Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Social Liberal Forum conference and a piece of railway history

I spent today at the Social Liberal Forum conference in London. It was held at Amnesty International's new headquarters in Shoreditch. (It must be new as my taxi driver was not certain where it was - he did explain how the city is run by the Masons though.)

Thanks to the organisers I interviewed Tim Farron and Ed Davey - I shall write those up for this blog shortly. The day was very well run, the venue was air conditioned and I met a lot of old friends and some new readers.

The photograph?

It turns out that Amnesty's HQ stands next door to a piece of railway history. Look closely and you will see that the train is on a new concrete viaduct and about to join an older brick one.

Back in 2007 I wrote about Broad Street, a lost London railway terminus. This brick viaduct used to carry the North London Line into Broad Street, but it was cut short at just this point to allow development of the station and trackbed.

The new concrete viaduct carries the East London Line, which used to be part of the Underground system and terminate at Shoreditch. That station has gone, but the new viaduct means  East London trains now run to Highbury & Islington or to Dalston Junction.

I remember sitting in a hotel in Bournemouth during my first Liberal Party Assembly in 1984  discussing, with David Gamper from Hackney Liberals, the possibility of reopening the intermediate stations on the viaduct into Broad Street. They had been closed because of wartime bombing and never reopened.

This discussion had a slightly surreal air as we were surround by some very Bournemouth blue- and pink-rinsed ladies playing bridge.

Broad Street did not survive much longer, but those stations have been reopened and are served by the East London Line.

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