Bakerloo line extension to Camberwell and beyond…

The Bakerloo line is the only tube line considered to still have spare capacity. So it could be extended. It already extends significantly to the north so a southern extension deeper into Southwark is the obvious direction and South London has very poor public transport.

1949-1952 such a southern extension was started – several ventilation shafts were built along the Walworth Road and tunnelling proceeded as far as Heygate Street. That Transport and Works Act passed by parliament in 1930 and renewed in 1947 was based on a stops at Walworth Road, Camberwell Green and interchange at Denmark Hill.

Transport for London in 2006 produced a study “Transport 2025” which suggested 3 options for such an extension.

Option 1 – Burgess Park, Peckham – Lewisham-Bromley.

Option 2 – Walworth, Camberwell, Denmark Hill, Herne Hill, Tulse Hill, Streatham Hill, West Norwood, Gipsy Hill, Crystal Palace.

Option 3 – Burgess Park, Old Kent Road – Lewisham-Bromley.

Option 2 would create the most new capacity with 6+ trains per hour. Option 3 mostly replaces Network Rail trains on train lines – increasing capacity from 5 to 6 tph Hayes into central London representing poor value.

Cost. When the DLR was extended to Woolwich Arsenal it cost £180M for 2.5km including everything – new carriages the works.

DLR trains are large and rectangular rather than small circular tube trains. So tunnelling under the Thames and other parts would be more expensive but DLR trains are much shorter so stations smaller – broadly similar costs per km. Also it was run as a PFI into DLR who have been shown to be much more economic at building things. Broadly they follow the Madrid model where after an election they spend 6 months planning a new tube line dividing it into 100M Euro chunks that contractors spend 3 years building and the new tube line opens a few months before the next Madrid elections. Contractors are managed for cost and know they can’t get future work unless they hit the price.

But TfL are proposing for the Northern Line extension of roughly 2.5km from Kennington to Battersea Power station £550M.

Adapting the Madrid model and getting DLR to run a project to extend the Bakerloo line could see the Bakerloo line extended to Streatham Hill for circa £600M all in or just to Camberwell/Denmark Hill for £250M.

Its clear TfL don’t have serious intentions to extend the Bakerloo line. So how to make it happen. The coalition government is now proposing to allow councils to borrow money against the Community Infrastructure Levy. Along any proposed extension route are many development opportunities – such as building above the current London road depot.

Interest costs could be offset by reducing bus services that would no longer be needed with passengers switching to tube journeys. Each bus route is subsidised on average cost £4M. Deleting the 68 and terminating the 468 at Camberwell alone would save £6M.

Such an extension would also be suitable for EU regional funding which could bring a many tens of millions.

The problem is TfL and its warped cost base and mayors with vision. But perhaps Lambeth & Southwark councils could use localism powers to make this happen. The former could be bypassed and handed over a turn key as they do with DLR projects and the latter local councils could really focus on such a step improvement in public transport.

Currently the only council doing anything is Lewisham committee pushing for Option 3 – the worst option for Southwark and Lambeth.

One last practical but important factor is where you’d build from. With the Heygate estate about to be demolished this is great opportunity to use this site to base much of the works from. The quid pro quo for the E&C regeneration is that it would make that scheme also much more attractive.

Do you think the Bakerloo line should be extended? And if so which option do you support?

16 thoughts on “Bakerloo line extension to Camberwell and beyond…

  1. Simon says:

    As a Camberwell resident I would love the tube to extend here but I feel its unrealistic – there is just not the central government funding to enable it to happen especially at current time when the Lib Dems in central government are providing the human shield for Tory cuts. Its more realistic to push for reopening of Camberwell overground station.

  2. James Barber says:

    Hi Simon,
    Network Rail have stated several times that if Camberwell overground station is reopened they’d close Coldharbour overground station. I don’t get the rationale for that but suspect equally opposing campaigns would cancel each other out.
    The DLR was extended using more or less the Madrid model. I see no reason why Lambeth & Southwark councils could’nt lead on extending the Bakerloo line. Money has never been cheaper to borrow and the government has given lots of new powers to local authorities to be bolder.

    NB. On the national govt. cuts. Overall 17% of national govt expenditure. Alastair Darling MP ex. Labour chancellor has stated he was planning 18% cuts.

  3. James S says:

    I’m also a Camberwell resident and think it would be fantastic. There’s a strong case in terms of economic development and (from your figures above) it also seems a more efficient way of extending capacity than alternatives.

    So, if this is really realistic, what’s stopping you? (I’d be happy to be involved in a local campaign)

  4. James Barber says:

    Hi James S,
    So far Lewisham council is the only one to show interest in an extension.
    Both Lambeth and Southwark are Labour led councils and so far shown no real interest…..yet :o)

  5. Ben Evetts says:

    Think that Lewisham is a Labour run council too and has been for, well pretty much ever. Whereas Southwark was Lib Dem/Conservative until May 2010 and Lambeth had a Lib Dem leadership until 2002. Just wondering what the Lib Dems did on this issue while in power? Reckon the support for this would be pretty much mutual across all parties..unless you know different?

