Limited service due to start Monday 19 April fails to happen
The Mayor loves cycle commuters — but TfL ignores them
The East London railway (map) is likely to open with a limited service within the next few days, although the hoped-for opening on Monday 19 April was cancelled.
The official launch with the full service will probably be held on Sunday 23 May so that Boris Johnson can have his face all over the event, possibly even with a Thomas The Tank Engine–style cartoon of His Blondness (not a typo: nobody could accuse Johnson of blandness) on the front of the train. For weeks Transport for London publicists have been telling the media that the Dalston Junction to New Cross Gate overground line will open in mid-April 2010. Perhaps nobody told them that the mayor of No 1 City has been holding out for a date on which he will be available.
A rumour that it would open on Thursday 15 April was just that (and an example of why commuters need this professional news site). Hilariously, London’s mayoral-elections loser Ken Livingstone, who had heard the claim that Johnson was going to open the line that day, persuaded local MP Diane Abbott and Dulwich and West Norwood MP Tessa Jowell to schlepp over to Dalston Junction for a photo-call. As they sheepishly posed for those snappers who had bothered to turn up, the line stayed embarrassingly shut.
A few days later Abbott’s latest campaign leaflet was pushed through local voters’ doors. It continued her bandwagoning on the railway project by boasting that “the brand new East London Line has opened”.
The reality is that it will carry no paying customers for days or weeks, causing TfL staffers to stand at the entrance of Dalston Junction asking curious passers-by to believe that the delayed opening has been caused by “software problems”.
TfL now tells Loving Dalston that the line will run every five minutes seven days a week, from Sunday 23 May; but not for a full day: the service will start running eights trains an hour 7am-8pm.
For photographs of stations and more on this topic, see “Der Fat Kontroller…”, hyperlink here.