Plans for the Hackney Downs – Hackney Central pedestrian link has been approved by Hackney Council, and full details can now be found online. According to TfL, the link will cost about £5m

The two stations were previously linked via a similar walking connection, although this was removed a long time ago.

The interchange in about 1900, courtesy TfL

The interchange in about 1900, courtesy TfL

Back in 2008, 700,000 people a year were estimated to use the stations to interchange between the West Anglia and North London lines, a figure that will only have increased with the success of the Overground. TfL estimated at the time that this figure would almost double were a physical link between the two stations provided. At the time they proposed a scheme that would see a relatively direct link between Hackney Downs’ platform 1 and Hackney Central’s platform 2 (the ticket hall side), but this was ultimately scuppered by the need to remove several large trees and, more crucially, the fact that it would require various signals equipment to be moved by Network Rail.

The current plan, which was approved at the end of last year, thus takes a slightly more circuitous route, linking platform 1 at Hackney Downs with platform 1 at Hackney Central.

The planned Hackney Downs - Central link

The planned Hackney Downs – Hackney Central link, from the planning document

Despite the longer distance, this still knocks a considerable amount of time off of interchanging at the site. Currently this involves exiting Hackney Downs and walking down Dalston Lane and Amhurst Road before entering Hackney Central (or vice versa), a walk of approximately ten minutes (or more if the lure of the Pembury Tavern on the corner of Amhurst Road cannot be resisted). By contrast, the new link will cut that journey time considerably, and will also have the benefit of being “barrier side” at both stations.

A computer generated image of the link

A concept image, although the final version is likely to have green panels

Another visual, courtesy of TfL

Another visual, courtesy of TfL

The link (following from Downs to Central) will connect at the far end of platform 1 and run at high level alongside the current viaduct over the West Anglia lines. It’ll then turn and connect to stairs and a lift tower that mirror, in style, those currently found at Hackney Central. These will then drop down to a ramp which will run parallel to the NLL tracks before connecting to platform 1 at Hackney Central.

The link at the Hackney Downs end

The link at the Hackney Downs end

The link at the Hackney Central end

The link at the Hackney Central end

The link will be covered and inside it will be 2.5m metres wide and high, with cameras, monitors and help points along its length, and LED lighting. Where possible (so largely at the Hackney Central end) it will have mesh sides. All this is intended to prevent it from becoming too oppressive a space, given its length.

Inside the Hackney stations link

Inside the Hackney stations link

In terms of station management (as it is worth remembering that both stations are within different franchises) it will fall within the remit of Hackney Central (i.e. TfL), and be open as long as the station is manned.

The elevations

The elevations

According to the planning documents, construction is likely to begin in 2014 with completion by July that year. Overall it’s a positive scheme, and one that will bring clear benefits. It’s location will make any future platform extension works at Hackney Central potentially trickier to manage, but the station is already long enough to take six car trains and there’d be far larger issues to be addressed elsewhere on the NLL before trains longer than that length became a possibility.

Thanks to MD for the spot

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There are 103 comments on this article
  1. c says:

    Good stuff – seems a shame not to connect to P2 as well but it’s better than nothing.

    Hoping they’ll be shown as an interchange on maps now, which is the key for increasing usage.

  2. Abigail Brady says:

    I can’t believe this is actually happening! It’s been planned for so long. If this keeps up the Walthamstow Queen’s Road-Central link might exist before the decade is out.

    (It’s unlikely I’ll actually /use/ it, mind, as my journeys involving Hackney are specifically to go to the pub you mention.)

  3. Anonymous says:


    What about reopening the Brockley Lane platforms and linking to Brockley now too, given that the Overground seems to’ve been the impetus for this scheme?

  4. Greg Tingey says:

    Not just the “Pembury” these days, either!
    Just under the viaduct/bridge over Mare St is the “Cock”, an classic ex-Trumans pub, now owned by the same people as run the “Southampton Arms” near Gospel Oak station.
    Oh dearie, dearie me.

    Second Abigails’ comment, I meant w.t.f. is going on (or rather NOT going on) with the Central – Midland link?
    Has anyone at all got any useful updates?

  5. Anonymous says:

    good idea – exactly the sort of thing we should be encouraging.

    my only point would be that as far as I know, platform 1 at HD is relatively underused as only a few GAML trains stop there. But, TfL could argue that interchange within the GA station is entirely the remit of GA!

  6. c says:

    Would Brockley attract much usage on the Lewisham line (to Victoria mainly?) and much interchange which Peckham Rye doesn’t offer?

    Higher frequency and quicker to Canada Water from Peckham perhaps – but all trains would come from Lewisham and DLR to Canary Wharf would be a lot quicker.

    Maybe if they increased the frequency along that line, which I think would be great. But 2tph either way wouldn’t attract much.

    Anyway sorry back to Hackney!

  7. Anonymous says:

    And yes, I agree with Anonymous #1 – we should definitely start thinking about opening Brockley Lane, and maybe increasing the frequency of the Lewisham Nunhead trains too

  8. Anonymous says:

    “Would Brockley attract much usage on the Lewisham line (to Victoria mainly?) and much interchange which Peckham Rye doesn’t offer?”

    Not everyone is going into town. What about the transfer between Lewisham and East Croydon. Recommended TfL route at the moment is to go via London Bridge… i mean, really??

