diamond geezer

 Wednesday, October 01, 2014

This really happened.

TfL have decided that the time is finally right to consider an extension of the Bakerloo line into southeast London. Such plans were first mooted 100 years ago, so they haven't rushed. But there is now broad agreement that the rail black hole in northern Southwark needs plugging, and that extending the under-used brown line from Elephant and Castle is the best way to do it. You lucky lucky people.

Many routes for the Bakerloo extension have been proposed over the years, but nobody's ever been able to make up their minds which of them is best. Hence the motivation behind this latest consultation is to put some ideas on the table and ask the public which they prefer, with the aim of firming up which alignment needs proper planning for the future.
[consultation] [map] [FAQ] [background] [analysis]

Only one thing is certain, which is that the extension will at some point reach New Cross Gate and Lewisham. But there are then three things to decide, marked in blue, brown and pink on the map above, and the first of these is the most important. Which way will the Bakerloo line tunnel head immediately after leaving Elephant and Castle, will it be east towards the Old Kent Road (option 1a) or south towards Camberwell and Peckham (option 1b)? Both are deserving cases.

has been in dire need of a railway station ever since the last one closed in 1916, and is one of the last significant urban centres in Zone 2 not to have a rail connection. A Bakerloo line station here would transform the area, removing the need for the local population to have to catch the bus first before they can get anywhere. But then the same could be said for the alternative route. The Old Kent Road has been in dire need of a railway station ever since the last one closed in 1917, and is one of the last significant urban centres in Zone 2 not to have a rail connection. Two Bakerloo line stations here would transform the area, removing the need for the local population to have to catch the bus first before they can get anywhere.

What's intriguing is what's not on the table. A route via Burgess Park had long been a potential option, that's roughly halfway between options 1a and 1b. This missed the main roads but scored a direct hit on the least accessible spot in inner London - the heart of the Aylesbury Estate. From here the route could have continued to Peckham or to the Old Kent Road, meeting other long term needs, but no, this central option is dead in the water. Also defunct is the option of a station in Walworth. This ought to be an obvious halt on the run to Camberwell, but no, it's been skipped in favour of a two kilometre run without stopping, no expense spent.

So who wins? There is only one logical outcome to Southwark's tunnelling tussle, which is that the Camberwell option will lose. It's ridiculously indirect, for a start, wiggling around all over the place to tick off a few key stations along the way, and increasing journey time for anyone trying to get into town from further out. It only creates one new transport node rather than two, and it doubles up on an existing direct link between Peckham Rye and Lewisham, which could only be a waste of money. Whereas two new stations along the Old Kent Road would be in an almost straight line from E&C to Lewisham, and create a more direct hit on the heart of the existing railway-less zone. There's also more potential for residential development along the way, plus the Old Kent Road in Monopoly is brown, QED.

Lewisham might be the end of the line, or it might not, that's the second important option. Lewisham is the extension's key target, so why go further? It also marks the point where the line would come out of tunnel and run overground, so stopping here would save plenty of money. This would be an unambitious choice, for sure, but it remains the most likely austerity option. But if a further extension goes ahead then a new connection would be made and the existing railway line to Beckenham and Hayes would be entirely absorbed into the Underground. No longer would the residents of Catford be able to catch a direct train to London Bridge, but they could instead get to Oxford Circus, which might be deemed an improvement.

The third and final option concerns an extension to Bromley. A new tunnel would be built from somewhere beyond Beckenham Junction, stopping somewhere, terminating somewhere - the plans aren't any more than woolly thoughts at present. In reality the connection wouldn't be as brilliant as it sounds, indeed the journey time to Oxford Circus would be much the same as it is today. But imagine the joy if the Underground ever came to Bromley, not to mention the political capital to be made.

Excited by all this? Don't be.

For a start, a Bakerloo line extension won't be completed before 2030, probably later. We're only at the route consultation stage, there are no concrete plans, nothing that could be enacted under the ground in the immediate future. And 2030 is miles away, as far into the future as the opening of the Jubilee line extension is in the past. Time was when a new underground line could be thrown together in a few years, maybe even a decade or so, but today's technological advances only ever seem to slow things down. Nobody in Clock House, Catford or Camberwell will be catching the Bakerloo any time soon.

More importantly, there's absolutely no money. The extension isn't funded, indeed has no likelihood of being funded, at least not from the public purse. TfL don't run a speculative construction company, so can't just dig tubes in the ground to follow crayoned lines on maps. Indeed the most telling paragraph in the entire consultation document is this one...
As has been the case for other major infrastructure projects (such as Crossrail and the Northern Line Extension), any funding package is likely to include contributions from new residential and commercial developments along the proposed extension. This means that in order for the Bakerloo line extension to be progressed, further development along the proposed route is required. It is unlikely the extension can happen without this new development.
If a Bakerloo line extension is built, it won't be to improve social capital. Just as Crossrail is only stopping in Woolwich because Berkeley Homes paid, and just as the Northern line is only going to Battersea because the Power Station's owners threw cash, so the Bakerloo extension will join up the places where developers can find the most money. The new line may benefit some existing residents of southeast London, but its unspoken intention is the attraction of incomers, bringing the greatest windfalls to those who sell property and build shops.

Don't get me wrong, a Bakerloo line extension would be far better built than unbuilt, and this corner of London needs a leg-up more than most. But don't get your hopes up that anything'll happen soon, indeed best not get any hopes up at all.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream