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Crosslink for South London - September 2023

Featured in the Future Transport London Newsletter September 2023

Clapham High Street station could in future see new services once the Networker fleet is replaced on the Southeastern network. Local councillors, London Assembly Member Marina Ahmad and the Clapham Transport Users Group have been holding discussions with Network Rail about future opportunities that the provision of a new fleet for the Southeastern Metro network will provide. Of key interest is the re-instatement of direct trains to Victoria. These were lost in December 2012 when the South London Line shuttle which linked Victoria and London Bridge via Clapham High Street was withdrawn in favour of the London Overground service to Clapham Junction. This has created a gap for commuters, forcing passengers to use the Northern Line at nearby Clapham North which has a dangerous winding narrow island platform and is crowded at peak times. Currently Victoria-Dartford Southeastern trains pass through Clapham High Street but are unable to stop because the existing Networkers lack the Selective Door Opening (SDO) to serve the shorter platforms. New trains will have SDO however, enabling the Victoria-Dartford service to stop at Clapham High Street and provide a direct eight minute journey time to Victoria. Another benefit will be to enable Clapham High Street passengers to access key South London destinations such as Lewisham for onward travel across South East London.

Still further potential lies in the proposed South London 'Crosslink' which to rebuild the additional two platforms that once existed at Clapham High Street to enable Victoria-Orpington services to serve the area. The major benefit would be not just to supplement the Victoria-Dartford services but to offer, for the first time, fast cross-orbital links across South London to Herne Hill, West Dulwich and Bromley South, creating a South London 'Crosslink'. This would help achieve modal shift from car to rail particularly for school-run journeys, so alleviate congestion on the roads which are heavily used for South London commuting (see diagram). New platforms at Clapham High Street and the new links generated would create a favourable Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) and be cheaper than either new tunnels or a new station at Brixton.

Lambeth Council is supportive of new platforms whilst Network Rail has stated it is supportive of Clapham High Street gaining Victoria services and plugging the gap caused when the South London Line was withdrawn.

Nick Biskinis

Clapham Transport Users Group

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