Next week sees a test run of the new DLR extension to Stratford International from Canning Town. The line was supposed to open last year, but has been delayed more than once. It should finally open in a few weeks barring any last minute hitches. When it does open, it will offer a new direct link from Woolwich Arsenal to Stratford running every 10 minutes. The total journey time to Stratford International, directly next to the Olympic park, will be 21 minutes. The service patterns can be seen here

This is good news if you like a shop, as the new Stratford Westfield shopping centre opens on the 13th September. The centre will offer hundreds of shops and will become easily accessible for many across South east London. Architecturally the exterior of the centre is poor. Very poor. It has sadly been ‘value engineered’ to death. if a corner could be cut to save a few quid it appears it has been. Compared to some shopping centres that have opened recently across the country such as Cabot Circus in Bristol, and Liverpool One, it’s a really poor show. As it is next to the Olympic park and a major transport hub, and will also be visible to millions of visitors from around the world, one has to wonder what were the planners were doing by not ensuring decent design? I didn’t have time to take pics sadly, but the hotel attached is a shocker. The hope is, I suppose, that in time it will be surrounded and its bulk will be minimised. How long that takes is unknown, and I don’t think that’s good enough for cheap design in such a prominent place.

As for the new DLR line, it’s opening will mean the peak time shuttles from Woolwich Arsenal to Canning Town, running in between the Bank trains, are extended from Canning Town to Stratford. I believe the shuttles were introduced before they were planned to be, due to the busyness of the Woolwich line shortly after opening. An example of the desperate, and ongoing, need for more crossings of the river between East and South East London. Is it still difficult for people to board around the Royal Docks stations as trains are too busy from Woolwich?

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