Getting around, getting about

After last week’s drama, normal service is returned. I got a leaflet regarding the Cross River Tram this week; I’m not sure if any other readers have received one, as you have to live within 1,000m of the proposed route. As you can see from this route map [76kb PDF], the route is likely to straddle us here in Camberwell, connecting with both Peckham Bus Station and Oval Station, cutting just across Burgess Park. There will be information on display towards the middle of this month and into next — see the page on for more details.

I think the tram is a good idea, but I can’t help wish that it came closer to Camberwell; what the effect on traffic around here will be like, I’ve no idea — although I imagine that it won’t do anything to alleviate the crowding on the buses (well, maybe the 12).

South Camberwell Councillor, Peter John, has news of the closure of Camberwell Grove; seems that it will reopen in March or April next year, although not to heavy traffic. Will be popular with some, less so with others; it doesn’t really impact on me one way or another, although it will be nice for the Lollipop Lady to have more work to do.

I met a man in The Phoenix on Monday who explained the boiler system of King’s College Hospital to me; I confess that I’ve forgotten most of it, but I remember that it’s steam powered.

I wonder how long it will take before the comments on this post get onto the subject of food?

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

24 thoughts on “Getting around, getting about”

  1. Zest on Coldharbour Lane is a pretty good curry delivery.

    Positive side to it not coming through Camberwell — it means there wont be any areas knocked down and cordoned off to create another ‘road‘ for it to run down.

    Negative side — It wont help reduce traffic at all and will remove any chance of getting any real public transport improvements.

    I just hope they find a good route through Burgess Park without cutting it up or creating a dodgy-as-hell overpass through.

    Still 10 years away, anything could happen in that time.

  2. Good to see the mighty Swan ( on the map as a stop.

    Tram wont do much for us people in Lambeth’s Vassall ward caught between the two Southern ‘legs’ of the route or people in the Camberwell Green area or people visiting the hospital — it would have been nice to see it going down Camberwell New Road or similar into central Camberwell as Brixton is already well provided with transport options.

    Alternatively (‘blue skies’ thinking here) how about if it started in Brixton, went up Coldharbour Lane and then through Camberwell to Walworth Road before joining the Peckham route at Burgess Park say. Just my initial thoughts, probably lots of logistical reasons why it cant happen

  3. Returning to food — there is an excellent Vietnamese restaurant called Eastern Tree at 171 Coldharbour Lane (formerly the Coast bar) and a Thai at Su Thai at 16 Coldharbour Lane (think it used to be a French restaurant) both of which I have enjoyed recently.

    And I have to raise a cheer for the row of chicken and chips restaurants on the left of Denmark Hill just before the hospital (and Willows) — some of their names Cheeky Chick, Chick Inn etc are very inventive and they fulfill a need late at night.

  4. I think it would be much better if the Tram went through Coldharbour Lane — Having a direct Brixton-Peckham Tram route makes perfect sense, then they can get rid of the seriously rubbish 345 bus which surely exists if only to try and outdo the 343 for sheer awfulness and unreliability — I thought I’d catch it to go see a friend inChelsea the other day — 1hr 10minutes from Camberwell it took!!!

  5. Yeah, the 345 is fine between Camberwell and Brixton (I use it to go to the Ritzy), but beyond that it’s diabolical. It took me over an hour to get to Clapham Junction once.

    Does anyone know where the old tram routes went? I know they went to the junction at the Green, but I’m not sure where from or to. I could look it up, I suppose.

  6. I think in olden days (pre 1952) the trams used to basically follow the same routes as today’s buses or rather the lower numbered buses as many routes have been developed since. Also I think tram routes used to be longer so the equivalent number 12 or 36 tram would travel a lot longer either end of todays 12 or 36 bus for example

  7. I have a book called “Camberwell & West Norwood Tramways”, written by Robert J Harley and published in 1993 by Middleton Press. I don’t know if it’s still in print, but it turns up quite often on eBay (which is how I bought my copy).

