INTRODUCTION

The inspiration for this post came from a post on estersblog, which I link to by way of one of her splendid pictures at the end of this introduction. I will briefly mention by name all the stations that are within walking distance of Greenwich proper (North Greenwich, in spite of the second part of it’s name does not count), then I will provide links to some of the main sites that Greenwich has to offer, and I will conclude by describing a hypothetical day trip from King’s Lynn, where I now live to Greenwich.

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THE STATIONS

When the Docklands Light Railway first opened its southern terminus was Island Gardens, thought it has subsequently been extended south, via a new station at Cutty Sark to Lewisham. In addition to Island Gardens and Cutty Sark there are two mainline railway stations which are within walking distance of these attractions, Greenwich and Maze Hill. Having paid lip service to all four stations, and acknowledging the value of Cutty Sark station for those whose mobility is restricted, I serve notice that only two of these stations will receive further mention.

THE ATTRACTIONS

The whole area deserves to be explored properly, but here are four places particularly worthy of mention:

  1. The Cutty Sark – how many ships get to have a station named in their honour? This tea clipper well repays a visit and is a good starting point. For more about this attraction click on the image below to visit the official website.
    Cutty Sark
  2. The Gipsy Moth pub. Right by the Cutty Sark is a high quality pub where you can take refreshment before heading off to the other attractions. Click the picture below to find out more at their website:
    Pub in Greenwich
  3. The National Maritime Museum – set in a lovely area of parkland that also includes my final attraction, this museum has added many new exhibits since my last visit. Click on the image below to visit their website:
    A detail from 'Emma Hart as Circe' by George Romney ©Tate, London 2016
  4. Last but by no means least of the Greenwich fab four is the Royal Observatory which also now houses the London Planetarium (and if the latter is as good as it was in its Baker Street days you are in for a real treat). Click on the image below, which I took as part of my paid employment while imaging an old album that will be going under the hammer in James and Sons’ April auction, to visit the website:

A HYPOTHETICAL DAY TRIP FROM
KING’S LYNN TO GREENWICH

While there is little to be done about the King’s Lynn to London and back element of the journey except hope that there are not too many disruptions, there are lots of public transport options for getting to and from Greenwich, and this section of the post gives a route with a couple of variations that involves no going back the way we came. 

Alighting at King’s Cross, I would head down to the Northern line platforms and get a southbound train to Bank, where I would change to the Docklands Light Railway and travel to Island Gardens (not Cutty Sark), from where I would start the pedestrian section of my journey. Alighting at Island Gardens, no longer satisfactory as in the days of the original elevated terminus, I would pass under the Thames, by way of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel to arrive at my first attraction, the Cutty Sark.

Once I had finished looking round the Cutty Sark I would head to the nearby Gipsy Moth pub for a pint of something decent before heading to the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory in that order. If possible I would sample the Planetarium while there.

For the journey back to King’s Cross I would head to Greenwich railway station, take a train to London Bridge, where I would head for the Jubilee line and catch a train heading in the direction of Stanmore. There are three possibilities for completing the circuit to King’s Cross from here:

  1. The quickest option, but also the one I would be least likely to take, would be to change at Green Park to the Victoria line (the interchange is long and often unpleasantly crowded, as is the equally possible interchange to the Piccadilly line at this same station) and travel north to King’s Cross.
  2. The middle option, and the one that I would be likeliest to take, is to travel along the Jubilee line as far as Baker Street and then ascend the escalator to the Metropolitan/ Circle/ Hammersmith and City line platforms, travelling east from there to King’s Cross.
  3. If time allowed and I was feeling so inclined I might stay on the Jubilee line until Finchley Road and make the cross-platform interchange to the Metropolitan line there.

SOME MAPS

Here to end the post are some maps:

We start with a picture showing the Docklands Light Railway and it’s connections, as this line bulks large in the story of this post.

This picture shows the whole area featured in my hypothetical day trip.

A close up of the area of interest from a public transport point of view.

A close up photo of part an old A-Z map page.

 

 

INTRODUCTION

This post deals with three systems that I am taking together for reasons that will ultimately become clear:

  1. The Waterloo and City line
  2. Tramlink
  3. The Docklands Light Railway

BRIEF HISTORIES

THE WATERLOO AND CITY

Athough this has been part of London Underground since 1994 I am not giving it a whole post to itself because it comprises only two stations, Waterloo and Bank. It was the second deep-level tube line to open, in 1898, but for the first 96 years of its existence it was run as part of the main-line rail network. For administrative purposes it is run as part of the Central line, whose rolling stock it uses.

TRAMLINK

This is the newest of three basic components of this post, although two parts of it long predate the network itself, the former branch line from Wimbledon to West Croydon and the former branch line from Elmers End to Addiscombe. This system currently has a western terminus at Wimbledon and three eastern termini at Beckenham Junction, Elmers End and New Addington.

THE DOCKLANDS LIGHT RAILWAY

This opened in the early 1990s, originally running from Tower Gateway and Stratford in the north the a southern terminus at Island Gardens, which in those days, like most of the network was an elevated station. The first expansion to this network was the opening of a branch to Bank, which is in tunnel. Then a branch to Beckton was opened. The third extension was a southern extension from Island Gardens to Lewisham, which replaced the original Island Gardens with a new station that was in tunnel. Finally, what had been the Stratford – North Woolwich section of the line that now forms the nucleus of London Overground became a DLR branch to to Woolwich Arsenal (the equivalent of North Woolwich is George V, while the extension to Woolwich Arsenal on the other bank of the Thames is new.

