TfL just unveiled its proposals to bring Bakerloo line stations to the Old Kent Road

All stops to Lewisham: a Bakerloo line train. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

The thing about building new underground railways these days is that it does tend to take a while. The Jubilee line that opened in 1979 was meant to be just the first phase of a route that would run along Fleet Street, finally provide a tube station for Fenchurch Street, and then continue down to Lewisham. An extension did eventually open – but not for another 20 years, and it didn't go to any of those places.

Across the Atlantic, the first stretch of New York City’s Second Avenue Subway route finally opened to passengers on 1 January this year – a mere 98 years after the route was first proposed.

One side effect of these endlessly elongated processes is that transport authorities end up publishing a lot of different planning documents, each very slightly different from the last. This not only serves to create an illusion of progress, it also provides opportunities for clickbait-y train-loving websites like yours truly to write slight variants on stories they've already done.

So, let's do it.

In December 2015 Transport for London confirmed that it hoped to extend the Bakerloo line south eastwards, down the Old Kent Road to New Cross and Lewisham by 2030. Last December, when it said it might actually manage it by 2028-9 instead (sure you will, TfL), I squinted very hard at a very blurry map, and wrote this piece speculating that the two new stations on the Old Kent Road would be by the big Tescos, and by the Canal Bridge junction, respectively.

So I am gratified, nay smug, to note that the consultation publicised today confirms that I was very nearly right – at least 75 per cent right, which is definitely more right than wrong. Which just goes to show that you people should pay more attention to what I say about stuff, that's all I'm saying.

Anyway. Here's the proposed route map:

These are the two options for the Old Kent Road 1 station. But basically they're just either side of Dunton Road, which is where I guessed it'd be, so I'm counting this a win:

I'm still calling this "Burgess Park", but "Old Kent Road North", "East Walworth" or "Dun Cow" probably work too. Over on Twitter, the Independent’s Jon Stone also suggests “Mandela” which would be rather lovely.

The two options for the Old Kent Road 2 station are actually a bit more geographically distinct:

To put that in context...

This complicates the name debate a bit, since only the northern one of those is at the Canal Bridge junction. For the other,"Old Kent Road South", “Peckham North” or "Asylum Road” might do the job.

The other stops on the route – New Cross Gate, Lewisham – are existing stations so we know where they are already. There are also some shafts, but who cares about shafts, really.


Anyway. If you have strong views about any of this, the consultation runs until 21 April. And we'll be back to this topic next time TfL put out a very slightly different map.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and also has a Facebook page now for some reason.

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What does the fate of Detroit tell us about the future of Silicon Valley?

Detroit, 2008. Image: Getty.

There was a time when California’s Santa Clara Valley, bucolic home to orchards and vineyards, was known as “the valley of heart’s delight”. The same area was later dubbed “Silicon Valley,” shorthand for the high-tech combination of creativity, capital and California cool. However, a backlash is now well underway – even from the loyal gadget-reviewing press. Silicon Valley increasingly conjures something very different: exploitation, excess, and elitist detachment.

Today there are 23 active Superfund toxic waste cleanup sites in Santa Clara County, California. Its culture is equally unhealthy: Think of the Gamergate misogynist harassment campaigns, the entitled “tech bros” and rampant sexism and racism in Silicon Valley firms. These same companies demean the online public with privacy breaches and unauthorised sharing of users’ data. Thanks to the companies’ influences, it’s extremely expensive to live in the area. And transportation is so clogged that there are special buses bringing tech-sector workers to and from their jobs. Some critics even perceive threats to democracy itself.

In a word, Silicon Valley has become toxic.

Silicon Valley’s rise is well documented, but the backlash against its distinctive culture and unscrupulous corporations hints at an imminent twist in its fate. As historians of technology and industry, we find it helpful to step back from the breathless champions and critics of Silicon Valley and think about the long term. The rise and fall of another American economic powerhouse – Detroit – can help explain how regional reputations change over time.

The rise and fall of Detroit

The city of Detroit became a famous node of industrial capitalism thanks to the pioneers of the automotive age. Men such as Henry Ford, Horace and John Dodge, and William Durant cultivated Detroit’s image as a centre of technical novelty in the early 20th century.

The very name “Detroit” soon became a metonym for the industrial might of the American automotive industry and the source of American military power. General Motors president Charles E. Wilson’s remark that, “For years I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa,” was an arrogant but accurate account of Detroit’s place at the heart of American prosperity and global leadership.

The public’s view changed after the 1950s. The auto industry’s leading firms slid into bloated bureaucratic rigidity and lost ground to foreign competitors. By the 1980s, Detroit was the image of blown-out, depopulated post-industrialism.

In retrospect – and perhaps as a cautionary tale for Silicon Valley – the moral decline of Detroit’s elite was evident long before its economic decline. Henry Ford became famous in the pre-war era for the cars and trucks that carried his name, but he was also an anti-Semite, proto-fascist and notorious enemy of organised labor. Detroit also was the source of defective and deadly products that Ralph Nader criticized in 1965 as “unsafe at any speed”. Residents of the region now bear the costs of its amoral industrial past, beset with high unemployment and poisonous drinking water.


A new chapter for Silicon Valley

If the story of Detroit can be simplified as industrial prowess and national prestige, followed by moral and economic decay, what does that say about Silicon Valley? The term “Silicon Valley” first appeared in print in the early 1970s and gained widespread use throughout the decade. It combined both place and activity. The Santa Clara Valley, a relatively small area south of the San Francisco Bay, home to San Jose and a few other small cities, was the base for a computing revolution based on silicon chips. Companies and workers flocked to the Bay Area, seeking a pleasant climate, beautiful surroundings and affordable land.

By the 1980s, venture capitalists and companies in the Valley had mastered the silicon arts and were getting filthy, stinking rich. This was when “Silicon Valley” became shorthand for an industrial cluster where universities, entrepreneurs and capital markets fuelled technology-based economic development. Journalists fawned over successful companies like Intel, Cisco and Google, and analysts filled shelves with books and reports about how other regions could become the “next Silicon Valley”.

Many concluded that its culture set it apart. Boosters and publications like Wired magazine celebrated the combination of the Bay Area hippie legacy with the libertarian individualism embodied by the late Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow. The libertarian myth masked some crucial elements of Silicon Valley’s success – especially public funds dispersed through the U.S. Defense Department and Stanford University.

The ConversationIn retrospect, perhaps that ever-expanding gap between Californian dreams and American realities led to the undoing of Silicon Valley. Its detachment from the lives and concerns of ordinary Americans can be seen today in the unhinged Twitter rants of automaker Elon Musk, the extreme politics of PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, and the fatuous dreams of immortality of Google’s vitamin-popping director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil. Silicon Valley’s moral decline has never been clearer, and it now struggles to survive the toxic mess it has created.

Andrew L. Russell, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences; Professor of History, SUNY Polytechnic Institute and Lee Vinsel, Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Virginia Tech.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.