Angerstein foot crossing at risk of closure

REPRIEVED – as of 11 April 2019 Network Rail have confirmed that the crossing will not close permanently this Saturday. There will be a temporary closure to do the works but it will re-open. There will be a review in future (so it may still close permanently at some future point). But Network Rail are now very aware that the crossing has a lot of support and interest.

Network Rail: ‘We want to put things right on Angerstein crossing’ (12 April 2019, Charlton Champion).
Network Rail apologises and will look again at Angerstein Wharf crossing closure (11 April 2019, Charlton Champion).

The crossing has been under threat of permanent closure but that threat has receded pending review. This post links to a petition (see latest update), a form to sign up to hear more and links to other local blog posts from The Charlton Champion and From The Murky Depths.

SIGN UP to hear more: if you’d like to be kept informed of any future consultations I’ve set up an email-address-collecting form and promise not to spam you (or scroll to form below).

I’ve asked Network Rail if they’ve published a statement on the crossing’s closure (couldn’t find anything on their website) particularly in light of Matthew Pennycook’s letter (see point 5) and will add anything when they get back to me [statement at end].

PETITION TO SAVE THE CROSSING – over 750 signatures at 12 April.

VIDEO of the Angerstein crossing by Morthren

ANGERSTEIN CROSSING updates and links

  1. There’s a pedestrian foot crossing on the Angerstein branch line (which carries freight to and from Angerstein Wharf) near Westcombe Park which is due to close permanently because Network Rail are reconfiguring the track, signalling and infrastructure [Map]. The branch line is not electrified.
  2. Network Rail wrote to residents directly affected by the works on 27 March 2019. The letter implies that the works will take place from 13 to 21 April but also mentions that the steps will be demolished. Further discussions with Network Rail indicates the intention is to close the crossing completely (see 6.2 below).
  3. The crossing was added to Greenwich’s heritage list in January (via Charlton Champion) and appears on page 28 of this 151 page PDF (found via this link)
  4. Apparently lots of new flats are being built nearby and new residents might find the crossing quite handy.
  5. Greenwich MP Matthew Pennycook has written a letter to Network Rail objecting to the permanent closure without consultation.
  6. The Murky Depths has written a couple of posts, each has over 10 comments
    1. One of London’s last railway foot crossings to close? (6 April 2019)
    2. Network Rail confirm closure of Charlton rail crossing (9 April 2019)
  7. A crossing has been in use since the line was built in the 1850s. Network Rail claims that there’s no right of way but this seems surprising given its regular and continued use.
  8. Freight trains derailed at Angerstein Junction (where the freight line joins the commuter lines) in 2014 and 2015 taking the lines out of action for most of the day. In both cases accident reports indicated that the likely cause was an unevenly loaded wagon though the track was also causative factor in the 2014 incident. [2014 report] [2015 report]
  9. There was a consultation document in 2017 which discussed changes to the route used by freight trains from Angerstein Wharf (proposing to restore the line to Blackheath). I don’t know what came of it, see page 69 of 77).
  10. The Charlton Champion has included a little video of the crossing in use by a freight train with a shiny red engine and umpteen wagons in today’s post, referencing local displeasure at the planned closure.
  11. I’ve put some signs up, joining signs from at least two other people – so hopefully people will be a bit more aware of this. I spent over an hour there today and counted 25 people using the crossing in just over an hour and plenty more continued to use it after I stopped counting / timing. It is in constant, regular, sporadic use throughout the day. About half of the people I spoke to had been unaware it was due to close permanently.

Geoff Marshall’s video of the crossing published in March 2019 already has nearly 700 comments


There’s a short line of track that runs from Angerstein Wharf near the river to Angerstein Junction on the Southeastern rail network (North Kent line) which carries freight trains to and fro, around twice a day. Between Farmdale Road (near Westcombe Park rail station) and Fairthorn road there’s a foot crossing which is used by residents to carry themselves to and fro. It’s likely that it’s going to close at 8am on Sat 13 April 2019.

