Thursday, 26 April 2012

New Deptford Station opens

Deptford's new railway station opened to the public this afternoon and although the station project is still far from finished, with more canopy still to erect and the old buildings to demolish, I am confident that many regular users will be delighted with the new station. For a start, it doesn't smell of urine, a common complaint about the old station although oddly not one I ever had to make. Granted it didn't smell good and was often decorated with several days' rubbish, but even my sensitive nostrils rarely detected the whiff of wee. But I digress.
The temporary corridor to the station is unlikely to win many fans, being quite narrow and hence annoying when you are sharing it with a crowd, whichever direction you're headed in.
Dip in under the glass facade and you're in a lovely (comparatively) spacious ticket office area surrounded by brick, glass and steel, shiny new signs, noticeboards so far bereft of any posters, and a train announcement board that shows what you need to know at one glance (rather than the old TV screen at which you'd sometimes have to wait several minutes before it ticked round to the screen with the information you required).
One major disappointment so far - still only one ticket machine! I do hope that this is rectified soon, perhaps the one in the old station entrance is still there and they will be relocating it to the other side of the ticket office in due course? (can you hear the hope in my voice?). In fact I'm told by an authoritative source that the ducts are in place to enable a ticket machine to be fitted on platform one next to the lift, but it probably won't be installed until the carriage ramp development is finished (and someone else's arm has been twisted to pay for it.. is what I read into that!) But never mind the ticket machines - what's that I see in the distance? A lift! Yes folks, new lifts to each platform will surely be one of the most significant improvements for Deptford Station. People with pushchairs and prams, bikes, those in wheelchairs and anyone who has difficulty climbing stairs will no doubt be delighted that the station is at long last properly accessible.
So from the ticket office turn left to climb the stairs (or take the lift) for London-bound trains. The stairs aren't as forbidding as those in the old station - they are broken into shorter flights - but you've still got to get to the same height so it's still an effort I'm afraid. Think of it as your morning workout. Or come a bit earlier and take the lift.
Turn right for Dartford-bound trains and you get the full joy of the tunnel (which most people will experience from the other end, coming home from town). The newly-revealed brickwork is lovely and I do hope that I never tire of it. It makes the station reminiscent of those opened recently on the new part of the East London Line, even if the overall quality of the finishes doesn't quite live up to it. I'm not really sure why they put a barrier down the middle of the tunnel, as the flow of passengers is likely to be in one direction or the other, and anyway who takes any notice of those barriers even in busy underground stations?!
At the far end of the tunnel you ascend on several flights of stairs wrapped around the lift shaft and enclosed by some rather strange steel mesh which goes to the full height of the canopy of the lift shaft. I'm not really sure of the purpose of this mesh, but it's no doubt going to catch every slip of litter, every pigeon feather and every fag end and in due course will metamorphose into some kind of bizarre upcycled litter artwork. Let's hope they've got a giant vacuum cleaner tucked away to keep that mesh nice and clean.

The presence of the roller shutter next to the top of the carriage ramp is reassuring, given that I heard not too long ago that the council and Network Rail had still failed to agree on access from the top of the carriage ramp.
Like I said - a lift to each platform - and a nice touch that both have little seats next to them.
Plenty of security cameras (far left of the picture) and if they actually record footage or are linked to some kind of monitoring HQ, we're cooking with gas or at least have a gas supply that's hooked up and ready to go.
And finally, we have seats once again. Enjoy your morning commute folks, feel free to leave your comments below.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, I experienced it this evening. Wow - what a difference! I also heard others commenting on how nice it was. Visually much nicer.

I'm glad you said the entrance is temporary - coming from London I used to be out from the train and onto the main road in about 10 seconds. The new one wiggles and goes all over the place and comes out near to Iceland 3 minutes later!

As for urine smells, I can report I got off the train at 6pm this evening and there was a clean-cut chap, in broad daylight, peeing up the wall.

Unfortunately no matter how much investment into an area you put in...some people never change...

Saying that, I did not spot any toilet facilities at the new station... I wonder if they've missed a trick...

Gema said...

