and detailed information. But here are a few maps of ideas that were being booted around like a ball on a rugby pitch.

There were various routes to, tada, Thamesmead and, in one intriguing option, a choice of Thamesmead or Barking!

Other options came and went.

The Fleet Line became the River Line and even the Thames Line before the politicians hit upon the Jubilee mame as opening of the revised lin (but only to Charing Cross) was scheduled for 1977, the late Queen’s Silver Jubilee year.

It opened in 1979!
The diversion of the grand scheme via Waterloo and North Greenwich, the latter serving the highly successful (?) Millennium Dome.

The final chosen route added extra capacity via Westminster and Waterloo and served the mega development at Canary Wharf before turning north to terminate at Stratford, which turned out to be ideal of the Olympic Games.

Thamesmead lay rejected and unloved!
Until now, that is. Well, not now now but now a step nearer.
But the process has been, yet again, tortuous and beset by what TfL laughably call consultation. Here is the map of various options to server Thamesmead.

Proposals to be discussed were:-

Extension of the Overground line at Barking Riverside (ORANGE) to Woolwich OR Abbey Wood OR Belvedere or any combination of the three.
Docklands Light Railway (DLR) extension from Woolwich (BLUE-ISH)
DLR from Gallions Reach (Beckton branch) continuing to Abbey Wood and/or Belvedere.
Tram (GREEN) from Abbey Wood.
So no proper Underground line, then? Boo!
And, once upon a times, wasn’t there a plan to extend the DLR from Gallions Reach (Beckton branch) to Barking Riverside and on to Dagenham?

It seemed a good idea at the time but was dropped in favour of the Overground line.

Anyway, recently announced is the result of the “consultation” (don’t laugh).

Under this plan, Thamesmead gets a relatively slow multiple stops DLR service with just one intermediate stop at Beckton Riverside (NOT Barking Riverside).

The map shows how the philosophy of the DLR is changed by this plan. Look at how close together stations are on the Beckton branch – like a modern tram. Surely Thamesmead deserves more than one station?
In one of the myriads of previous plans, Thamesmead had THREE stops called, with astounding imagination, Thamesmead West, Thamesmead Central and Thamesmead East.
Will the DLR extension every happen?
Evert man, woman and their dog seems to think so but there are still questions over the business case and thus the funding.
Maybe best not to hold your breath!
But there’s more! As part of the grand plan a “rapid transit” (i.e. a bit less slow than normal) bus service will link Thamesmead with Woolwich and Abbey Wood.

And what about the Thamesmead Waterfront development?

Tomorrow, fbb will look at today’s bus services to the estate.

 Next Thamesmead Troubles blog : Weds 14th Feb 
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