Network Rail is planning some track and signaling improvements and must close the crossing during the works but seems to be intending to close it permanently. Once works are completed it seems that freight trains, which must wait before it’s safe to join the North Kent line, will be waiting further back from where they currently stop which means that wagons will be stationary over the crossing and blocking it. I suppose idiots might be tempted to crawl underneath instead of waiting (can be tens of minutes).

Other posts about Angerstein Crossing
Angerstein level crossing, one of two in Greenwich (24 July 2017) – this blog
Angerstein Level Crossing (31 August 2015) Know Your London
Angerstein adventure: Take a very rare Greenwich rail trip (31 August 2014) 853 blog
Angerstein railway (28 October 2013) The Greenwich Phantom
The Angerstein Railway (published 30 July 2013 but written in 1998) Greenwich Peninsula History

Statement from Network Rail (11 April 2019)
(subsequently edited thanks to a follow-up email from Network Rail – additions in pink, deletions in red)

A Network Rail spokesperson said:

“We would like to apologise for the lack of meaningful engagement with local people around the proposed closure of Angerstein footpath crossing and have decided to stop the closure process until a review has taken place.

“We planned to close the crossing, near Westcombe Park station, as part of £55m project to upgrade signalling and track on the lines from Deptford to Woolwich Arsenal and Lewisham to Falconwood, and increase the freight capacity at Angerstein Wharf from six to twenty trains a day.

“The significant increase in freight traffic and the fact trains will now straddle the crossing when stopped at red signals, presents a very real risk to the public, which we take very seriously.

“The crossing will be blocked while our engineers are working on the line over the Easter weekend, however, it will not close permanently at this point.

“We will provide a further update on long term plans, as soon as a review has taken place”.



Christmas / NY opening times for some shops in Blackheath and Woolwich 2018

Blackheath Village

Best One Xpress in the village is open on Christmas Day (and is open 24 hours a day every day).

Blackheath Standard

Pravin Supermarket is open on Christmas Day from 10am to 3pm.

Marks and Spencers is closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day but open at the following times.

  • Sunday 23 December – 11am to 5pm [Festivus]
  • Monday 24 December – 7am to 6pm [Christmas Eve]
  • Tuesday 25 December – CLOSED [Christmas Day]
  • Wednesday 26 December – CLOSED [Boxing Day]
  • Thursday 27 December – 8am to 9pm
  • Friday 28 December – 8am to 9pm
  • Saturday 29 December – 8am to 9pm
  • Sunday 30 December – 11am to 5pm
  • Monday 31 December – 7am to 6pm
  • Tuesday 1 January – 10am to 6pm
  • Wednesday 2 January – 8am to 9pm
  • Thursday 3 January – 8am to 9pm
  • Friday 4 January – 8am to 9pm
  • Saturday 5 January – 8am to 9pm


The large Tesco in General Gordon Square is closed on Christmas Day but open on Boxing Day and also open at these times.

  • Saturday 22 December – 6am to midnight
  • Sunday 23 December – 11am to 5pm [Festivus]
  • Monday 24 December – 6am to 10pm [Christmas Eve]
  • Tuesday 25 December – CLOSED [Christmas Day]
  • Wednesday 26 December – 9am to 6pm [Boxing Day]
  • Thursday 27 December – 6am to midnight


Blackheath Village Day – Sat 1 Dec 2018

“PLEASE NOTE: The roads through the village will be closed to traffic from approximately 4.10 to 4.40.” Read on to find out why…

Blackheath Village Day

Although every day is Blackheath Village Day (Blackheath’s very pretty) the actual official day on Sat 1 December is a bit special because the village will light up at 4.35pm. That’s when the Christmas lights are switched on but there are lots of other things to do throughout the day before we get to that point.

There’s a screening of Elf at 1pm at the Age Exchange (tickets available instore for £7/5) and two opportunites (1.30 and 2.45pm) to take part in a lantern-making workshop (£11.67) at the Blackheath Conservatoire. There’ll be a lantern procession arriving in the village just before the lights are switched on.

