On Thursday I met the mayor, along with John Biggs who represents the City & East constituency. On the agenda was the disruption caused by railway engineering work over the three recent bank holidays. Richard Parry from London Underground joined us and he told us they view bank holidays as a valuable opportunity. Well, so do my constituents, and they lose some of that opportunity when the rail engineers seemingly conspire to make reaching Central London almost impossible.
Recently the main line into Liverpool Street has been closed over long weekends, presumably for Olympic related work at Stratford. The inconvenience is compounded because the District Line to Upminster is also closed - for rail replacement - and so is the JubileeLine to Stratford - for the ongoing resignalling - and the Docklands Light Railway - for train lengthening. John described how residents in the Isle of Dogs felt completely marooned.
Because the Central Line has remained open residents of Redbridge have an alternative option for getting into town, as do residents of Havering to some extent. Network Rail have taken advantage of this situation by running their replacement bus service to Newbury Park rather than Stratford. Using this service from Ilford leaves the suspicion that you are being taken even further out of your way and a Central Line breakdown would leave no way to get into London at all.
The Mayor assured us that the worst is over on the Jubilee and DLR at least. Work will increase capacity on the Jubilee by 25% and on the DLR by 50% so the view is that a degree of pain now will be worthwhile in future. Unfortunately the work on the District Line is more open ended and nobody knew about Network Rail's activities. London Underground did reassure us that they would seek to coordinate their work more sensitively in future.