Up the Dalston Junction: transport truths to help at least one big property developer to return to profit

The construction of the East London Line, a new overground railway between Dalston & New Cross for Transport for London - Dalston Junction station 240711 © DavidAltheer [at] gmail.com
The style of the re-establishedDalston Junction station: hip and hot to trot
  • New station: trains run Dalston Junction-New Cross Gate (down in the southlands) from mid next month. Trains will run the full route to West Croydon from 23 May
  • New Dalston Library and Hackney archives due to open at the junction early 2011
  • Dalston Junction station to Canonbury and Highbury & Islington from next February; no direct link to Dalston Kingsland
  • Direct from Dalston Junction to Hackney Central and Stratford:
  • No link to Liverpool Street; link to Tube lines at Whitechapel
  • Barratt’s Dalston Square flats: plenty left; offers £250,000 to £380,000
Stranded between the multimillion-pound Barratt flats development and Holy Trinity Primary School in Roseberry Place, is this house. The screen outside it states ”PRISON LIVING HELL”

BARRATT HOMES, the developer that is erecting the huge housing project at Dalston Junction, has handed Block A, at the corner of Dalston Lane and Roseberry Place, to Hackney council for library premises.

The CLR James Library and the Rose Lipman libraries are, however, stuck in their dull 1960s-style buildings (see February posting Black hero dropped by Hackney) because, a council spokesman told me, Hackney was not able to appoint builders to fit out the library before the premises had been handed over.

The council continued: “We hope to have contractors on site in the summer, which means that a fully fitted-out library will be completed in early 2011.”

Barratt Homes is in partnership with Hackney, Transport for London and the London Development Agency for the project, a legacy of the last mayoral regime and optimistically valued at £160 million. It bears the insipid title of Dalston Square; stand by for the signage to be enlarged by the word “is”.

A Barratt insider said that Block A was given to the council on schedule and that the flats above the library floor had been sold. The 63 flats of Block C had also been handed to the council, as part of the now-completed phase 1. Phase 2 — 309 units featuring one-bedroom (asking price £250,000), two-bed (£320,000) and three-bed (£380,000) flats – would be ready next month, April.

Barratt’s marketeers press-released last month that the flats were offered in Hong Kong exclusively. The planning of a big launch in Dalston for phase 2 suggests that not enough millionaires in the “Marxist” People’s Republic of China fancied a buy-to-let in E8.
Neither did many others. Some “units”, as Barratt’s calls the flats, have been sold to Circle Anglia, a housing association.

This will provide an unexpected bonus for any City folk who buy, let or rent a bolt-hole. As they walk down the stairs to catch a train at Dalston Junction station, they are bound to seize the chance to broaden their social perspective by mixing with the hang-those-trousers-low hoodies living next door.
The station is to open its doors in the middle of next month, April, say Barratts and TfL. The new railway line is already being tested: tenants occasionally amuse themselves by spotting the train now making test runs from Dalston to, uhm… Croydon, uhm, West Croydon, is it?

The public, the TfL spokesman admitted, will be able to travel only between Dalston Junction and New Cross Gate, although on May 23 trains, for reasons to tedious to list, will start running the full distance to West Croydon.

Real-life Dalston squares can remember the line that ran from Liverpool Street stations to Dalston Junction until 1986. At the junction the tracks branched north-east and north-west to join a line through Hackney. The new line will enable users to travel west — sort of, because it will not take themfrom Dalston Junction station directly to Dalston Kingsland but to Canonbury and Highbury and Islington.

TfL now admits to Loving Dalston that the link will not open until next February: so no easy route from this line to Stratford. The line from Dalston Junction to Hackney Central and on to Stratford, a marketing feature when the proposal was being sold to local people, is, to paraphrase TfL’s comment to me, a dead duck (if this bird ever flew). And unlike the pre-1986 line, it will not connect Dalston with the Tube system at Liverpool Street station.

Fancy, a quarter of century to rebuild a line and it’s not as useful as the 1865 original.

The council spokesman said: “The work on the East and North London Lines marks the culmination of a four-year campaign by Hackney’s Mayor,Jules Pipe, to secure better public transport for the borough.”

Commuters and occupants of the flats will be hoping that such proud boasts withstand the two main parties’ electoral promises to make huge budget cuts. Libraries and railway lines are traditional targets.

David Altheer 300310

* Update (other Dalston rail news): New boards, please, Dalston traffic makeoverUp the Junction 

Black hero CLR dropped by Hackney council

* Backstory:

* All pictures on this page © DavidAltheer[at]gmail.com. All for sale for reproduction. Most photographs can be visually enlarged by pressing on them.

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2 thoughts on “Up the Dalston Junction: transport truths to help at least one big property developer to return to profit

  1. Useful to have the core facts about the new train, and the flats, set out in this way.

    Additions to the public transport network are always welcome, and clearly this line will make it possible for some people to get to places they want to go to more easily. However, I like your phrase “a quarter of a century to rebuild a line and it’s not as useful as the 1865 original.”

    It’s a huge limitation for Dalston residents that the line doesn’t connect with the East-West tube lines any further west than Whitechapel. Obviously a direct link at Liverpool Street (as with the line closed down in the 1980s) would have been far preferable. The effects, if any, of it being possible to travel more quickly from Dalston to and from New Cross and further south remain to be seen.

    An aspect you don’t touch on here is the nature of the carriages. These will be “cattle-wagon” style, as they will also be on the Overground when it re-opens, i.e. seats just down each side and a lot of standing-room. In view of the large numbers of elderly people using public transport, this arrangement only seems to me justifiable if the great majority of journeys of most passengers are very short, 2-3 stations at the most. Older passengers, and disabled people, really need to be able to sit down for any but the shortest journeys. In my experience of the Overground, most short journeys are of working people travelling in the morning and evening rush hours to change onto (or off) the Victoria Line at Highbury and Islington or the Jubilee line at Stratford. Otherwise many journeys on the Overground are substantially longer.

    Again, it remains to be seen whether the greater numbers of carriages, combined with the greater frequency of trains at peak hours, will make the “cattle-waggon” style carriages acceptable on the Overground, as also on the new Dalston-New Cross line.

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