SPECULATIONS

This is the section that is going to bring the three elements above together. Followers of these posts will have noted integration as a common theme, and on this occasion my vision has the Waterloo & City acting as a bridge between Tramlink and the Docklands Light Railway. The DLR connection would be achieved by means of a track connection at Bank. From Waterloo the line would follow the line of mainline railways, coming to the surface at Clapham Junction and continuing over existing tracks to Wimbledon where a track connection would take this line on to Tramlink tracks. The Lewisham branch of the DLR would be extended by taking over the Hayes line from mainline railways, and another track link at Elmers End would complete the integration. As for further extensions, my preference for linkages to my envisioned London Orbital Railway is known and I will leave it to your imagination save for:

  1. I would project services north from the current Stratford International Terminal to Cheshunt over existing tracks and have all mainline train services run non-stop between Tottenham Hale and Cheshunt
  2. Beckton is quite close to Barking, and I would extend that branch over new track to Barking and then existing track to Upminster.

OUTINGS ON THE NETWORK

Usually in these pieces I take you on a metaphorical journey along the line being surveyed, but there are too many parts of this network on which I am unqualified to comment for that to be appropriate this time, so I will settle instead for a selection of places of particular interest, starting with

TOWER GATEWAY

BACK AND FORTH

A station opened on the present site in 1882, was closed in 1884 in favour of a new site at Mark Lane and then in 1967 the old site was reopened under the present name Tower Hill. I am going to mention two significant sites served by this station before talking about its other connections…

THE TOWER OF LONDON

Started in the reign of William the Conqueror and augmented consistently thereafter, this is one of the most famous sites in London. One of the more spectacular commemorations of World War 1 during the centenary year was the ceramic poppy display.

Although I do nat have any photographs of the Tower, I do have the complete gallery for this medallion which went under the hammer in James and Sons March 2015 auction…

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TOWER BRIDGE

The other site I mention here is Tower Bridge, most distinctive of all the bridges across the river Thames. If you manage to be there when this bridge opens up to let a boat through you will not forget the experience. Again I provide a picture in the form of an old auction lot. This plaque was part of a lot that went un der the hammer in February…

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FENCHURCH STREET STATION

The only square on the London Monopoly board to contain all five vowels, and the only one of London’s main line railway terminals whose name does not appear on the London Underground map, Fenchurch Street is just across the road from Tower Hill. Trains from this station go to Tilbury, Southend and Shoeburyness.

THE DOCKLANDS LIGHT RAILWAY

Tower Gateway, just across the road from our title station, was one of the original termini of the Docklands Light Railway when that network first opened. In those days, it was very much smaller than it now is, with the other northern terminus at Stratford and the only other terminus at Island Gardens.

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ISLAND GARDENS/ CUTTY SARK/ GREENWICH

I am treating these three stations together because of how I personally would handle a visit to this area. Although it is no longer as splendid as it was when Island Gardens was the southern terminus of the DLR I would still choose to get off at Island Gardens, and walk through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel under the Thames to start my visit to Greenwich with a look at the Cutty Sark. Once I had finished with the old tea clipper I would head through Greenwich to the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory and the London Planetarium (which used to be based at Baker Street, next to Madame Tussauds but has now moved. I would then depart from Greenwich, so I personally would not make use of Cutty Sark station.

WOOLWICH

You could choose to alight at George V and walk under the Thames (yes there is a foot tunnel here as well). I have never actually visited the Woolwich Arsenal (you may have heard of what used to be their works football team – they moved to north London and dropped the Woolwich part of their title, also convincing the powers that be to change the name of Gillespie Road on the Piccadilly line in their honour), but I am familiar with Woolwich’s other great attraction, the Thames Barrier which is well worth a visit. Those who are really keen walkers might enjoy the walk along the Thames to Greenwich (it is about three miles) and the attractions there.

STRATFORD

Home of the London 2012 Olympics, and Olympic Park remains a great attraction. The Olympic Stadium is now the home ground of West Ham United, and still stages athletics events.

CANNING TOWN

The station itself is of some interest, as described in my post on the Jubilee line and not far from here is the Balfron Tower, with its stand-alone lift shaft, connected to the main building by covered walkways.

BANK

This station serves many lines, as mentioned in my piece about the Central line. It is noted for its fiendishly complicated layout (some consider the chances of locating the desired exit without incident as being equivalent to those of winning the lottery). This is the heart of the City, and to name every place of interest within walking distance of this station would be exhausting, so I will settle for a couple. This station is linked to Monument by escalators, and the Monument itself (it commemorates the Great Fire of London in 1666) is well worth visiting. Designed by Christopher Wren it is precisely 202 feet tall and stands precisely 202 feet from the spot where the fire started. The other place I give a specific mention to is Draper’s Hall which hosted this year’s Great British Menu banquet which was celebrating the centenary of the Women’s Institute. The Waterloo & City line platforms are linked to the main station not by escalators by by travelators (moving ramps as opposed to moving stairs).

WATERLOO

I covered the attractions based near this station in great detail when writing about the Bakerloo line.

WIMBLEDON

For more on this location check out this post

MITCHAM

Mitcham Common is noted among cricket fans as being where Tom Richardson learned to play the game. Richardson is still Surrey’s all-time leading first class wicket taker. He took part in the first test match ever to won by a side who had been made to follow on, at Sydney in 1894, and eighteen months later at Old Trafford he nearly made it two, when Australia set 125 to win courtesy of an astonishing debut perfomance from K S Ranjitsinhji (62 in the first innings and 154 not out in the second) lost seven wickets, six of them to Richardson who bowled unchanged at one end before squeaking home.

CROYDON

Croydon is a major shopping area. It is also home to Whitgift School, on whose cricket ground Surrey play one match per season.

BECKENHAM

Beckenham is one of the venues at which Kent play county cricket matches. From 1886-1996 it was home to a professional grass-court tennis tournament.

MAP

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The three lines that feature in today’s post and their current connections.