Blackheath Village Day once lights switched on

Blackheath Halls has an architectural treasure hunt at 11am and a family singalong at 3pm (£8/6) and there’s live music all afternoon at The Crown. There’s an all day Christmas market at Mary’s Living and Giving Shop (Save the Children) and a puppet show there at 1pm. At 1.40pm The Crown will host the Blackheath Morris Men too.

Wrap up warmly!

Flyer with timings (PDF), the same, as web page

Travel to Blackheath
Buses 89, 108, 54, 202 (Village) and 380 (The Crown) will drop you closest to the main centres of activity but the 386 also stops at Royal Parade. Trains from Lewisham, Victoria, London Bridge, Charing Cross, Waterloo and Cannon Street will deliver you to Blackheath’s rail station.



M&S Blackheath Christmas and New Year opening hours 2017

Best One Xpress in Blackheath Village is open on Christmas Day (and is open 24 hours a day every day).

M&S in Blackheath Standard is closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day but open at the following times. A few minutes walk away Pravin Supermarket also in Blackheath Standard is open on Christmas Day from 10am to 3pm.

  • Thursday 21 – 8am to 9pm
  • Friday 22 – 7am to 10pm
  • Saturday 23 – 7am to 10pm
  • Sunday 24 – 11am to 5pm [Christmas Eve]
  • Monday 25 – CLOSED [Christmas Day]
  • Tuesday 26 – CLOSED [Boxing Day]
  • Wednesday 27 – 8am to 9pm
  • Thursday 28 – 8am to 9pm
  • Friday 29 – 8am to 9pm
  • Saturday 30 – 8am to 9pm
  • Sunday 31 – 11am to 5pm [New Year’s Eve]
  • Monday 1 – 9am to 6pm [New Year’s Day]
  • Tuesday 2 – 8am to 9pm
  • Wednesday 3 – 8am to 9pm
  • Thursday 4 – 8am to 9pm
  • Friday 5 – 8am to 9pm
  • Saturday 6 – 8am to 9pm
  • Sunday 7 – 10am to 4pm

Trains from Blackheath to London next week – thank you helpful commuter

Next week commuters using Southeastern rail services from Blackheath station to London will find that none going to London Bridge, Waterloo East or Charing Cross. Trains are going to Cannon Street and Victoria.

Helpful hashtag is #southeastern, be nice to them on Twitter too @Se_Railway.

  • The 521 bus goes from Cannon Street (stop MB) to London Bridge – there are also lots of other nearby buses heading in that direction and it’s a 10-15min walk too.
  • Cannon Street or Victoria tube will take you to Embankment for Charing Cross [Tube map]
  • London Bridge is on the Jubilee Line from Canary Wharf (DLR) or Canada Water (Overground).

Don’t forget that the (always busy, mind) 53 bus goes to Elephant & Castle and Lower Marsh (Waterloo-ish) from Blackheath Standard, more links to transport alternatives below.

Live train departure information for local stations, from… Blackheath / Charlton / Kidbrooke / Lee / Lewisham / Maze Hill / Westcombe Park / Woolwich Arsenal / Woolwich Dockyard

1. Temporary new train times from Blackheath in August
I spotted this in Blackheath station yesterday, by the exit on Platform 1. This person is a kindred spirit, thank you whoever you are 🙂 See tweets below for more on the history behind this.

Train times from Blackheath next Tuesday to Friday (29 August to 1 September). I strongly recommend the CityMapper website (plus excellent and free app) – it’s really good for public transport.

photo 1.JPG

The text of the poster says ….

