Unveiled just an hour ago by newly appointed Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond, Platform Zero is a key milestone in the transformation of our local station, but its impact may not be so positive for the local area unless Network Rail is persuaded to take the needs of the community into account. (Pictured left Ian Fry Network Rail's (NR) Project Director, Robin Gisby Director of Operations & Customer Services at NR, Transport Minister Philip Hammond and representatives of East Coast Mainline. Photo by Tobias Newland)
As the longest platform at KX Station, Platform Zero increases capacity preparing it for a future where rail is to be a crucial strand in sustainable transport policy. Alastair Metcalfe, responsible for community liaison at the Station praised the teamwork that went into preparing the platform for today's successful launch.
Also present were our local representatives Jennette Arnold – newly elected Deputy Chair of the Greater London Assembly – and Cllr Paul Convery responsible for regeneration, planning and leisure at Islington Council. Both have been highly supportive of community calls for a more accessible environment in and around the station.
Interestingly local groups including this website were not invited to the event, apparently because there would not have been enough room for us. Strange given that today is likely to be the emptiest the platform will be for a long time. Two community activists did manage to attend and congratulated Ian Fry personally on achieving what is a major step forward for our vital strategic transport hub. Ian hopes to unveil the first section of the refurbished station roof in August, fans of KX Station are particularly looking forward to seeing light stream through turning our rather dark station interior into a warm and welcoming place.
There was something missing this morning. I wonder what it could have been? I walked from Wharfdale Road to Platform Zero – a mere couple of metres away, yet I had to walk down what is now an uninterrupted brick wall running the entire length of the station along York Way, the boundary between Camden and Islington boroughs, and double back on myself to walk the entire length of the station again to get to the end of the platform. The loss of the York Way entrance to the rear eastern side of the station is a price worth paying to ensure the future best management of what has always been an overcrowded amenity. This would have been totally balanced by replacement of the old Battlebridge Road, the call for a new pedestrian and cyclist bridge at the back of the station is still being ignored by those with the power and funds to build it. The picture on the right shows where the bridge used to join York Way; a bridge whose feasibility has been proven time and again: a simple way of holding our community together, improving permeability across the station, encouraging use of local walking routes and completing a cycle route from the Angel to Marylebone completely avoiding the infamous A501 ring road.
An engineering project waiting to happen and a new London destination attraction – just think what this bridge could look like and how it could be a hugely positive addition to both the station and its local community.