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Bright spots of the British transport system – the North London Line

31 January 2011

Dalston Kingsland is a very cramped station. The day I used it the customer information system was out of action at platform level and oddly no announcements were being made. Felt strange in what otherwise feels like a very closely managed system. Lots of evidence of building activity – new signals going in, the connection with the East London Line being completed and some painting has taken place. Staff in clear evidence, both in the booking hall and picking up litter at platform level. However, first train that appears is a big noisy smelly diesel dragging containers off to the Midlands. It seems extraordinary that a lot of Britain’s container freight still has to use this busy urban railway track. The rail passenger improvements really become evident the further along the line you get. Highbury & Islington – previously a byword for a grotty, neglected unsafe station now is starting to feel and look good. Long overdue but very welcome and once the whole system is brought up to scratch and connected with the East London line is going to be popular. I only hope the four coach trains can eventually cope with that success as I suspect they are going to get crowded.

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