North Woolwich’s Second Abandoned Station
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North Woolwich is unusual in having not one abandoned station, but two. The original, a rather grand building in the Italianate style, was opened by the Eastern Counties Railway in 1847 and served a ferry linking to the busy dockyard town of Woolwich on the opposite bank (although the name North Woolwich might appear to be a railway invention, it was actually the correct geographic name for this location as a historic quick meant that this small enclave on the north side of the Thames was part of the Borough of Woolwich in the administrative County of Kent – an anomaly that persisted until the creation of Greater London on 1st April 1965 when North Woolwich was incorporated into the new London Borough of Newham).
The station prospered, especially with the construction of the Royal Docks between 1855 and 1921 and the lack of any real competition from road transport. However this changed with the construction of the new Silvertown Way in the 1930s, part of a Government Scheme to reduce unemployment by funding transport infrastructure schemes; not least because London Transport decided that the trolleybuses which replacing trams in East London would be extended along the new road, from Canning Town to Silvertown and North Woolwich. After the Second World War the Docks went into decline, and so did the train service – by 1978 it had been reduced to a shuttle from Stratford, and looked set for closure.
The Greater London Council instead set about reviving the line. In May 1979 the service was extended to Camden Road, with new stations at Hackney Central and Hackney Wick (opened 1980); existing stations were given new, and very basic, facilities; this included North Woolwich which had a new building added to the side. All this was a pre-cursor to electrification in May 1985, which saw the service incorporated into the North London Line with trains running from North Woolwich to Richmond. In the meantime the old Station building at North Woolwich was refurbished and opened by Newham Council as a local Railway Museum.
It was the development of other railways in the area which finally killed off the North Woolwich Line. The Beckton line of the Docklands Light Railway opened in March 1994 and the Jubilkee Line was extended to Canning Town and Stratford in 1999, but it was the coming of the line to King George V in December 2005 (since extended to Woolwich Arsenal) that finally rendered the old line redundant; services between Stratford and North Woolwich were withdrawn after 9th December the following year. Since then the route between Stratford and Canning Town has been reused by the Stratford International branch of the DLR (opened August 2011). The section between Custom House and North Woolwich is being incorporated into the Abbey Wood branch of Crossrail, due to open in 2018; however as the line has to tunnel under the Thames a portal is being built to the west of here, so its is unlikely that a train will ever run into this station again.
Apart from Australia, the U.S. is the sole developed country that makes no provision for paid maternity leave, with regard to moms-to-be, nationwide. Based on a report of 168 countries, undertaken by Harvard University, 163 countries had certain provisions for paid maternity leave. Therefore, the U.S. is in the same league as New Guinea, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Papua with regard to making available paid leave for expectant women.
It is simply beyond anyone’s comprehension, as to why such a situation exists, even though professionals and renowned professors declare that the differing objectives of American and European feminist movement could possibly have had a say in the absence of this benefit – paid maternity leave with reference to expectant women in America.
Early women rights activists in Europe laid stress on meting out special privileges for moms, also highlighting maternity leave. On the other hand, in America, the early women rights activists did not attach much importance to motherhood, and instead stressed equal rights for the female sex without any special privileges extended.
In the U.S., there have been concerted efforts to
initiate the process of providing for paid maternity leave. The Clinton administration desired that states should utilize the unemployment fund to make available paid maternity leave. However, resistance from various business interests caused the Bush administrations to summarily reject this scheme. Business groups contended that it would require them to raise their levels of contributions towards the state unemployment funds.
California, in the year 2004, launched a family leave plan (indicating either maternity or paternity leave) which provides about fifty percent pay for a period of six weeks. A fund created by the employees and not the employers, helped finance this plan.
At present, there are 5 states – Hawaii, California, New York, Rhode Island and New Jersey – which have initiated temporary disability programs whereby employers are required to pay benefits in case the pregnancy is referred to by a doctor as a disability.
Nearly all the states permit a woman to avail of unpaid maternity leave. A woman can be eligible for unpaid leave in case:
1. She is employed by the federal government, the state, or the local government, or by any business, which has a workforce of fifty or more operating inside seventy-five miles of her place of work.
2. She has been working with her present employer for a minimum of twelve months and has put in a minimum of 1,250 hours in the past year (which is an average of twenty-five hours every week for approximately fifty weeks).
You may not be able to retain your job in the company in case you fall into the top salaried ten percent of pay earners in the company and if it is proved by your employer that your nonattendance would produce considerable financial damage to the organization.
You can utilize you unpaid maternity leave in any which way you desire during the course of your pregnancy and right up to one year following the birth of your child. This denotes that you can use your leave at one go or distribute it over your baby’s initial year by cutting down on your regular daily or weekly work load, in case your employer gives his consent.
Federal procedures mandate that you apply for leave a good thirty days before you avail of it. However, it would be best if you kept your employer apprised of the fact that you are pregnant well in advance.
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