I really like it! I too never really noticed the smell of wee....I was more concerned about not stepping in the puddles of vomit. My only issue with the new station is that I'll have to leave the house a couple of minutes earlier as the entrance is so far away now! Phew! I had to make a mad dash this morning to get my train! (Be careful, the builders have managed to find slippery concrete!)

Yokel said...

Nice- well worth the extra walk to the platforms even if it does take a day out of my life every year - ho, ho ho.

(2 extra mins each way, 4 mins a day, 28 mins a week, 24 hours a year!)

Deptford Pudding said...

Nice blend of old and new.

Creeping Bobbism said...

I've wondered [worried] for a while that the big top-of-the-stairs area on the Londonbound side looks like it might be pretty windswept in cold weather. Is it enclosed at all?

Deptford dame said...

@creeping bobbism don't worry there's a huge block of apartments about to start construction right next to it, they should keep the wind off you. Until then, there's the glass parapets (about 1.5m high) for you to huddle behind.

@gema my earlies (and abiding) memory of deptford station was sitting on a late night train heading out of town. We stopped at deptford and as I looked out onto the shabby platform I saw a young man lean over to be copiously and dramatically sick behind the monitors. Yet for some reason I still moved here :-)

Sue said...

It looks great – almost like you've arrived at London Bridge before you've even got on the train! Hopefully the Newsagents will be reinstated after they were forced to relocate further down the high street.

More importantly, the sooner the piazza is opened the better, and not because it takes so long to reach the street. The Waiting Room barista reports that staff from the station have told him that there have already been EIGHT muggings in that narrow temporary approach. SERIOUSLY!

Anonymous said...

That's terrible Sue - thanks for the heads-up, I'll have my wits about me from now on!

I must say the station was already starting to look messy yesterday. Empty cans on the stairwell, discarded crusts from a sandwich.

We've been lucky to have money chucked at us in these hard times and people just treat it as before.

You don't see the people using Greenwich station treating theirs as a dumping ground for litter. Come on folks - show some respect for your neighbourhood.

Mind you, I'm wondering if there have been bins installed - I can't remember seeing any. I know there can be security issues re bins, but again, Greenwich has bins (they are simply clear plastic bags).

Bowley Bear said...

It's a good start but it does curiously smell of a combination of fish and urine. Not a great combination at the end of the day. The sooner the piazza is opened the less scary it will be walking down the alley way at night...

Anonymous said...

Two things that bother me about the new station.
1. the station cleaner tells me that the allowance for weekly cleaning is 1 hour per day on weekdays. So I wonder how it will look in a few weeks time. If you have been to Woolwich station recently you will see how miserable that looks after a few years.
2. Inspite of the fact that the illustrative drawings used for planning and information published on this website recently, that show the old facade of the entrance and the arched windows with their red-rubbed bricks, being retained as a feature to walk through the architect has told me that this will be torn down. What a shame, it would have been so good to retain at least some part of the old station building for the future and it would have been fun to pass through the old door as a ruin to get into the open space beyond.
It is a real frustarion to learn this kind of deception is being carried out.

Tamsin said...

Sounds par for the course - the developers early on make such promises to silence opposition and then find that there are such good reasons to renege on them and for the most part the damage is done before it can be queried.

Pity about the misuse and anticipated cleaning problems - the Brockley Central piece on the opening is claiming that it is nice, clean and doesn't smell of wee.

Anonymous said...

I walked down Deptford High Street a couple of weeks' ago and was surprised to be directed down a alley to the station. The new building is, indeed, lovely in its pristine state. I took some snaps on my mobile camera, which came out very well.

I am disturbed to learn that cleaning is restricted to an HOUR thus demonstrating absolutely no commitment on the part of Network Rail to keep the station looking presentable. I also wonder if there will be any station staff other than in the ticket office. Having said this, Deptford is not a station I use regularly as I am on the Lewisham branch. Perhaps when the whole development is complete, some of the fears that others have expressed about the environ will be mitigated.

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John Rhodes said...

Well you'd never know it is the oldest urban passenger railway station on the planet...Could have been a great opportunity for some really imaginitive, maybe even steam punky, architecture. And will the plaques reappear? Be a shame if its not recorded...