  9. Greg Tingey says:

    Errr ….
    pf 1 (the Easternmost one @ HD, I think) is used by all the up Chingford trains & the Hertford stoppers in normal service.

    c & anon both @ 18.27 seem to have posted to the wrong discussion?
    “Oh Mr Porter, what shall I do / I wanted to go to Birmingham / but they’ve shunted me off to Crewe!”

  10. Long Branch Mike says:


    What is this P2 of which you speak, in your 1st post? Hopefully not the secret organization or any of it’s (secret) structures there.

  11. c says:

    P2 being platform 2!

    Lewisham to East Croydon – I agree via London Bridge seems silly but Brockley’s 2tph stopping from Lewisham, and 2tph slow to East Croydon are not competitive with the turn up and go, non-stop/semi-fast trains from both Lewisham and East Croydon to London Bridge!

    The avoiding zone 1 fare might be though!

    Lewisham to East Croydon I would say to go via Elmers End maybe!

  12. Metrication says:

    South London Line and Loughborough Junction!

  13. Fandroid says:

    Talking transfers, has anyone actually properly signed the walking route between Clapham High Street and Clapham North ? I could be the idiot that tests it for them (for ‘idiot-proofness’). I have been known to get lost at Infanta and at West Hampstead, and Bethnal Green (and between Shoreditch High St and Liverpool Street), so have the credentials for such a job.

  14. Long Branch Mike says:

    @c 1st post

    “Hoping they’ll be shown as an interchange on maps now, which is the key for increasing usage.”

    I heartily agree.

    I also strongly believe that more OSI transfers should be indicated on the Tube, Tube and Rail Maps (in TfL’s London Visitors Guide), and the London Rail and Tube Services Map, to reduce unnecessary passenger-rail miles (to make longer transfers) & speed journeys.

  15. d says:


    Lewisham to Elmers End is 2tph…

    If you’ve just missed a Hayes train, and need to avoid Zone 1, the Single Fare Finder suggets going to New Cross, walking to NXG and going south from there. That would save you 70p on the off-peak Oyster fare.

  16. Anonymous says:

    @Fandroid – I’ve done that change a few times, there is at least -a- sign, but I wouldn’t know about idiot proof.

  17. JamesC says:

    As ive said before the CJ ELL and the three lines that run above it! – obviously a new station needex

  18. Nick says:

    Brockley Lane feels like a no brainier if frequency could be increased – it would reduce overground and NR congestion from commuters travelling to work in and around the west end – on both overground / jubilee and those going via London bridge / Waterloo east / Waterloo. Plus, it could create a much better link to lewisham town centre.

  19. Greg Tingey says:

    This thread is about Hackney
    Could the “Brockley Lane” piece be transferred to the proper place?
    What is being spoken of, anyway?

  20. timbeau says:

    I know it’s south of the river, where be dragons, but Brockley is no less, or more, relevant to this thread than the Walthamstow link you have mentioned – a potential interchange in Zone 2.
    The situation at Brockley is in fact very like those at Brixton and Loughborough Junction. Between Nunhead and Lewisham the Victoria/Dartford services using the old LCDR Greenwich Park branch pass directly over Brockley station on the Forest Hill line (the original London & Croydon Railway route from London Bridge) – now also used by the London Overground’s West Croydon and Crystal Palace services. In the olden days, before World War 1, there was a station here called Brockley Lane, but although the line was partially re-opened and connected to the SER tracks at Lewsiham in the 1930s, this station was not re-opened with it.

  21. John Bull says:

    Just a quick note to say that TfL have been kind enough to send us a couple of images they’ve got related to the site (a shot of the old link, and their own mockup which wasn’t included in the planning documents) and also their forecast cost (£5m).

    I’ve added all these to the main article.

  22. tog says:

    Thanks to you and TfL for the additional images, particularly the photo of the old link which I’ve never seen before. Unfortunately it just emphasises how much better a two-platform link would have been. £5m to replace one circuitous route with another circuitous route seems something of a waste.

    OK, I’m exaggerating somewhat – the new link is an improvement, but a journey from Hackney Downs to HC platform 2 is going to involve walking over the platform you actually want to get to, then two additional sets of stairs to get back to it.

    I can also see HC platform 1 (not the widest) becoming congested with through traffic, particularly as the steps of the existing bridge face the “wrong” way.

  23. Stu says:

    Why was the old connection removed ? I guess poor service levels pre Overground meant there was no demand, but talk about needing to reinvent the wheel …

    Sometimes I think we like to make it difficult for ourselves here in London !

  24. Steven Taylor says:


    Hackney Central station was closed in 1944 and only re-opened in 1980, hence the reason the old connection to Hackney Downs was `no longer required`.

  25. Slugabed says:

    Looking at the picture of the old link,it seems odd that they don’t re-use the topology used then,updated with lifts etc,rather than make a design which seems both more complicated and less effective….or am I missing something?

  26. PhilD says:

    “or more if the lure of the Pembury Tavern on the corner of Amhurst Road cannot be resisted”

    Oh yes. It’s a superb pub. If you ever get round to hosting a London Reconnections meetup/pissup (now there’s an idea) that’d be a very good place to do it.

  27. Ben says:

    Is it a possibility that as time and funds allow it might, in future, be further improved/rationalised? Say with platforms at Central extended/moved towards it to replace the ramp and low level walkway, and the overbridge at the other end relocated and incorporated? Theres little point in maintaning 3 lift shafts when two will suffice. The walk between indirectly connected platforms looks to be fairly horrible even after this!