  6. Stephen C says:

    It might be worth arguing for a DLR extension to the area, rather than a Bakerloo extension. The area around Canary Wharf needs a second DLR line for resilience (studied by TfL as the “Wood Wharf” option). Extending that line via Rotherhithe, Surrey Quays (relief of the overground) and then on to E&C via regeneration areas would be a viable route, above ground apart from the Thames and a major driver of regeneration (aka money). See the pink route here for one possible (indicative) route:,-0.033474&spn=0.102476,0.181961

  7. Bel B says:

    Just extending to Walworth and camberwell is likely to relieve congestion and improve the journeys of commuters in Southwark residents who don’t have access to tube lines. It can easily take 30 minutes to get from camberwell green to the elephant and castle (walworth road). Old kent road, on the other hand is wide, with bus lanes and the journey from New Cross to Elephant is much faster.

    just those two stops could make all the difference, ( similar to the northern line extensions) Some bus services along walworth could be terminated.

  8. Martin J Cooney says:

    Good evening/day to all: I’m a resident of Southwark and have been for the last three years, Initially I was resident in Hackney and have seen the rapid progression of regeneration of the area which was in much need, gladly it’s all coming to fruition with gradual infra- structure improvements and the Olympics developments. Since I’ve been down here and I must say I’m a (South London convert) it’s always astounded me that most of the inner South London boroughs are so more central, (hence the move). I cannot understand the sheer neglect of tube services. I’ve subsequently discovered that there are more overground services, however as illustrated above Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham are in dire need of adequate connectivity. I’ve studied the map and potential location options: Tunnel extensions of the Northern line from oval to Camberwell going beyond to Peckham centre where a hub station would connect over ground services going on to Lewisham possible allocation at new cross. Victoria line extensions going east to Camberwell, possible station at Herne Hill, relieving pressure off main line services, including Denmark hill; especially as the London Bridge to Victoria service will discontinue service once the London Overground orbital comes in to full effect end 2012. Potentially with this vision makes Camberwell an interchange for the Northern line and Victoria, the Central hub of the area could definitely handle the capacity for a station with two lines, as we know it all about feasibility budgets, tunneling isn’t cheap. However, I think if the investment could be found the money would be made back rapidly. South London I feel is too Car dependent, I wonder in today’s Climate how much longer that could last, this much neglected corner of London need more Metro services ‘FACT!’ The next idea would be to take pressure off the East South East artery Bakerloo extensions spanning the arm of the Old Kent road creating a new station on route extending to new cross or new cross gate, again releiving pressure off mainline stations at Lewisham and perhaps Catford?

  9. David Spence says:

    I have never met anyone who disagrees with the need /desirability of a Camberwell Green rail connection whether Bakerloo, Victoria line or overground. Not only would it give a 5 minute access to central london, but it would reduce the enormous amount of polluting buses from the Camberwell Green hub, which could simply become a terminus for most out of town buses. Is there a campaign I can join? How to get this done and not simply discussed and agreed upon by all except decision-makers?

  10. Gheorghe Multescu says:

    I’m a resident living near Burgess Park and would strongly support an extension of Bakerloo line via New Kent Road / Old Kent Road / Peckham.
    It really doesn’t make much sense to duplicate the existent overground rail line that goes from E&C via Walworth and Camberwell with a tube line, this would still leave a very large area of SE London with no real service or other options than buses.
    Ultimately it should be a job for TfL to do a proper feasibility study for the best route but I fear that without a strong political pressure TfL is really not interested in projects that serve the communities but instead have a strict agenda related to Crossrail and other schemes serving exclusively the business sector. There is a real lack of vision on their behalf since the extension of the Bakerloo line to SE London would be the engine of a real economic boost and regeneration for this area.

  11. James Barber says:

    If TfL propose exiting Southwark ASAP via the Old Kent Road would avoid Camberwell and Peckham. Not good for Southwark.

  12. Dom Daly says:

    A very interesting discussion. Personally I would like to see the Bakerloo line extended to at least Denmark hill Possibly then on to East Dulwch, Lordship Lane, Peckham Rye(common), Nunhead, Streatham Hill, Chrystal palace and even to East Croydon! (also reducing congestion)
    As far as the Northern line extension goes, They are totally nuts not taking it beyond Battersea to Clapham Junction and re developing that as a major hub… Think of the fewer people that would then pass through Waterloo and Victoria commuting?!!!
    That’s the end of my rant!

  13. Alice Greaves says:

    I saw this report from last month – “Bakerloo Line Extension back on the political agenda”

    Echoing the sentiments of the above – I’d be keen to be involved with a local campaign, if it was a good time to put one together.

  14. James Barber says:

    Thanks Alice. We need to wake Tessa Jowell up. She;s not made any running to get such an extension going through her constituency – option 2.

  15. clare says:

    Right, i’ve created a petition for it to go down Old Kent Road. It’s long and in need of something:

  16. ChooChoo says:

    The preferred route is Old Kent Road to New Cross Gate.

    So it’s no tube for Camberwell and no tube for Brockley.

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