I know -I’m bursting out of my BlogMould and actually telling you useful and relevant information. Bear with me.
Everyone and their wife knows that the top end of the Victoria Line is closed for 3 weeks this August, starting on 8th August (this Saturday!) and carrying on till 30th August (Seven Sisters to Walthamstow Central is closed, but fewer services on the rest of the line). Even Reuben knows that and he’s making alternate travel plans. But what he doesn’t realise, along with many other commuters, is the knock-on effect it’ll have on other services, particularly London Overground. Click here for the TfL page, but I’m going to summarise some highlights that may have passed you by.
* Live in St James St and commute into Liverpool St? Well, start replanning now. St James St will be exit-only until 9:30 and, obviously, Blackhorse Rd will have no Victoria Line. Walthamstow Central overground will be crazily busy, so your best bet is probably to get the bus to Leyton and hop on the Central Line. Which may also be busier than usual…be warned.
* Live in Chingford, Wood Street or Highams Park and run for that early morning train? Well, run faster. The trains will be departing 2 minutes earlier, so that post school run 9:01 will be an 8:59. Thank goodness there’s no school run to contend with…
* Live in Clapton? Get walking. Services won’t stop there before 9:30am. Luckily, you are right at the end of the 38 bus route- one of London’s most frequent routes – so you should at least be able to get onto one of those.
* Live in a bunch of other places I’ve never been to? Edmonton Green, Enfield Town, White Hart Lane, Silver Street, Bush Hill Park – you’re looking at a one minute early departure. Edmonton Green will also not be served by Abellio Greater Anglia services. I’m hoping that if this is your station, it makes more sense to you than it does to me…
There is some good news – there are two rail replacements buses being laid on, and an extra temporary service – the 558, which goes from Chingford Mount to Seven Sisters via Blackhorse Rd. Rail replacement bus A follows the Victoria Line route – Walthamstow Central, Blackhorse Rd, Tottenham Hale, Seven Sisters – and Rail Replacement bus B goes from Walthamstow Central to Stratford, skimming near St James St station on the way.
But – and this is a big but and I do not lie – there’s loads of other stuff on that info page which is just kinda slipped in there with all the closure information. Like the fact that the car park at Walthamstow Central will be closed throughout the works, so that’s one less way to get to the Overground. Similarly, the car park at Blackhorse Rd will be half closed, to accommodate the rail replacement buses. Oh, and there’s the fact that the escalators at Walthamstow Central will be undergoing maintenance from now until April 2016!! They will be permanently set on “upwards only” from September to April, except during the morning peak (07:00-09:30), effectively turning the station from a buggy-friendly one into a nightmare. Either travel during rush hour or carry your buggy down a huge flight of stairs. And wheelchair users? Don’t go there. I mean it literally. And for anyone who shuddered at that last part, take note of this tiny nugget re Rail Replacement Bus A: “A small proportion of buses may not offer step free access.” Make of that what you will.
None of this has been widely advertised, but it has been discreetly popped in to a page full of other information. Talk about a good day to bury bad news! The bottom line is to work from home or do what everyone expects you to do in August and bugger off on holiday. For 3 weeks. We’re doing a bit of that during the closure and I have my (heaven-sent) local job, meaning that none of this is actually my problem – if all else fails, I’ll be dusting off my trainers. But I fear for Nathan and all my friends who actually need to work over August. I only hope that this post has arrived in time for you all to figure out how to handle three weeks of crazy.