    For decades and decades it was understood that providing quality and convenient interchanges was beneficial and what was desired by the fare/tax paying public; however this seems to have been forgotten since the early 90’s. Its good that something is being done here long after it was first called for, but lets be frank its still half baked and will prove wearying, much like the convoluted interchanges at Kings Cross or Green Park, or the rest of the JLE… etc etc.

  28. Greg Tingey says:

    I have a little list ….
    The Horseshoe
    The Royal Oak, Borough
    The Southampton Arms
    Tapping the Admiral, Kentish Town West
    The Green Dragon Coydon
    The Lamb Surbiton
    The Red Lion Bromley N
    Etc ……

    RE: Brockley Lane … serves me right for not consulting “Cobb” I suppose!

  29. Disappointed Kitten says:

    Excellent! Next, how about Loughborough Junction, Chiswick Park (for Heathrow tube), Brixton, Willesden Jcn London Midland… London Overground passes over so many potential intechanges it’s not funny! Until these are connected up, it can never be a true orbital railway!

  30. 1956 says:

    Would having both a Brixton Interchange station AND a Loughborough Junction interchange station on the Overground be wise? I have an open mind about this, but they would be quite close. I guess the options are (1) Brixton only – fully linked with Underground and existing rail station, (2) Having two stations at Brixton and Loughborough Junction , (3) East Brixton station re-instated at Barrington Road – (in the middle of Brixton and Loughborough Junction), (4) Loughborough Junction Station only. My vote (at the moment) would be a station at Brixton.

  31. Greg Tingey says:

    SOME extra/replacement interchange stations would be a really good idea.
    Others, not so.
    I am inclined to say Brixton yes, Loughboro’ no.
    Brockley Lane
    A re-sited N Acton interchange
    Unsure about Chiswick Park – curvature & gradient problems?
    Leytonstone would have some horrendous logistics problems, given the loacal road layout…..

    Is there any way the insane regulations (or are they DafT backside-protecting?) re “no gradient” can be at least relaxed to a sensible amanount – to say “Nothing steeper than 1:150 overall” ?

  32. Metrication says:

    While we’re at it, Northern Line and Wimbledon Loop at Morden South.

  33. mr_jrt says:


    I advocate stations at both Brixton and Loughborough Junction because, quite simply, they serve different routes. A station at Brixton is not going to be much use the someone wanting Thameslink, is it? Additionally, the LO is a urban metro, the stations distances should be based upon the normal London Underground model…it makes it far more useful!

    Longer term, my old preferences for tube extensions is to create a transport “web” in south London would the Northern CX branch to Hayes via Crystal Palace and Loughborough Junction, the Bakerloo to Dartford via Lewisham, Brockley and Peckham Rye, and the Victoria to East Croydon via Streatham and Brixton. Having interchanges with LO is vital to the network.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Overground plaforms at North Acton connected to the Central Line Station, ideally with a new station building directly on Victoria Road. However I suspect the length of the platforms would foul the junctions north and south to Dudden Hill and Ealing Broadway respectively.

  35. timbeau says:

    “A station at Brixton is not going to be much use to someone wanting Thameslink, is it?”

    LO passengers can change at Denmark Hill (for Thanmeslink north), and at Peckham Rye and Tulse Hull, or Brixton and Herne Hill (for Thameslink south)

  36. Anonymous says:

    +1 for an interchange at Brockley. I imagine it would relieve some of the overcrowding at Canada Water by offering a different way to get to the West via Victoria for those coming up on the overground from the south. It would also have local benefits – by making Brockley to Lewisham/Blackheath journeys faster than the rather roundabout bus routes on offer at the moment.

    Increasing the frequency beyond 2tph would be vital to make it work though. The line is used for freight as well as the Victoria-Peckham Rye-Lewisham-Blackheath-Bexleyheath-Dartford service. But as someone who lives close to the line the freight seems to go through mainly at night so maybe that would make it easier?

  37. mr_jrt says:

    Ahh, the link in my previous post seems to have gone wrong…let’s try again

    (it’s an old WIP experiment, but you get the idea)

  38. Anonymous says:

    always thought they should do something similar at leytonstone / leytonstone high road

  39. Ian J says:

    @Greg – the flat platforms thing is a myth (as is the idea that platforms cannot be located on a curve). See section 4 in this document, the relevant Railway Group Standard:

  40. Greg Tingey says:

    Ian J
    Thanks, and, err …
    In which case, why does everyone scream that “it can’t be done, because of ….”
    The standard that says you CAN do it ??????????????

    [Provided you are careful, of course.]

    Anon @ 22.10
    Err, NO
    Look closely at the map, or better still Binbg or Google aerial views!
    You cannot move Leytonstone GER (Central Line) to the south, because of:
    a} the road layout, set up to provide access to the station
    b} that is where the junction is & the solum/property is wider
    to which I may add, c} if, sensibly Xr2 goes here, that is just the space for it to emerge – tight fit, but do-able.
    Leyton T&FGJtRly station is on a viaduct, close to the main road, where are you going to put access if you move the station, even assuming you can get value-for-money with a new-build to the West?

