ELL Services to begin 15th April


London Reconnections understands that the ELL is likely to reopen to passengers on the 15th April.

This will not be the full service – which will open on the previously announced 23rd May, but will be a period of limited passenger service referred to as a “live testing operation.”

During this period services will run between New Cross Gate and Dalston Junction, Mondays – Fridays only. There will be no early morning or late night services, with a 7am – 8pm pattern (or thereabouts) running. Full evening and weekend services will begin on the official opening date.

No final confirmation has yet been received as to what exact service pattern will run, or whether services to New Cross will be included. If services conform to the original plan, however, then there will be 4tph to both.

The 4th April had been the date originally pencilled for the limited service to open, but continuing work at the stations between Shoreditch and Dalston Junction rendered this impossible. The 8th April appears then to have been floated as a possible date, but the combination of stations awaiting handover and the potential Network Rail strike appears to have resulted in the 15th April being determined as the best time to begin operations.

It is still possible a limited service may run on the 8th, of course (although this would likely need to be confined to New Cross Gate – Shoreditch) although we believe this is unlikely.

If this does occur, then we hope that the revitalised and reinvigorated new ELL distracts you from our embarassment.

In other ELL news, those with new DESfire Oyster cards should be able to use all ticket machines on the ELL. Issues at certain DLR stations had highlighted that there were problems with these cards on a particular type of ticket machine – the same type which the entire ELL has been equipped with. TfL have indicated, however, that an update to fix this issue was pushed to DLR ticket machines at the end of March and that the ELL machines have been installed as DESfire compatible.

Elsewhere, the tender for the civil engineering and permanent way works for ELL Phase 2 (the extension to Clapham Junction) has now been posted. More specifically, this is for:

The construction of an extension of the East London Line from a junction south of Surrey Quays Station through c.1.3km of new constructed railway to a junction north of Queens Road Peckham Station on Network Rail’s South London Line Railway.

This follows on from the announcement in last month’s Board papers that Mott Macdonald had been given the design contract. Currently, work is intended to begin at the end of this year and be completed by the end of 2011 (this tender indicates that the permanent way works must be finished by the 14th September of that year), as a pre-Olympic launch is seen as key.

The question of Surrey Canal Road still remains. Reconnections understands that Lewisham have agreed to meet the remaining cost of the station via their LIP payments (TfL would effectively front them the money to do so), and that this is also TfL’s current expectation.

The final details of this have yet to be signed off by Lewisham Council, however, and a final implementation plan due to be presented last month to the Lewisham Mayor and Cabinet has yet to emerge. The Council have indicated that this is on the agenda for the Mayor and Cabinet meeting on 14th April, but it is unclear yet how today’s election announcement may affect this.

Whatever happens, the tender above includes passive provision for the station, but it seems clear that unless some kind of resolution on the situation is reached soon, passive provision is all that will happen.

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.