For those of you who missed
the South Eastern photo of the
handwritten time table (!!),
here it is typed up for ALL
to see clearly…






Brought to you by a commuter who could be bothered spending
10 mins typing this up


2 Alternative travel arrangements

Live train departure information for local stations, from… Blackheath / Charlton / Kidbrooke / Lee / Lewisham / Maze Hill / Westcombe Park / Woolwich Arsenal / Woolwich Dockyard

Thames Clippers ferries from Greenwich Pier or North Greenwich Pier (go to Canary Wharf, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Bankside, Blackfriars, Charing Cross (Embankment Pier), Waterloo [‘London Eye’] and Westminster. The 108 or 422 buses will get you to North Greenwich, the 286 or 386 will get you to Greenwich by Cutty Sark for the Greenwich Pier. Greenwich Cutty Sark is also on the DLR line.
• ‘Next boat’ information from Greenwich Pier / North Greenwich Pier

Buses from Blackheath to Lewisham station take two routes in opposite directions. The 54 and 108 pick up at the bus stop next to Age Exchange / Shepherd’s Foods on the other side of the road from the station. The 380 picks up on the same side of the station – turn left out of the station, go past the barriered car park (there’s a Farmers’ Market there on Sundays) and past a 24 hour shop, Oddbins and a fruit / veg shop then up the hill past the shoe shop and the one selling electrical equipment. Keep going to The Crown pub from where the 380 will take you to Lewisham station.

From Lewisham station – walk there or bus. The route is prettier over the heath by Wat Tyler Road (the 380 bus route). DLR goes to Bank via Canary Wharf (also on the ferry route).

From New Cross (53 bus) or Denmark Hill (Blackheath train to Victoria stops here).




The 1900 House (TV prog from 1999/2000) was set in Charlton & Blackheath Standard

The other day, while doing some housework, I remembered the hardworking and brilliant ‘maid of all work’ in a television programme I saw years ago when I first moved to Blackheath, called The 1900 House. I’ve discovered that the whole programme is available to watch again and spent yesterday watching it on my day off while rain and thunderstorms raged outside. The programme was filmed in 1999 and moved a modern family into a house as it would have been in 1900, to create a living history documentary to see how they found the experience of being Victorian. Tough as it happens, but they enjoyed a great deal of it, as did the audience.

There’s a lovely bit a few weeks in where Joyce (the mum) is reflecting on a point at which she’d had enough and just wanted to ‘put on her hat and walk out’. That sounds a very Victorian way of expressing it – no-one really wears everyday hats these days – so it seemed like she was certainly in the right mindset. They all stuck it out. The maid, who was a cleaner in real life and whose mother and grandmother had been too, wasn’t in the programme for very long but there were scenes of her visiting a library to discover more about the very hard life of working class Victorian women who might work for 15 hours a day every day. They didn’t have much time (or resources to fall back on if they lost their job) to campaign for votes for women, something done more by middle class women. It was an interesting programme.

I was very new to Blackheath when it aired in 2000 and had completely failed to spot that it’s set in the next village, Charlton, with excursions into Blackheath Standard. I was reading the Wikipedia article which mentioned Elliscombe Road (‘hang on that sounds familiar’) and then spotted that it was the one in Charlton. The Clarendon Hotel features in the opening sequence as the family changes their 1999 clothes for 1900 ones and are then conveyed in a horse-drawn carriage to their new house in 50 Elliscombe Road.

Occasionally I take the 380 bus to Charlton rail station, alighting at the Sundorne Road bus stop on Wellington Road. The previous bus stop, also on Wellington Road, is the Elliscombe Road one and the bus announces the road name, so I’ve been hearing that name for years while paying attention to it so that I get off at the next one (incidentally I wonder if there are any two bus stops in London closer together than those two). I’d not like to drive a horse and carriage down Eastcombe Avenue though, which is further up in the journey from Blackheath, it’s a bit steep.

The Apple N’Orange fruit shop at Blackheath Standard opposite the library features in the programme too – it’s still there, same name, open late and on Sundays. At one point the eldest daughter gets a Saturday job there to stave off the boredom of having not that much to do and limited opportunities as a sixteen year old Victorian girl. We also see some bicycling going on around Blackheath Pond (Princess of Wales pond) and St German’s Place too.

Further reading