Tube strike threatened

central_line_strike_oct_2018

Transport for London (TfL) has announced the threat of a tube strike affecting the Central and Waterloo & City lines on Friday 5 October 2018.

If the strike goes ahead there will be no service on either line all day. There will also be no Night Tube service on the Central Line.

TfL have advised passengers to use alternative routes on the tube, rail and bus networks and warned roads in Central London may be busier than usual.

Tweets sent out on Tuesday 2 October 2018 on the Twitter account for the Central Line suggested the strike was due to a dispute with the ASLEF union. The tweets were later deleted.

ASLEF were invited to contribute to the campaign to #improvethecentralline. No response to the email approach was ever received.

Campaign to #improvethecentralline

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On Friday 28 September 2018 the campaign to #improvethecentralline met with Caroline Pidgeon, Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, and Chris Taggart, Head of Line Operations at the Central Line.  We spent about an hour discussing the following issues:

  • The campaign shared the frustration and anger of passengers about the unreliability of the service during July and August.  Mr Taggart felt this was due to a confluence of unfortunate events and the service had improved during September.
  • The campaign confirmed a major overhaul of the fleet had been completed in May 2018 and despite some initial problems this should result in a better service.  However, both sides acknowledged that substantial improvements, such as new trains with air cooling, were unlikely for some time due to financial considerations.
  • The campaign raised a specific point about the number of trains travelling to Epping.  Mr Taggart confirmed that the organisation of the timetable does distribute trains equally between Epping and Hainault but on occasion – due to trains being taken out of service for operational reasons – it may appear as if one destination is being favoured.  However, this is not the case.
  • The campaign raised concerns about the stop/start nature of journeys due to poor signalling and the delays to trains entering Leytonstone.  Mr Taggart stated he would review these concerns and examine ways to speed up the movement of trains through the station.
  • The campaign acknowledged that although investment was being made in the line these ‘under-the-bonnet’ improvements were not always clear to passengers.  Mr Taggart agreed to explore ways of communicating better.
  • The campaign pointed out that despite the huge problems with overcrowding passengers had a part to play in helping to ensure a good service could be maintained.  Passengers should make way for people leaving trains, board quickly and ensure items are not trapped in train doors.
  • The campaign expressed concerns about a general lack of customer service on the line and that staff should try to be more helpful when problems did occur.  Mr Taggart acknowledged this feedback and would explore ways to improve the situation.

It was useful to have the opportunity to share some of the frustrations of passengers with Mr Taggart who in no way shied away from the issues raised.  The impression given was that there is a genuine willingness to work harder and try to make the line better.  The work goes on and the campaign for further improvements will continue.

 

Your questions about the Central Line

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At the end of September 2018 the #improvethecentralline campaign will be meeting with the Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee. The aim of the meeting is to discuss operational performance and make positive suggestions about how to improve the passenger experience.

If you have a question about the Central Line you would like answered, please comment below and The Wanstead Post will endeavour to get a response.

Are we drifting into having Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London again?

sadiq_khan

On Saturday 1 September 2018 a blimp of a semi-naked Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, will be flown above Parliament Square.

The event has been organised by a man called Yanny Bruere who describes himself as “pro free speech” and “anti political correctness”.  It has been paid for by a crowdfunding campaign which has raised more than £58,000.  The stunt is part of a wider campaign to stop Mr Khan from being re-elected as London Mayor and is a response to the decision to allow a blimp of Donald Trump during his presidential visit in July.

Showing his witty sense of humour, Mr Khan has said: “If people want to spend their Saturday looking at me in a yellow bikini they’re welcome to do so.  I don’t really think yellow’s my colour though”.

I think the stunt is rude and a huge waste of money.  Surely, in these austere times, £58,000 could be better spent?  It is also a win for Mr Khan as it has received publicity and allows him to show he is not above having the rise taken out of him.

But let’s use this as an opportunity to stimulate intelligent debate.  The Mayor’s responsibility is to make London a better place for everyone who visits, lives or works in the city.  His influence ranges across transport, the police and fire service, housing, business and the economy, regeneration and young people.  Are these areas genuinely better than when Mr Khan took office in 2016?  Has he made a real difference since coming to power?  Has he improved the daily lives of Londoners or has the situation got worse?  These are the areas on which Mr Khan must be judged and serious questions asked.

I notice the media are already identifying Mr Khan as the “front runner” for re-election as Mayor of London in 2020.  The key question, which requires an honest answer, is why?

M&S Wanstead opens

M&S Wanstead, London store launch
23 August 2018

The new Marks & Spencer Simply Food store has opened in Wanstead High Street.

Claire Benson, Store Manager, officially cut the ribbon to launch the outlet on Thursday 23 August 2018.

“The team has been working so hard to get ready for the opening and it has been brilliant to see the community turn out to support us today,” she said.

“The shelves are bursting with everything from lunches to go to every day essentials, as well as dinners perfect for sharing with family and friends. We are excited to be part of the Wanstead community and we can’t wait to get to know our local customers.”

Local resident, Sharon Hutton, said:

“M&S is a great addition to Wanstead. I’m such a big fan and to have one right here on my doorstep is very convenient. The Click & Collect service is also an added bonus as I can order clothes and pick them up in my new local store.”

M&S Simply Food is located at number 157 on the High Street and will open 07.00-22.00 Monday to Saturday and 09.00-19.00 on Sunday.

Comments sought on proposed new swimming pool

wanstead_leisure_centre

Local residents have been offered the opportunity to view and comment on proposals for a new swimming pool to be built at Wanstead Leisure Centre.

Following a drop-in event on 30th July at Wanstead Library, the plans have been made available on the London Borough of Redbridge website.

As well as a new community pool, the proposals include better leisure facilities, a dance studio, an improved teaching environment at Wanstead High School and improved disabled access for the Leisure Centre and School.

The proposed plans can be viewed here and feedback should be emailed to info.property@redbridge.gov.uk.

Opening date for new M&S revealed

M&S logo

The new Marks & Spencer Foodhall will be opening on Wanstead High Street at 10.00 on Thursday 23 August 2018.

The store will offer a range of products from the retailer including M&S Detroit Pizzas, veggie Not Dogs and M&S Best Ever Burgers as well as basics such as milk, eggs and cheese.

Customers will be able to access M&S Clothing & Home products via a Collect in Store service. If they order before 22.00 the night before on M&S.com they will be able to opt for next day pick up in the Wanstead store.

“My team and I are really excited about opening in Wanstead and we’ll be working hard to offer outstanding service for customers,” said Claire Benson, Store Manager.

“It’s exciting that the store will bring a bespoke Food offer to Wanstead for the first time and I can guarantee we’ll have all the everyday essentials customers need, as well as seasonal inspiration and innovation.”

“With Collect in Store, from dresses to duvets, busy customers will be able to easily collect and return – with next day pick up available seven days a week.”

“Cutting the ribbon and welcoming customers in for the first time will be a great moment for the team and I hope lots of local customers will pop down and join us.”

The store will be located at 157 High Street, Wanstead, E11 2RL and will be open from 07.00 to 22.00 Monday to Saturday and 09.00 to 19.00 on Sunday.