  41. The Other Paul says:

    Perhaps a feasible scheme for Brockley would be to run 4tph LO from Lewisham to Clapham Junction. If there was then any way to increase capacity from Lewisham to Hither Green this could then go through to our old friend Bromley North.

    Obviously there are issues, not least the need for another terminating platform at Clapham. Perhaps that would favour East Putney.

  42. JP says:

    Interesting comments either about totally different parts of the overground or boozers.

    Personally this doesn’t seem such a brilliant interchange.

    Part of that is just how Hackney Downs is built making any interchange with the central platform impossible (short of massive rebuilding).

    I see the the trees were partially blamed again, but like the old platform 1 at clapham jnc its network rails atrocious siteing of signalling boxes which is to blame.

    I also see the mandatory lift, even though neither platform has lift access as far as I’m aware, which doubtless adds quite a bit to the cost; perhaps money better spent trying to find a way around the boxes.

    Finally I see no attempt to link hackney downs platform 4 even though there is enough space to put a footpath under the bridge and it would get rid of the semi ridiculous platform width at the Dalston lane end of that platform.

    Is this plan final final?

  43. Hex says:

    @Anonymous, 10:10PM, 16th February 2013

    Even though theoretically there is room to build a (very long) raised connection between Leytonstone Underground and Leytonstone High Road Overground – running south over the western car park next to the A12 at the former, then swinging east along with the viaduct and up to platform level at the latter, you can forget about any possibility of that. TfL have no interest in spending any money on Leytonstone.

    I lived there for eight years, during which entire time people at every level – from public to Council leaders – tried to get TfL to fix the disgusting and dangerous (as in a high risk of being mugged or assaulted) pedestrian footbridges across the Tube lines and A12. Nothing was ever received from TfL but empty promises to the community. The situation remains unchanged at the time of writing.

  44. Greg Tingey says:

    I believe TfL took the attitude that it wasn’t & isn’t their bridge, it is within the Local Authoritiy’s remit.
    Which may, or may not be true.
    IIRTC, said bridges were built when the A12 almost-motorway was pushed thrpugh E10 & E11, so it was down to DafT, not TfL (It is a major trunk road, after all)
    However, since this is the delightful London Borough of What the F*ck (in which I also live) I’m not suprised nothing was done, especially if they thought they could palm of resposibility for a Public Footpath on theor patch to someone else……

    All sounds very familar – everyone playong pass-the-parcel for responsibility, just like the WC-WMid link, in fact, with extra street crime added as a bonus.

  45. c says:

    Is there much point in the Walthamstow link given Balckhorse Road. The difference is the Chingford line – are passengers from the Chingford stations beyond WC really enough to justify a link to GOBLIN? Would they use it?

    If they wanted to travel west, surely a hop on the Vic to Highbury and then NLL would be quicker, more frequent and cover more destinations such as Camden and west of Gospel Oak.

  46. Greg T says:

    Which/what “Walthamstow link” are you talking about?
    The much-needed, long-promised pedestrain one between the two stations?
    A re-instatement of the Hall Farm Curve, as per the BR Act of 1989-90?

    Assuming you are referring to the former …..
    Access to Walthamstow T&FGJtRly station is shite, unless you live in the back streets to the SW…
    You can’t get there from the Bus station (very busy) without a 10-minute walk.
    I can get to Hoe Street (Central) in 6-7 mins from my front door – I allow a minimum of 12 to get to the Midland station. If you want to go East (Barking), why should one go the long way around via Blackhorse Road?
    If you want to go to the Southampton Arms or points further West, it MAY be easier to go via H&I, but no quicker.
    Anyway, a link was a condition attached to the development, since a link had already been established at that time….
    W’stow T&FGJtRly Stn is usually the least busy on the line, which given the population density is plainly silly.
    Also changing @ Blackhorse is also shite, because of the appalling narrow platforms & high, narrow foot-bridge.
    If TfL had any sense, they’d re-transfer Blacjorse Rd surface station back from the tube (who don’t want it,don;t care, & couldn’t give a toss about the passengers there) to Overground …..

  47. Anonymous says:

    Looking at these plans their is plenty of space to build a ramp between the two levels, rather than the expensive to maintain lift. This seems to be design by box ticking.

  48. Patrick Moule says:


    As a long time LR reader I value your comments, but sometimes I find your abbreviations too cryptic; as someone with an interest in the railways and despite having lived in the vicinity all my life, I have no idea what you mean when you say ‘W’stow T&FG JtRly Stn’. Real station names are appreciated by us mere mortals!

  49. timbeau says:

    T&FGJtRly is the Tottenham and Forest Gate Joint Railway (now the eastern end of the “Goblin”) opened in 1894 as a joint venture between the London Tibury & Southend and the Midland Railway. The rest of the Goblin was built as the Tottenham and Hampstead Junction railway (opened 1868 as a venture by the Great Eastern Railway but very soon adopted by the Midland)

    If you want obscure abbreviations, what about the E&WID&BJR (East and West India Docks and Birmingham Junction Railway), The name was soon changed to the North London Railway – maybe because the original name wouldn’t fit on the side of their diminutive locomotives!

