Editor's comment: No one should be surprised by train fiasco
PUBLISHED: 15:00 16 January 2019
Like Kate Middleton, I’ve been introduced to a few of Islington’s secrets and surprises recently.
I’ve often walked past the old China Inland Mission building on Newington Green and wondered what it was. One of the great things about editing your local paper is that you rarely have to Google anything – you can simply ask someone to give you the answer in a 650-word feature with three photographs.
I’ve been hooked on Bowie since I was a teenager, but till last week I never knew he’d played three dates down the road. What I wouldn’t give to have been there.
And it seems I’m not the only one from whom the Tileyard was a well-kept secret. Not even our photographer Polly, who moonlights as half of ’90s indie favourites The Popinjays, knew King’s Cross was home to one of Europe’s biggest music industry complexes, though to be fair its bosses say that might not be the case for much longer if it gets classified as a light industrial site.
I was not, however, surprised by the omnishambles of the Gospel Oak to Barking Overground service, because it seems to have been going on since the Middle Ages. It was bad enough when Network Rail ordered the wrong size parts for a lengthy and disruptive electrification programme in 2016 and only spotted the error several months in, and similarly frustrating two years later when it turned out the computers didn’t work on the new trains built by, er, Crossrail contractor Bombardier. But now it seems there might soon be no trains at all because TfL had only borrowed the old ones and has to give them back.
Even at full throttle the service left much to be desired in terms of frequency and speed. How can the authorities clean up our air and discourage car use when they give us first diesel trains and now perhaps no trains at all?