A pair of somewhat recondite rail news items about the state of certain station platforms in east London.
Firstly: after six months or so behind blue hoardings, the Westbound District / Hammersmith & City line platforms at Whitechapel have re-opened. The work has involved doubling the island platform's width, resulting in a curious mix of old and new architecture, as seen above. Whitechapel is undergoing the beginnings of a huge redevelopment, which will see the the section of rail that separating platforms 2 and 3 (glimpsed to the right of the image above) filled in and remodelled as an entranceway to the new Crossrail station. The old station is well overdue for a refit — the entrance and bridge to the District line is woefully ill-equipped for current passenger numbers — but regular users might have to suffer a fair bit until it's finished a few years from now.
In other platform news, there's more bad luck for Stratford International, the orphaned station that finally found itself a place on the Tube map when the DLR link opened recently. The BBC's Tom Edwards reports that platforms on the mainline station are being raised by engineers, so that they can accept the Javelin trains that will whisk sports fans from St Pancras to the Olympic Park. The platform height was originally designed to accommodate Eurostar trains, in line with the quixotic dream that continental trains would bring our Gallic cousins over for the Games (hence the station's "International" designation). Unfortunately, Eurostar have no interest in stopping there, at least prior to the Olympics, hence the £1m platform-raising measure. Watch Tom's video for more information.
It recalls the embarrassing snafu in 2007 when the opening of Shepherd's Bush rail station was delayed by several months because the platforms were too narrow.
Finally, if you've got this far down the post then you'll probably be interested in this: London Reconnections, the fine blog that covers transport projects in London, has a new website. Go have a look-see, and tell them we sent you.