Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Deptford station woes

Just weeks after our shiny new station was handed over by the contractors, it is looking distinctly shabby; without rapid action by Southeastern it risks becoming a shameful representation of our community.

Quite aside from the appalling level of grime that stems directly from the lack of any meaningful cleaning regime, the station now sports THREE broken glass panels; one at platform level, one on the stairs to the London-bound platform, and a third on the external cladding of the stairwell.

In fact the first shattered panel, the one on the London-bound platform, appeared some months ago. Contrary to the conclusion that many people immediately jumped to, the fracture was not caused by vandalism. Toughened glass is prone to a recognised phenomena of spontaneous fracture due to impurities that can be introduced during the manufacturing process. These tiny inclusions of nickel sulphide expand, causing the glass to fracture dramatically, and this can occur up to a decade after the panel was made. The first panel shows the distinctive 'butterfly wings' shape at the centre of the fracture that is said to indicate this method of failure (see the details in the link).

My brief inspection today indicated that vandals have indeed now been at the panel, perhaps trying to make the shattered glass fall apart completely, and it now sports several impact marks.

The panel in the photo below, which is halfway up the stairs to this platform, seems to have been fractured by impact, with a noticeable dent on the upper edge of the glass. Today was the first time I noticed it, although I am not a frequent user of the station so perhaps it has been there for longer.

On the outer cladding, the damage to one of the huge panels is very noticeable, but the jury is still out on the cause of damage here, and I believe a stepladder will be necessary to investigate further. 

I understand that a group of local residents has been pursuing Southeastern for a couple of months already, asking for a meeting with the person responsible for managing Deptford station. (Whether any progress has been made on this is unclear, perhaps if anyone knows they can add it in the comments.)

But it's clear that action is required as a matter of urgency. There is an immediate need to repair the damage (whatever the cause); Southeastern must investigate the matter further, and implement any changes necessary to prevent further incidences; and the issue of future cleaning and maintenance of our station also needs to be taken seriously.

With all the money, time and effort that has gone into giving the station a facelift, it would be criminal if it was allowed to deteriorate into the same scruffy state its predecessor was famous for. Surely Lewisham Council, which contributed the lion's share of the funding for this work, can put some pressure on Southeastern to address this matter?

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