Saturday, 28 April 2012

That's The Wonder of Westfield

A Shopping Experience at Stratford
After a quick visit to Ann Hathaway's Cottage, fbb was determined to experience the stylish shopping experience of Westfield Stratford City!
The keen observer will have spotted a couple of minor untruths in the sentence above. Firstly, Ann Hathaway's cottage is at Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire. fbb is visiting Stratford London; so a timely warning for our American blog readers. The second lie is that fbb had not the slightest desire to experience any shopping at the vast Westfield "mall". He went, with chum Alan, to enjoy the public transport experience.
Alan was somewhat more impressed with the shopping in general and, in particular, with the Mini glued to the wall of one of the trendy emporia; so he and his good lady wife will be back to ... erm ... enjoy. Alan also supplied many of the photographs (thanks profusely); fbb snapped plentifully but, in subdued lighting, Alan's "proper" camera is vastly superior to the podgy one's mobile phone.

Anyway, here is fbb's simple (?) guide to the various public transport facilities available at Stratford. Today, we begin with a map and an overview; tomorrow we look at the problems of finding your way around in practice.
 Green 
What we now call "National Rail" first arrived at Stratford in 1839 under the auspices of the Eastern Counties Railway. Currently branded "Greater Anglia" the franchise is operated by Abellio ...
... which is Dutch Railways (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) in minimalist disguise.
Inner and outer suburban services operate from London Liverpool Street to East Anglia with an "Inter-City" style route to Norwich.
.
 Light Blue B 
A line from Stratford to Canning Town and on to North Woolwich arrived in 1846/1847.
North Woolwich in 1961

Under British Railways, this branch had a chequered history but in 1979 it became part of the North London Line.
In 2006 the branch closed and was taken over by Docklands Light Railway which from December 2011 runs from Stratford International to Canning Town thence on to the Docklands network. The former tracks to North Woolwich will, amazingly, be resurrected as part of Crossrail.
 Orange 
What eventually became the North London Line arrived in 1854. The history is too complex for a short blog, but suffice it to say, this line is now part of the revitalised London Overground route from Richmond.
 Red 
London Underground arrived in 1946/1947 when the Central line was extended to take over the lines to Woodford and Epping from the Great Eastern Railway. The tube trains pop up from their tunnels to offer interchange, then retreat like frightened moles!
 Light Blue A 
The next change came no less than 40 years later with the arrival of the original Docklands Light Railway route from Poplar. The minimalist DLR platform ...
... has since been resited and enlarged in preparation for the Olympics.
 Magenta 
In 1999 the Jubilee line arrived from Stanmore via Waterloo and Canary Wharf. Its colour should, of course, be grey to match the Underground map, but grey did not show up on the fbb cartographical creation!
 Dark Blue 
This shows the vast tracts of land given over to Stratford International. The huge station is on the link line to the Channel Tunnel but it is unlikely that any "international" trains will ever call there. Currently the "Javelin" services between London and Kent call. This service will be suspended for the duration of the Games and be replaced by a frequent shuttle to St Pancras.
Which leaves two bus stations.

 Stratford Bus Station C 
The original and best! Recently rebuilt to be smaller (of course!) ...
... and, tucked away on the other side of the railway and just about visible top left of this shot ...
... is the mysteriously located ...

 Stratford City Bus Station D 
This is served by a small number of "local" bus routes; of which more in a later blog.
So that's seven distinct groups of railway services and two bus stations to find and enjoy. We have, as they say, our work cut out! And, if you have lost your sense of priority or direction, the creamy block in the centre of fbb's map is the Westfield shopping centre.
Sadly, fbb only had 37 minutes at Stratford, thus insufficient time to stay and browse. How sad?

But knowing all this and finding your way around in practice are two very different things : as we shall see tomorrow.

 Next : Sunday 29th April 

3 comments:

  1. fbb. The NS subsidiary Abellio took over from National Express in February this year when the franchise was renamed Greater Anglia. This will be for the 29 months to July 2014 when they will, no doubt, be aiming to get the 15 year franchise which will then be on offer.

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  2. Due to what fbb's sons call a "stubby finger" incident, this blog was inadvertently published early (but briefly)on Thursday last. I pressed the wrong button!
    Daddysgadgets happened to find the "pre-blog" and offered the correction above.
    I was intending to check these facts (honest!) before publication.
    So Daddysgadgets' amendment is included in the final edition above. Thanks for putting me right.

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  3. Oohh I got a mention in your blog! You are right fbb - Alan's good lady wife will be back to enjoy the delights of Westfield in a couple of weeks. Also your blog about driverless trains reminded me that we enjoyed the one in Lausanne in 2010.

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