  50. Greg T says:

    timbeau – thanks – you beat me to it!
    Wherever possible, I use the 1921/2 nomenclature for railway ownership, excepting the two earlier takeovers, which amalgamated previously separate & only-just joined-up operators.
    The first being the LTSR, of course, absorbed by the Midland in 1912, & the other, which is very unlikely to feature in a London discussion, the LD&ECR, absorbed by the GCR in 1907(!).
    Sometimes, especially in the tangled geography/history of sarf Lunnon, one has to distinguish between the two constituents of the “Managing Committee”, the SER & the LCDR. Our discussions re Thamselink & Herne Hill come to mind!
    Or that the GER was the result of an amalgamation, hence the two (original) main lines of Bishopsgate – Norwich via Ipswich & Stratford – Cambridge – Ely – Norwich (Though the latter was taken over by the Eastern Counties before completion, the Northern & Eastern theoretically remained a separate company until 1902) – yes it’s complicated!

  51. timbeau says:

    Iam tempted to rise to the challenge and work the LD&ECR into the discussion of Lincoln which turned up on another thread (in the context of freight bypassing London, so not comletely off topic). One of the more ambitious names as it never got anywhere near either “L” or “EC”. (Lancashire, Derbyshire & East Coast, for those not in the know – whose main line ran from Chesterfield to not-quite-Lincoln.

    The original L&B (Blackwall, not Birmingham) continued to exist as a company long after it leased all its assets to the Great Eastern Railway – the board met once a year to approve the accounts – income: rent – outgoings: none !

  52. Greg T says:

    The “family trees” at the back of “Cobb” are fascinating.
    Many, many railway companies continued to exist on paper, as did the Blackwall, for a long time after all their workings had been taken over by the parent/ absorbing/amalgamating company.
    Another example: the London & Greenwich remained a theoretically independant company until the Grouping, but had been leased by the SER since 1845!

  53. Anonymous says:

    £5 million for this? Is it any wonder rail travel costs so much in this country. What a rip off.

  54. Greg Tingey says:

    Anon @ 13.23
    OK – you get it done for less? Ask a contractor for an estimate?
    You have to build a passenger footbridge over a working railway, without closing said railway + long passageway, securely + lift-tower & associated power supplies.
    I suggest you examine the actualities &/or compare with similar work elsewhere before you make such ill-informed comments.

  55. PC says:

    It occurred to me that if the link remained as an aerial walkway and linked to the HC footbridge then there would be no need for an additional lift down to the HC platform and no need for a structure across the NLL. This would also help with pedestrian flows HD passengers taking a short cut to Mare Street.

    (I also bet that further savings could be made if the works had only involved TfL property without touching on NR with their bureaucratic on costs)

  56. Greg Tingey says:

    err …..
    No, actually.
    The trackbed of & solum either side of the line by Hackney Central still belongs to NR, actually.
    In the same way as all of the Overground’s trackbed and signalling does.
    The train-operating contracts may be a very different model (A concession, not a franchise) but the track/train split is still there, & “NR with their bureaucratic on-costs” cover the whole thing, not just the bit as far as the end of the overbridge ……

  57. The other Paul says:


    I believe that, although you’re correct that NR owns Hackney Central, it doesn’t own all the Overground’s trackbed or other infrastructure. I believe the line infrastructure from Dalston to New Cross and New Cross Gate still remains very firmly in the hands of TfL subsidiary Rail for London.

  58. Dan says:

    Is there any budget or estimated opening date for this? (Or the Walthamstow link, for that matter?!)

  59. Greg Tingey says:

    Doesn’t it say in the “prospectus” above when the openeing date is supposed to be?
    (Looks) Yes it does – July 2014.

    The Walthamstow 2-station link of course comes out of the developers’ (& their sucessors) budget …
    And IIRC, completion is supposed to be by the end of April, but, as usual, ‘;ll believe it when I see it – & I haven’t wandered down to take a look in the past 2 weeks!

  60. Anonymous says:

    A bit late now but your lovely picture at the top of the Hackney article was taken on the 12th January 1928 not ‘About 1900′. I discovered this by using the power of my eyes although I have promised to use this power only for good… On another note, connecting with only one platform worries me and that Central station is gets quite busy.

  61. Anonymous says:

    A new planning application has recently been submitted. Route has moved across to the north east.

    Application Number: 2013/3334

    “Proposal: Erection of a part low level and part high level passenger interchange walkway between the northern platform at Hackney Central station (platform 2) and the eastern platform at Hackney Downs station (platform 1). The proposals include a staircase and lift tower between the higher and lower levels, a cantilevered bridge element spaning Spurtstowe Road, and associated lighting.”

  62. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anon 1840 – thanks for that update. I was wondering what was happening with this scheme just the other day. A couple of points of interest – the revised link design to the north side of the NLL, the lovely old drawing of the scheme from the 1800s and an interesting snippet that LOROL may take over Hackney Downs in 2015 (in the Design and Access Statement).

  63. Anonymous says:

    Just for reference, the only reason TfL own the East London line between Dalton Junction and Surrey Canal / New Cross Gate / New Cross is simply due to the fact that it was not owned by British Rail. London Underground took sole ownership from the 1950s (the original owners were a partnership of the LBSCR, SECR, GE, Metropolitan and District companies, lately the SR, LNER & LT in the years running up to nationalisation).

    As for the Broad Street approach from Dalston, that, like most other disused railway land passed to the British Railways Board (Residuary) and not Railtrack upon privatisation. It was transferred to TfL by the DfT so as with the southern bit, it never entered the hands of Network Rail either. Therefore the only bit of the East London line that NR actually own is from Dalston – Highbury as this was laid on NR land with all assets on this section belonging to NR too (though signalling control is still handled by the ELL control centre at New Cross Gate).

