Hyde Park Now-The ghosts of London Reconnections

The ghosts of London Reconnections

London Reconnections, or Reconnections as it likes to call itself these days, is the youngest of many of the transport based blogs covering London and has a huge following. The simple way to judge the success of Reconnections is by looking at the comments sections, these regularly run into the hundreds.

London Reconnections is all about transport and personal mobility – such as walking, and cycling – and it publishes regular in depth investigations on various subjects, for example, the chaos at both Lewisham and Peckham Rye where systematic failures caused massive delays to Southern rail services, the Thameslink shambles, the Goblin Line, TfL’s tube upgrades and of course Crossrail.

(Note – this post was written more than three years ago thus some of the content is outdated. Reconnections is of course London Reconnections once again and that began perhaps during early December 2019. From the Internet Archive: the last Reconnections – November 22nd 2019 and the first restored full titled LR – December 25th 2019.)

Hyde Park Now-The ghosts of London Reconnections

The origins of London Reconnections can be found in the older London Connections blog. This excellent blog filled in much needed gaps in the reporting of transport issues however its invigilator ceased writing in 2008.

The cessation of London Connections is therefore why we have London Reconnections. Its an attempt to reconnect people to the world of transport blogging and it does very well on that.

London Reconnections is managed by a volunteer team who live in all sorts of places including Canada! Its a good example of how digital technologies transcend boundaries and distances.

Who runs London Reconnections? Its several people, all under nicknames of course! (See LR’s page screencapped below.) There’s Mwmbwls, Pedantic of Purley, Long Branch Mike, John Bull (the main players) as well as others who write from time to time.

Some might think the ‘Mwmbwls’ is not even a real name… it is!

Hyde Park Now-The ghosts of London Reconnections

London Reconnections’ Whos Who. September 2011.

Is there a ‘Who we are’ page these days? There is but there’s no direct link to it as far as I can see but here’s the link.

Hyde Park Now-The ghosts of London Reconnections

Without a doubt this has to be the very first London Reconnections – 22 September 2011 – and its all about the new West Ham bus garage!

Initially the content found on LR was short and to the point. Lately its taken on a more professional stance with lengthy, detailed investigations which tie in with the occasional magazine it publishes. These are great but sometimes the detail seems a bit heavy and lengthy.

In terms of the blog’s style and design, it’s changed just a few times. The most dramatic of LR’s now expired websites was the ability to change from a light to a dark theme – something found on very few other sites (the only other I know of is dpreview.com)

Hyde Park Now-The ghosts of London Reconnections

London Reconnections’ dark theme 16th April 2012.

The other thing about this inverted look was there was an additional option to switch between excerpts and full posts. This feature first appeared around March 2012. Strangely it reverted the page back to its clean white look though! Here’s the toggle example from 16th April 2012.

In September 2014 LR adopted a short lived black look. This appears to have been done under the guidance of Boomstick Media (now names.co.uk.)

Hyde Park Now-The ghosts of London Reconnections

London Reconnections 27 September 2014.

In February 2014 a different theme was adopted with blue as the main colour – giving a nice and uncluttered look. The first of these issues included a touch of purple too!

Hyde Park Now-The ghosts of London Reconnections

London Reconnections February 2014

Basically in the nine years since London Reconnections began, there’s been just five main style changes. Perhaps the biggest of these occurred in April 2017 when a header image was used for the first time.

The Internet Archive has not rendered that change of style properly (just as some other achieved pages also show a missing header image.)

This new look London Reconnections also heralded the excellent article on Frank Pick’s futuristic bus stations outside London and its an example of LR material about places outside of London but still bears a strong relation with London’s bus network. London Transport’s Green Line spread its wings quite a long way!

Hyde Park Now-The ghosts of London Reconnections

The best rendered example of the new look is therefore May 2017 when LR discusses new trains for the DLR. Not only that, it was too about the time the site changed its title from London Reconnections to just simply Reconnections – although the URL is the same.

Hyde Park Now-The ghosts of London Reconnections

Some have queried the aspirations behind the site’s recent renaming, however its been asserted the main focus remains as London but the new name gives additional flexibility as LR can more easily write about topics outside of London which too are also of great importance in regards to public transport.

One advantage of this rather subtle renaming is ‘Reconnections’ can now follow the exploits of London’s former tube chief as he gets taken for a ride in the Big Apple! In fact it has an article published exactly a year ago on the exploits of our ex tube chief – although LR, so far, has not written on Mr Byford’s dealings with bed bugs!

Actually the above story could be just a scare. Gothamist says its probably that but adds that some bus drivers have their doubts and the MTA is covering things up. I expect the bed bugs came up for the day on either a regular or an Amtrak Acelea service from Philadelphia – its why they have not been seen in NY since 🙂

Hyde Park Now-The ghosts of London Reconnections

Andy Byford gets taken for a ride in the Big Apple. More here.

London Reconnections has a magazine and there have been five issues so far. Here’s a brief summary of these. Even though the current issue shows just the latest (January 2017) a trawl through the internet archive will reveal ghost pages with each of these featured in all their gory – especially Issue four! Here’s three of its magazine’s covers…

Hyde Park Now-The ghosts of London Reconnections

Issue one. August 2015.

The focus of these magazines is of course London’s transport and each deals with a particular subject. As the image above shows, the first issue was about the typefaces used for the tube.

The second issue focused on the Harrow disaster of 1952 and how, because of it, Britian’s transport began to be modernised. Another major rail disaster, Hither Green, is also covered as well as other subjects.

Hyde Park Now-The ghosts of London Reconnections

Issue three. March 2016.

Issue Three and Four have covers which tell us pretty much what the subjects were about – TfL Rail and Crossrail. Issue Four is sold out however a digital version can still be purchased.

Hyde Park Now-The ghosts of London Reconnections

Issue four. June 2016

Issue Five covered the schism between the different ideologies looking to unite London’s rather fragmented rail systems. There hasn’t been a magazine since January 2017 however and from that it seems the staff are perhaps focusing more on the actual blog itself.

Reconnections’ latest look is here and its slightly different to the earlier look. The change was of course done to perhaps emphasise more the ‘Reconnections’ – having dropped the ‘London’ part of the title some months back!

Hyde Park Now-The ghosts of London Reconnections

The current Reconnections. Not yet archived at the time of writing. That for the 21st December 2018 can instead be seen.

The above screencap showed the page as it was on the Internet Archive at the time. A recent check shows the archive has dropped the ‘Reconnections’ badge. Such quirks are common across a lot of archived sites thus this omission is not just restricted to LR. Some of the child pages in LR too suffer from incorrect rendering and clearly the css is missing part of its code. Clearly the Internet Archive itself suffers from ‘link rot’ and a number of coding bugs too!

As the five magazines produced by Reconnections show, there’s a business slant however its minimal and limited to sales of the magazine itself. Any other possible income is made as donations via Patreon. I do not think Reconnections really want to introduce advertising and one cannot blame them. Why bother with advertising when one can be far more successful without?

LR has a Patreon page.

Hyde Park Now-The ghosts of London Reconnections

Reconnections’ Patreon page.

I do not know what LR’s plans are for the future. However its known they would like some more contributors with an good background covering in transport issues.

Those with an interest in writing well researched transport articles should contact LR. It doesn’t have to be trains, Crossrail, the tube or buses. It can be about walking, healthy transport, the environment and many other things. Here’s LR’s contact address: [email protected]

Originally published January 2019. Updated May 2022.

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