Others - Goblin line review 1
28/6/07 - Barking to Gospel Oak
Cost of ticket £10.00 - London Transport Travel Card
Dept Barking 11.08 arrive Gospel Oak 11.43. Journey time 35 mins
Distance: 12 ¼ miles Weather: sunny spells
Train type: 2 car Class 150/1 Sprinter DMU (Double track all the way)
Railway company: Silverlink Metro
Name of Line: The Goblin Line
Frequency of trains - one every ½ hour
Barking station is a large station with eight platforms. Apart from this line, there are also Network trains out of London's Fenchurch Street to Southend and Shoeburyness via Basildon and via Tilbury. Then there is the eastern terminus for the Hammermsith & City line and also the District line to Upminster passes through here. So all in all quite a busy station. Away from the platforms the station entrance is also busy with a Smiths, a café and other smaller shops. Our train leaves from platform 1 and is about half full. We also have a guard who checks our tickets once during the journey. The trackside is very overgrown as we leave the station and there is some disused track piled up in the midst of the foliage. We go under the North Circular and then leave the Fenchurch St line, passing the East Ham depot, which houses the Blue Pullman train by the way. We speed up into a wide cutting but soon slow down as we arrive at Woodgrange Park. It is quite a clean station with no signs of graffiti. About twenty people are waiting to get on, which is quite a large number for the station. The track doubles to four lanes soon after the station but that is because two of them branch off to join the Great Eastern mainline, which we soon cross over. It is mainly terraced housing below us as we arrive at Wanstead Park. Once again it is a clean station, which has been recently modernised, though part of the long platform is cut off by a fence, beyond which is a lot of overgrown weeds. The train is now full. The stations are coming thick and fast now as the housing becomes more modern with the odd tower block. We enter Leytonstone High Road, which is again clean and modern. There are signs that there was once a goods yard to the west of the station. The long platform is again fenced off, but this time the weeds have been cleared here. We now pass over the Central Line and the A11 as we go through the heart of 2012 country. We soon come to Leyton Midland Road where another Sprinter unit is waiting on the other track. That also looks full. There are more factories here and we are high up above ground level, with a wide view across north London to the left. Next stop is Walthamstow Queens Road, where quite a lot of passengers leave the train. The platform is quite unusual here - a very long platform, where the train stops in the middle portion which has been cleared whilst the other two parts are still overgrown! We speed up now before stopping at Blackhorse Road which has a link through to the Victoria Line underground station, which is separated by a vast swathe of undergrowth. As we leave Blackhorse Road we pass large reservoirs on either side of the track in the Lea Valley, which is empty of housing. We then cross over the Cambridge line before arriving at South Tottenham station, which again is surrounded by houses and factories. The station looks new and well looked after. We can see Tottenham Hotspur's ground in the distance on the right as a line leaves ours to meet up with the Enfield line below us. At Harringay Green Lanes there is another unit on the opposite track. Our train empties of most passengers now. The famous Alexandra Palace can be seen on the right hand side further up the hill. Soon after the east Coast main line passes above us, then we enter a tunnel before coming to a stop at Crouch Hill, which has a couple of bus stop waiting areas, but is still well kept. We now go into a deep cutting before arriving at Upper Holloway, which is another clean and well kept station. We then go through a series of short tunnels, before emerging at Gospel Oak, which is at the southern end of Hampstead Heath. The view on the left is quite impressive with glimpses of the post office tower and the London eye in the distance. This is the interchange station for the North London line and almost as soon as we stop a train from Richmond to Stratford comes in on the platform next to us. You can tell how high up we are because there are so many steps down to the exit below.
Summary: One of London's best-kept railway secrets! Silverlink Metro have obviously taken a lot of time to make sure their stations are kept clean and clear of graffiti which is to be commended. My only gripe would be that there should be more frequent trains on this line, as the number of passengers on the trains indicates. Perhaps every quarter of an hour like the North London line, or at least every twenty minutes would be more acceptable? Certainly it's worth making a detour for if you're ever in London, with some great views and a wide ethnic mixture using the trains.