    From an operational perspective however I believe all day to day operations and maintenance on the entire ELL are contracted to NR (just as NR have the contract to manage HS1) but in theory that could change in the future if TfL wanted go with someone else.

    All other routes (including the whole formation, stations, signalling and power infrastructure) on which London Overground operates are 100% owned by Network Rail and thus TfL have no say in the costs of making alterations, nor do they have the power to force NR to do what they want (something I get the impression the DfT are not unhappy about)

  64. timbeau says:

    “an interesting snippet that LOROL may take over Hackney Downs in 2015 ”
    Isn’t that part of the TfL setttlement reported at

    presumably the new-build section of the ELL (through Shoreditch HS) is also TfL-owned?

    I know NR trains run on TfL tracks between Harrow and Amersham, and (ocasionally) between Wimbledon and East Putney, and that Farringdon statoin is owned by TfL (although the Thameslink track and OHLE is NR-owned) but is there anywhere else this happens? For example, who owns the infrastructure on the Northern City Line?
    Will NR trains be permitted to use the Croxley link – e.g for diversions or stock transfer purposes?

  65. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – I’d be slightly surprised if the formation north of Shoreditch was in TfL ownership, as there has never been an LU, or indeed, a post-privatisation NR service until now, unless they specifically acquired it as part of the extension to Dalston. The formation would have been owned either by BR Property Board, or eventually BR Residuary, or even sold on to the private sector. The BR tracks at New Cross/Gate which the ELL used were transferred to LU ownership along with the W&C and some other odds and ends, but not any BR assets north of Shoreditch – we didn’t envisage the extension of the ELL at the time!

    Can’t think of any TOC on LU metals other than the ones you mention, unless there are some positioning movements of NR RHTT stock in the Willesden area – not visible in the current WTT.

  66. Long Branch Mike says:

    RHTT are Rail Head Treatment Trains.
    WTT is the working time table

  67. timbeau says:

    @Graham H

    I was talking about the new-build section – why would that be in NR ownership if the bits to the south, and (according to the Scribe of E17) the north (see below), both belong to TfL.

    “unless they specifically acquired it as part of the extension to Dalston. The formation would have been owned either by BR Property Board, or eventually BR Residuary”
    But that’s exactly what WW said did happen!

  68. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – Eh? I hope I didn’t imply that NR had ever had any interest in the new build bit north of Shoreditch HS, which I thought was the subject of your question.

  69. timbeau says:

    By the “new build section” I meant the part from somewhere north of Whitechapel station, across the Great Eastern Main Line, through Shoreditch HS station and over the High Street itself, to the point where it joins the old North London Railway viaduct. From there onwards it was merely relaying new track on an existing (albeit disused) formation.

  70. Graham H says:

    Ah. More clarity all round, perhaps?

  71. Steven Taylor says:

    Re `ownership` of track Shoreditch High Street to Dalston Junction. Whilst I cannot remember the web site, I saw a Network Rail working timetable for the line north of Dalston Junction to Highbury & Islington. It showed northbound trains timed at `Dalston Western Connector` going to Highbury and vice versa in Southbound direction. So my assumption – which could be wrong – was that this line comes under the auspices of TFL.
    A similar scenario at Old Kent Road Junction.

  72. Graham H says:

    @Steve Taylor – indeed, NR have never had interest south of Dalston. The former railway viaduct would not have come into their ownership when they were vested. Hence my comments on BRPB/BRBR as the owners preceding TfL.

  73. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I am virtually certain Shoreditch to Dalston Junction inclusive is TfL owned. John Bull may confirm or deny.

    Something that was rather overlooked, or rather not anticipated, is the sheer value of this route on a viaduct in terms of rental income. If I can remember the figures correctly, there is a restaurant at Hoxton, I think, located under the arches that is rented out at £25 per sq foot per annum whereas £6 per sq foot per annum is a more usual figure for railway arch accommodation. And that money is going to TfL not Network Rail.

  74. Long Branch Mike says:

    BRBR BRB (Residuary) Ltd. was abolished under the Public Bodies Act 2011 effective 30th September 2013. Its functions, properties, rights and liabilities transferred to a combination of the Secretary of State for Transport, London & Continental Railways, Network Rail, and the Rail Safety and Standards Board.

    BRPB British Rail Property Board, who kept records of the management of land and buildings betwixt 1936-1986.

    – DoA (Dept of Acronyms, FLA Section) (FLA being four letter acronym)

  75. Malcolm says:

    Mistake. The DoA renamed the section as FLAB, thus preserving the self-referentiality. Some argued that it should have been FLAC, but they were outvoted by the chair, who, it was claimed, didn’t understand the difference between an abbreviation and an acronym. Armholes and elbows were also mentioned.

  76. PC says:

    Ownership of the line from Great Eastern Street to Dalston Junction (Dalston Viaduct) transferred from BR/Railtrack to London Borough of Hackney for £nil as part of the planning gain for the Broadgate development, the northern part of which use to be in Hackney. The reason was so that Hackney could protect this railway corridor. Very forward thinking of them. Hackney then sold the viaduct to London Underground Ltd for what was then called the East London Line Extension (ELLX). The viaduct earned a good income for Hackney from the arches rents while in their ownership.

