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?