Trainspotters bridge - Forest Lane

16 Nov 2023

My son has just completed his first half term at primary school… Where does the time go? Prior to that he was at nursery, and for the almost four years he was there, I was on the hook for dropping him off, and picking him up.

We started out using a buggy… a ten minute speed walk if you were running late.

We then graduated to a child seat on the back of a bike. Now we can get to nursery in a matter of minutes!

Then onto a balance bike… and then (proud dad) on a real bike.

We’d cycle together, then I’d struggle to carry a bike home on some bungee elastic… a bike dangling off my back as I’d wobble home.

Anyway - the point of this rambling is that no matter the mode of transport - the route was always the same - along Forest Lane to the pedestrian crossing to McGrath Road - which Google Street view shows was a Low Traffic Neighbourhood before it was cool…

…although it’s heavily used by the food delivery mopeds of east London….

Anyway - McGrath road is a bridge over the railway line - over the Elizabeth Line and the trains out to Essex. At some point in 2022 (?) one of the fences keeping folks off the railway blew down in a storm. And so there was a gaping hole in place for a few days, before someone turned up to “repair” things. Chicken wire was mounted in the gap.

I presumed this was a temporary repair, as it was nowhere near as solid as the previous fence. But no. At time of writing the chicken wire fence is still there.

Why are you telling me all of this I hear you ask. And that’s fair. Well, this wasn’t just MY route to Nursery - there were quite a few other kids heading to Dragonfly in the same direction…

…and the hole in the fence was a child magnet. Apparently train spotting isn’t cool - but no-one seems have told these pre-school kids that it’s not. So most mornings, and evenings, we’d stop and look for trains. We’d wave to the happy (?) commuters - and keep an eye out for the purple trains.

The protective wall along the Forest Lane railway embankment is… well, it’s concrete and grim for most of the length. But this little bit of chicken wire has entertained so many kids - that this silly tired bit of Newham still makes me smile.

The less said about the regular fly tipping the better though…

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Published on 16 Nov 2023 Find me on Twitter and Mastodon.