    I can confirm this as I worked for Hackney’s property department at the time.

  77. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Err I appear to have set a hare running somehow for which apologies.

    My observation about “LOROL and Hackney Downs” was surprise that LOROL was mentioned *rather* than whoever the new concessionnaire will be for the West Anglia services. I don’t think TfL have written the concession spec yet never mind gone to the market – *unless* they are going down the route of combining West Anglia with Crossrail which the original TfL press release (since amended) said was a possibility.

    I don’t understand the ELL ownership argument as I did mean to trigger that. It is my understanding that the LU bits of the ELL went through a transfer process to move them to TfL rail ownership. There was a TfL Board Paper to this effect. I have no reason to disagree with PC’s comment re the new build section’s ownership. I believe, but am happy to be corrected, that the Dalston Junction to New Cross / New Cross Gate section’s maintenance is separately contracted by TfL and is *not* with Network Rail. I don’t know who looks after the Silwood Junction – Old Kent Rd Junction section.

  78. Greg Tingey says:

    Well, the signalling between Dalston & New X/X Gate is maintained by what used to be Network SE signalling, which has since then been called “Westinghouse”, “Invensys” & is now part of Siemens.
    I know one of the engineers, & he refers to it as a bane ( Apparently, to get the project finished in time, the LUL signalling people had to be very firmly shown the door ! )
    Signalling is to NR standards, not LUL’s.

  79. Steven Taylor says:

    @Walthamstow Writer
    I am reasonably certain that Silwood Junction to just north of Old Kent Road junction (OKRJ) is TFL and not Network Rail. Near OKRJ there is a long neutral section to separate the 2 separate power supplies.

    Going slightly `off topic`, you can `easily` differentiate between TFL Overground and Network Rail sections by the lack of graffiti and ubiquitous vegetation on the TFL track environs. When I travel on the Overground between Denmark Hill – Brixton section, I must say how much I appreciate the Network Rail `hanging gardens` on the high double/triple viaducts. Although – shame – they have cut some vegetation back recently. Seriously, this can and does cause damage to the parapet walls.

  80. Moosealot says:

    As anyone who has worked in the IT sector will know, the correct acronym for a four-letter acronym is an ETLA [Extended Three-Letter Acronym]. Five is a FETLA [Further Extended Three Letter Acronym].

  81. Bluesman says:

    For pedants: these are really abbreviations. An acronym should actually say a word. E.g. LASER is an acronym whereas TFL is an abbreviation.

  82. timbeau says:

    so ETLA and FETLA are acronyms, but TLA is not!

    London Reconnection jargon used recently without explanation include

    crayonista – condescending term for a person who adds new lines to the tube map with little regard for the practicalities of building them

    VTBM – virtual tunnel boring machine: a crayon

    Wilberforce Junction – for the new junction on the ECML between Gasworks and Copenhagen Tunnels, where the “Canal Tunnel” from St Pancras Low Level will connect – unofficially named in honour of the area’s fictional resident in “The Ladykillers”

  83. Graham Feakins says:

    LOROL – It was TfL who sought planning permission to construct the Silwood Sidings: and I believe they now have the line as far as North Kent Road Junction, although Network Rail may be contracted out to maintain as mentioned above.

  84. Anon5 says:

    Sad news today that eight properties in a terrace on Amhurst Road, close to Hackney Central, have been evacuated and will be demolished after a large crack was discovered yesterday. According to reports a Travelodge is being built on the site by the station car park.

    If I recall correctly the terrace is the right of the alleyway access to the platforms (with the old station building to the left of the alley.)

  85. P Dan Tick says:

    Bluesman. As a pedant, I must insist that an abbreviation is just that, a truncated or shortened word- like bus -short for omnibus, rd. – short for road, st. – short for street. My Concise Oxford Dictionary tells me that an acronym is a ‘word formed from initial letters of other words’. So TLA is an acronym.

  86. Malcolm says:

    @P Dan tick

    No, TLA is not an acronym, because it is not a “word formed from…” because it is not a word, because it cannot be pronounced. It may also not be an abbreviation, as you imply, in which case it must be one of those three-letter thingies whose letters do not officially stand for anything. Like SOS. But whatever it stands for, it is clearly autologous (self describing, like “long” is not). TLA is a TLA.

  87. Jeffy likes apples says:

    *Steven Taylor, 09.25, 14/11/13

    “I am reasonably certain that Silwood Junction to just north of Old Kent Road junction (OKRJ) is TFL and not Network Rail. Near OKRJ there is a long neutral section to separate the 2 separate power supplies.”

    As the pedantry runs rife and i understand that this section of the network sees trains powered by a DC conductor rail supply, i feel it my duty to inform you “neutral sections” are not used in conductor rail areas (these appear in the OLE AC system). To separate two feeder stations a “gap” in the conductor rail is used. In fact i don’t believe neutral usually has a place outside an AC system, with DC being positive/negative.

  88. AlisonW says:

    and I believe ‘TLA’ is an ‘initialism’.

  89. Mike says:

    Jeffy – even more pedantically, I think that the DC equivalent of a neutral section is a “section gap”. (Conductor rails also have other types of gap, eg expansion gaps.)

