Monday, January 27, 2014

Catch the midnight train to...Greenwich

Deptford High Street's iconic train carriage is being moved this evening between 8pm and midnight (and possibly as late at 2am) and taken to be stored at Morden Wharf in Greenwich. The squatters are gone, the gates and decking have been removed and the Elvis loo looks a little sad, stranded on its own!

We asked the café business owner Rebecca if it's coming back. She's said, "It wants to come back to Douglas Square. But there's a slight hitch in that the only place it could be sited (to prevent any issues with the existing structures like lighting columns and market trading spaces) is by the Albany. But the Albany is planning to move their front entrance to face the square which will be better for the building as a whole but means the carriage would only have a short time frame in the square. It would be expensive to move it again!"

The train will be stored for the time being at Morden Wharf courtesy of Cathedral plc who are developing the riverside site on the Greenwich waterfront. Rebecca said, "The Council have been very helpful in navigating where the best place is for it to sit in the long term, and Cathedral are supporting my wish for it to stay in Deptford and not take it anywhere else." (The developer had at one point wanted to re-site the train at their new development in Brighton). "In the meantime I might open a little caff in the square just to keep the business going."

We asked what's happening with the Elvis loo. "All the plants and decking have been saved and are going to Tidemill's Assembly garden project. The Elvis loo is still up but there's nothing much left to save and the squatters left it in a bit of a mess. They've also written all over the tables, walls and floor, and had electric heaters on 24/7."

One of the squatters wrote in the comments section on our previous post about the carriage that they would keep the place clean, and even claimed to have changed the electricity bill to their own name. But it seems the more responsible among them were staying with their parents over the Christmas period when things got out of hand. During this period, a local shopkeeper witnessed an ambulance turning up to take a party-goer – who had overdosed on drugs – to hospital. The electricity is still in Rebecca's name.

Was she having a special send-off tonight? "No special send-off. It's all been a bit emotional and a bit of a rush! Now it's time to focus on the future." She hopes people will have good memories of the train, and look forward to its return.

The train arriving in 2008, and more recent and sunnier times...

Update: The train left tonight at just before midnight. Bye for now!


  1. That's one of the greatest lost for Deptford! (Keep it in Deptford) Hope Cathedral and Albany alongside the Council will find a suitable place for it within Deptford High Street area.

  2. So another piece of Deptford has gone, hope it will be back loved taking my 10 year old there.