Bakerloo line extension to camberwell

Coordinates: 51°29′46″N 0°06′04″W / 51.496°N 0.101°W / 51.496; -0.101

     Bakerloo line extension
The present southern terminus of the Bakerloo line at Elephant & Castle
Type Rapid transit
System London Underground
Status Proposed
Locale Camberwell, London, UK
Termini Elephant & Castle
Stations 2 (and possibly more beyond Camberwell)
Operator(s) Transport for London

The Bakerloo line extension to Camberwell is a proposed extension of the London Underground line to Camberwell in South London from its current terminus at Elephant & Castle. It was due to be built in the late 1940s, but the project was cancelled. In the 21st century the project has been revived in one version or another, but nothing has yet been agreed. Current proposals for extension of the Bakerloo line from Elephant & Castle do not always involve Camberwell. Although Camberwell is the most obvious short-range destination for a southern extension of the Bakerloo line, an extension to Camberwell seems inconsistent with many plans for longer-range extensions.


Most of the London Underground is north of the River Thames, while public transport in South London is generally provided by National Rail suburban networks and London Buses. Both Camberwell and neighbouring Walworth once had their own railway stations, Walworth Road[1] and Camberwell[2] on the London, Chatham and Dover Railway into Blackfriars (now the present-day Thameslink route), but these stations closed in 1916.[3] As a result, this area of South London has no immediate rail or tube links, the nearest stations being Elephant & Castle, Denmark Hill, Kennington or Oval.

When the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway opened between Baker Street and Elephant and Castle, several alternative schemes were already in place for extending the line at both ends. One rejected proposal, the New Cross & Waterloo Railway bill of 1898, had envisaged the construction of a line as far south as Old Kent Road.[4] The possibility of building a line through Camberwell first emerged in 1913, when the Lord Mayor of London announced a proposal for the Bakerloo Tube to be extended to The Crystal Palace via Camberwell Green, Dulwich and Sydenham Hill, but nothing was done.[5] In 1921, the London Electric Railway costed an extension to Camberwell, Dulwich and Sydenham and, in 1922, plans for an extension to Orpington via Loughborough Junction and Catford were considered. In 1928, a route to Rushey Green via Dulwich was suggested. Again, no action was taken, although the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee approved an extension to Camberwell in 1926.[6]

1931 and 1947 extension proposals

colspan="2" width=100% style="color:white;background-color:#;text-align:center;"|Bakerloo Line extension

In 1931, an extension to Camberwell was approved as part of the London Electric Metropolitan District and Central London Railway Companies (Works) Act, 1931.[7][8] The route was to follow Walworth Road and Camberwell Road south from Elephant & Castle, with stations at Albany Road and under Denmark Hill at Camberwell. Elephant & Castle station was also to be reconstructed with a third platform to provide the additional turn-round capacity, a new ticket hall and escalators. The need to prioritise the extension from Baker Street to Finchley Road to provide relief for the Metropolitan line, financial constraints and the outbreak of the Second World War prevented any work from being started.[6]

The 1931 enabling powers were renewed by the Government in 1947 under the Special Enactments (Extension of Time) Act, 1940,[9] and the projected extension as far as Camberwell even appeared on a 1949 edition of the Underground map but no further work was done.[10] Train indication signs showing Camberwell as a destination were created in anticipation of the southern extension and erected in some Tube stations; these signs were still seen in existence at Warwick Avenue station until the 1990s.[11][12] Also, the order for 1949 rolling stock - built to augment the 1938 stock fleet - included sufficient cars to provide extra trains for the Camberwell extension.

Eventually the proposal faded away. Extensions and new stations were not in favour post-war, as road use increased massively. However, the problem of inadequate turn-round capacity at Elephant & Castle remained. The plan was briefly revived in the 1950s with the intermediate station now at Walworth and the terminus under Camberwell Green. Furthermore, Elephant & Castle would not be altered and the additional turn-round capacity would be provided by making Camberwell a three-platform terminus.