  90. Steven Taylor says:

    @ Jeffy likes apples
    Thanks for correction. I was being succinct. There is a long section (say 5 coaches long) with no conductor rail at all, so this is how the 2 power supplies are kept completely separate. Re DC being positive /negative. Whilst I understand that the tube, with 4 tracks has a negative and positive conductor rail (compared to ground), the DC supply on the third rail is at plus 750 volts – although when a lot of current is being drawn, there will be a voltage drop owing to resistance in the conductor rail because the low voltage equates to more amperage for a given power. I think ideally and legally there is a requirement for the running rail return voltage to be as near to `ground` i.e. neutral as possible.

  91. The East London Line is owned by TfL but is third Rail at 750V not fourth rail so there is no issue with changes in voltage at Silwood Junction. London Underground is currently at present +420V and -210V giving a potential difference (or “electric pressure”) of 630V. This will change to 750V in future on some lines. When LU trains go onto to track electrified to Network Rail third rail standards the bonding of the fourth rail to the running lines allows the 750V supply to be used. The stock in question (Bakerloo 1972 and District D78) can cope with this and in any case the voltage is notional anyway and can vary considerably from location to location – as is the case with the notional 230V supply to your home.

  92. Steven Taylor says:

    Thanks for update. Actually, this is a good example of how it is difficult to stay on topic, i.e. Hackney Central Link. My original post was in answer to a question as to what part of the ELL extension came under TFL or Network Rail auspices! I mentioned about the `section gap`, or whatever it is properly called, at Old Kent Road Junction, to separate the two power supplies because of different line ownership.

  93. Steven Taylor says:

    I have just learnt another lesson re posting on blogs. Read what you post carefully so as to not confuse. I am fully aware the ELL is all third rail only energised at 750 volts-ish. My post was not that clear, and could construed that I felt the ELL has a fourth rail like the Underground. As you can probably guess, I used to work in electronics etc many years ago.

  94. Steven Taylor says:

    I am not sure if I am allowed a third sequential post but here goes.
    I am fairly certain that the ELL from Highbury and Islington, to what is called `Dalston Western Connector` is owned by Network Rail and not TFL.

  95. timbeau says:

    Section gaps do not only occur at changes of ownership – they are there to ensure two electrical feeds are always isolated from each other – (i.e they cannot be bridged by a train with current collectors at each end contacting both sections at once). This is important for two reasons – if the current has to be switched off in one section for some reason, (e.g to evacuate a train) you don’t want the rails energised from the neighbouring section,through a train. Secondly, since dc feeds are usually half-sine forms (i.e a rectified a.c) two adjacent feeds will in general be out of phase with each other.
    In order to prevent a train being stranded (“gapped”), section gaps are usually put where a train is unlikely to stop, (ideally on a downhill gradient) so that trains have enough momentum to pass through the gap.

  96. Steven Taylor says:

    As you state, you do not want trains to get stranded. The section gap towards Old Kent Road junction on the line from Surrey Quays is on a moderate gradient (I have forgotten the actual figure) and the signal is situated beyond the gap. This gap is very obvious – the longest I have seen on any third rail railway – and as an aside, I seem to remember some photos of this gap were published on this blog sometime last year.

  97. Greg Tingey says:

    As stated elsewhere (I can’t find it right now) this link has now been given the go-ahead, as noted by Ian Visits & the Hackney Gazette
    However, it appears that the scheme has been subtly altered, but the good news is that it is expected to open later this year, or very early in 2015.

    I do hope it doesn’t drag out, like the connecting link @ WHC-WMW … though there are hopeful signs at the bottom of the car park, as of yesterday – & they are closing the whole of that side tomorrow (16th Feb) to do some heavy removals & clearing-up around the original station frontage.

  98. Greg Tingey says:

    Plans of the modified arrangements, as approved by the council, (I think) can be found HERE with deatils in the subsidiary documents listed – all apear to be openable/downloadable FYI.

  99. JA says:

    When I went past a few weeks ago there was obvious progress on the ground at Hackney, but nothing as substantial as shown in these photos of work at the weekend included in this tweet from London Overground. Looks like the link should be finished in time to coincide with the London Overground takeover of the West Anglia Inner services.

  100. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @JA – TfL’s own target date says July for the new link and not late May when LOROL take over. There is much still to be done including a lift at the Hackney Downs end of the link. It will also need to be checked over and signed off by the Fire Brigade together with new evacuation and management plans for the two stations. I wouldn’t be overly surprised to see the services / paperwork phase of the work take as long as the physical construction on site does.

  101. Greg Tingey says:

    There is no start yet on works on the Hackney Downs platform-ends, where a hole needs to be made in the parapet wall, for the new link to join in.
    A lot of the tower & walkway will obviously be up in the next month, but WW is almost certainly correct – July is much more likely to be when it all opens.

  102. Greg Tingey says:

    Progress now well advanced.
    “Scissors” sliding gates installed at both ends of the walkway – which appears complete from the outside, & taped-over signs (presumably showing direction to the “other” station) along the platform backs.
    Without successfully looking at the TfL web-site, I would guess this weekend for opening?
    [ I put “Hackney Link” & also “Corporate” into TfL’s own search box & got nothing …. ]

  103. Fandroid says:

    I saw it at Hackney Downs last Friday. The signs were uncovered but the scissors gates were closed. I look forward to using it while shoving the grandson along in his luxury kinderwagon. Shame I will have to find another way back as the stairs at Hackney Downs still block the return route.

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