Save us from politicians with ideas

By | Category: Travel rumblings

In the manifesto for the London mayoral election, Sadiq Khan has pledged to rename London Overground train routes to suggest names relating to landmarks or famous Londoners associated the area. He wants the names to reflect the diverse history of the London.

The London Overground train service has six lines. Why change the names from the geographic ones they have?

Frankly the idea is fraught with tourism confusion, annoyance and is, frankly, idiotic.

Why am I so stroppy about the idea?

Because it is bad enough explaining to tourists and visitors about name changes in the first place.

It isn’t just in London that this occurs. Anywhere in our countries is open to politicians thinking that it would be “a good idea” to change existing landmarks for something new. Largely it is because it gives politicians something to say and do without thinking of the ramifications.

If such naming takes place it will be a cost in changing signage on trains, stations, letterheads, maps and sundry other items.

Old material will probably be thrown away rather than re-cycled and people will argue about what each line should be called at a time (thankfully this is always the case) when time, energy and money should be spent on important things.

It will mean guidebooks are more out-of-date than they usually are causing confusion to visitors (like me) from outside London who wonder why they cannot find somewhere that has been masquerading under another name.

Geographic rather than personal names are guides to where things are. Changing, for example, the Watford Junction to Euston Line name to the Elton John Line because Elton John was a fan of Watford football club doesn’t help people getting around. Changing the name would seduce some misguided souls into thinking he either owned it or it led to his home!

Simplyfing the names to ease geographic understanding is something I would go along with if it helped but the existing names say where the lines link.

I have no problem with recording the achievements and diversity of the residents either by installing blue plaques or paving slabs with the details on as is done in Los Angeles and the waterfront around Circular Quay in Sydney. I have no problem with statues and naming streets or parks after people and events.

Name new things after past people and past events not existing ones

I do have a problem where change leads to confusion rather than enlightenment.

This is change for change’s sake and cannot be justified in terms of money or helping Londoners and visitors get around

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