The original intention to extend to Camberwell was driven by the wish to serve the area, but in the later scheme operational issues were a major consideration. By the time that the Bakerloo line branches to Watford Junction and Stanmore had opened, the line was running at full capacity, limited by the need to terminate trains at Elephant & Castle. By extending to Camberwell, where there would be three platforms, the whole line would have benefited from an improved frequency. However "stepping back"[13] made the best use of the terminal capacity at Elephant & Castle, and this weakened the case for an extension from Elephant & Castle.

Post-war austerity, the levelling-off of demand and, above all, the disproportionately high cost of the project with a 3-platform deep-level terminus and the need to purchase 14 further trains and build a new depot for them, meant that the project became unaffordable.[14]

Recent proposals

After more than half a century of lying largely dormant, with only the occasional proposal to extend to Peckham in the 1970s,[15] plans for a southern Bakerloo extension were re-awakened. In 2006 Ken Livingstone, the then Mayor of London, announced that within twenty years Camberwell would have a tube station.[16] Transport for London has indicated that extensions, possibly to Camberwell, could play a part in the future transport strategy for South London over the coming years.[17]

During 2005–06, TfL commissioned a transport strategic report for London, Transport 2025: transport challenges for a growing city.[18] Transport commentators have reported that this publication had recommended a Bakerloo extension as the most beneficial option for extending the Tube in South London, and that it considered three route options for the Bakerloo line; from Elephant & Castle, the proposed routes were either south to Camberwell and Streatham, or east to Beckenham and Hayes: [19]

Option 1

via Burgess Park, east to Peckham Rye and Catford Bridge,with the option of taking over the Hayes Line to terminate at Hayes

Option 2

south to Camberwell Green, and then on to Herne Hill and Streatham Hill, with a branch at Tulse Hill which would take over the National Rail line to Beckenham Junction

Option 3
a similar route to option 1, but after Burgess Park running via the Old Kent Road and New Cross before joining the Hayes line at Lewisham and terminating at Hayes.
Alternative proposed routes for the southern extension of the Bakerloo Line[19]
Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
colspan="2" width=100% style="color:white;background-color:#;text-align:center;"|Hayes via Peckham Rye
colspan="2" width=100% style="color:white;background-color:#;text-align:center;"|Beckenham Jcn. via Camberwell
colspan="2" width=100% style="color:white;background-color:#;text-align:center;"|Hayes via New Cross

An alternative proposal to build a Cross River Tram emerged in the 21st Century, which would have seen the construction of a new tram line and stations on Walworth Road, but this project was abandoned in 2008 due to cost.[20]

A consultant's report for Lewisham Council in 2010 analysed the costs and benefits of six different routes for a Bakerloo extension in the inner London suburbs, four different routes in the so-called middle suburbs and two different routes in the outer suburbs.[21] TfL's view was that "A key advantage of the Hayes option is that [it] releases train paths into London Bridge".[22]

2011 Network Rail Route Utilisation Strategy for London and the South East

In July 2011 Network Rail published its Route Utilisation Strategy for London and the South East. This recommended an extension of the Bakerloo line from Elephant and Castle to Lewisham, where it would take over the line to Hayes and thus release capacity on National Rail lines into Charing Cross.[23] [24] In January 2012 Network Rail published a summary of its London & South East RUS recommendations, including the following on a possible Bakerloo line extension:

The established Kent RUS identified that a potential scheme to convert the Hayes branch for use by London Underground services could alleviate main line and suburban routes via London Bridge, with services on this line rerouted via a southern extension to the London Underground Bakerloo Line. Such a line would also provide additional capacity in inner South London, greatly improving travel opportunities for areas such as Denmark Hill and Camberwell. There may also be capacity relief to the Elephant & Castle corridor to Blackfriars, depending on the specific route chosen.

The recommendation was noted as requiring further work, and to be delivered on a timescale to be determined.[25]

The RUS did not indicate a route between Elephant & Castle and New Cross Gate. A route via Camberwell would be longer than a direct link between Elephant & Castle and New Cross Gate. The RUS did not say why a route via Camberwell would be preferable to a more direct route under the Old Kent Road. The Kent RUS was similarly silent.

In March 2012 Lewisham Council's consultant on the Bakerloo extension advised: "There is a good to strong, but not overwhelming case for a Bakerloo extension",[26] explaining that many other rail projects in the London area were higher priority, and there was a lack of clarity on the best value route for a Bakerloo extension.

See also