Monday, March 11, 2013

Deptford station

Remember the days before Deptford station was rebuilt? We do. This is what it looked like:

We posted more pictures showing what the station used to look like in April 2011, just as work commenced on building the new one. Unfortunately, since the new station opened in April 2012 (see the Deptford Dame post), a cleaning contract has not been in place, so that nearly a year later, the station is beginning to resemble the old one.

A group of locals who regularly use the station have been complaining for some time now. Their complaints fell on deaf ears for many months since it wasn't clear whose responsibility it was to maintain and clean the station (Network Rail or South Eastern Railway?), and they were given the usual run around by both companies.

Now they know that South Eastern Railway should be doing the job, and have been promised not only "an increase in staffing" (someone with a broom and mop at least twice a day), but a thorough three-day deep clean that is programmed to start on March 18th and take place on a regular basis thereafter.*

Since the so-called increase in staffing (a cleaner pops down from Greenwich station) the manager from South Eastern reports a "significant improvement", but those using the station contend that cleaning is still not being carried out to a satisfactory standard. The station's architects originally specified that the station should be cleaned for 30+ hours a week, but the new cleaning regime is only 3 hours a day, plus some time at the weekend. Cleaning doesn't appear to be taking place on Sunday, so Monday's commuters must start the week walking through Saturday night's detritus.

One of them commented, "The new station is an unusual building and one which requires a high level of maintenance to avoid it looking uncared for. Once a public building begins to look shabby, people begin to mistreat it...There are many surfaces and areas that are difficult to access without specialist platforms/scaffolding, and large expanses of glass which, unless cleaned regularly, really show the dirt, and stainless steel which needs cleaning to prevent rust..."

Cleaning is one thing – repairs and maintenance another. Lighting not working in the arch passageway has been reported, along with shattered glass, pigeon lofts, nowhere to put rubbish and fag butts, the lift not working, and other wear and tear...

In the meantime, if you want to help get the message across to South Eastern, you can upload your comments along with a photo of the filth and mess to South Eastern's comments page.

Update Thursday 21 March:
Surprise, surprise! No deep cleaning took place on Monday 18th March! An enquiry to South Eastern produced no reason, but a promise that it will take place on Monday and Tuesday 25th & 26th March. The South Eastern Railway rep blamed the behaviour of 'the public' for the neglect that has resulted in the current state of the station.

In February, the South London Press also carried the story (unfortunately not available online), which may have led to local's complaints being temporarily dealt with – but so far, the bad publicity has produced very little result.

Update Friday 22 March: We hear Dame Joan Ruddock is scheduled to open the station proper next week (according to some bloke working at the station) so South Eastern will really have to do a clean up after all. Also see what our other Dame has to say in her latest post.


  1. I was shocked the other day - got off the 5:50pm from London and a presentable black chap walked to the corner where the lift is and pee'd up the corner - right by the busy platform next to the lift!! During busy commuter time! Worrying still, the part where he was relieving himself is directly over the staircase, so any commuters already walking down the stair would have had a nice spray from above! Lovely.

    1. Although one cannot possibly condone the disgusting behaviour of urinating in public which seems to be a growing Deptford passtime, one has to hark back fondly to the times when a railway station used to provide shelter from the inclement British weather and toilet facilities for its users - such a shame these necessities are no longer catered for in "modern" stations. It appears Deptford station is actually just an extremely expensive "staircase". I'm sure the architect concerned is not exactly an habitual train user! I particularly love the waterfall effect of the overlapping canopies, having to dodge not one but two drenchings before finally alighting the train.

  2. if you let the place begin to look like a toilet then thats what people will do (mind you I might have had a few words with the chap; not nice behaviour!)

  3. There is a constant smell of urine at the station. Really gives a bad impression of the area. There needs to be some on the spot penalties for those caught doing it - disgraceful and disrespectful to all those who were involved in building and designing the wonderful new station to try to improve the area for those of us who live here.

  4. Clearly a station that needs 30+ hours a week cleaning is not designed with appropriate materials for London. So much glass covered in a sticky dust, unreachable structural steel white surfaces covered in dirt, cheap rusting stainless steel, shiny slippery floors and stairs, a platform canopy that sheds rain onto the waiting passengers, no shelter from the cross winds..... all for how much? £5m?

  5. Yes, the urine (they taking the p***!) is particularly revolting. That has been ongoing since the station opened. It is a real shame, as it is a decent attractive station now.

    Why have they bothered upgrading this station if they can't be bothered to keep it clean?

    There is no shelter vs the horrendous winds at the moment, however that is another story...

  6. Thanks for the link (and update of course) Given the comments above, I'd say having someone from the train company present would be sensible at least part of the time if for no other reason than to catch the pisser in the act.

  7. Thanks for sharing! Will be writing to South Eastern.

  8. It's one of the reasons many people hope that when the Southeastern franchise ends many of us hope that it will become a London Overground concession, with TfL's increased standards of staffing and care. TfL and the mayor are lobbying quietly for these lines, as far as Dartford and Sevenoaks, to go to TfL.

  9. If this station was in say,West London, you can bet that there would be constant cleaning of the place! It feels like, okay, you got your station, now leave us alone.