    Trams went along Walworth Road, Peckham Road, Dog Kennel Hill and Lordship Lane, Coldharbour Lane and then either Gresham Street or Milkwood Road, and Camberwell New Road.

    There is a map in the book which I can scan, but I have no idea how to put it up on the blog — Peter will have to advise.

    The book is full of photos, by the way. I can recommend it to anyone interested in this kind of thing.

  8. to get to clapham junction, for future reference, by far the best route i have found is denmark hill-battersea park, 5 minute walk to queenstown road battersea, train to clapham junction. time it right & it’s 20 minutes ! (also a useful access route to other SW london destinations- putney, barnes, twickers etc)

  9. I definetely think that they should incorporate a loop between Brixton and Peckham using Coldharbour Lane for the Tram — It would make perfect sense, which is probably why they have totally missed it…maybe it’s something which can be raised during the consultation period — A Tram is used mainly to regenerate neighbourhoods, so what better place is there to rejuvenate than Coldharbour Lane?

  10. Tram route. If we are getting a tram then I agree entirely with eusebiovic.

    Can anyone tell me just what it is about trams that is supposed to bring regenration in their wake?

    Or will trams be abandoned for something ‘better’ in 20 years time — as they were last century?

    Like nuclear energy. Nothing’s changed substantially since nuclear went totally out of favour for very good reasons. But now it’s the bright hope of the future again.

    I don’t get it.

  11. A tram to Camberwell (or any other non-bus connection linked to the wider network for that matter) would not spell regeneration, it would be a revelation.

    I can’t think of another central London community with a clear focal point such as ours (especially one with key institutions) that is worse served. It would mean increased job opportunities by providing frequent services that can actually be relied upon, bring more people to places such as the South London Gallery and make getting to the Art College, town hall and hospitals so much more straightforward. There is no question that the immediate area and the connecting roads (notably Church Street and Denmark Hill) would benefit hugely, and that this benefit would radiate outwards.

    There’s been talk of a “Camberwell Spur” on the tram route. It would be good to know more about it.

  12. RE Mark comment 12: not sure if your just playing devils advocate but a tram would be a huge boost to the area. I think the principle reason why the old trams (more trolleybuses) were replaced is that they were more expensive to run and less flexible than the newly invented buses – however this was before people thought about pollution and traffic jams hence why they are so sorely missed and should be brought back. Today’s trams are so different from the 1920’s trolley bus than you cannot really compare them. Journey times would be quicker, more comfortable, more environmentally friendly and there is in my mind something more magical about a tram passing than a bus so for me they would also improve the streetscape. It has done wonders to improve the urban environment around croydon. Anyway hope you can see some of the positives.

  13. Lisa — you don’t have to change to Queenstown Road (battersea) to get to Clapham junction. There are direct trains from battersea Park itself.

  14. copeywolf; NickW thanks for enlightening me. My post above was in haste, I now seem to recall hearing that trams run to schedule better than buses. Is there a rule that they have priority at lights and junctions so they keep to timetable and so are a more reliable service?

  15. Haven’t the foggiest Mark!

    I lived in France for a while and used to get a tram to college there. Great fun (admittedly, much due to the computerised way-too-deep French voice which announced each stop). They were cheap, clean, comfortable, quick and reliable. What more could I want?

    Journeys on two of our main routes into town (the 12 & 36 bus) take about 30% longer than on the old Routemasters. Progress? My @rse. And if you have to be there on time you’ve got to set aside half the day, just in case.

    I don’t know if trams are the best option for Camberwell. I suspect the best option is the one we stand the best chance of getting, whatever that is. Just as long as it’s not another bus.

  16. I say one of the priorities of the SE5Forum should be to get that Brixton-Peckham (Coldharbour Lane,Church Street) spur on board — After all that’s what the consultation period is for…and not just promised at some undetermined point in the future either — It has to be a PRIORITY and part of the original completed route — no excuses or flanneling us with lip service…

  17. Forgive me for missing the finer point here but How and When can the Forum do its bit?

    I’ve got so much on at the moment (we’re about to shut Sun and Doves for refurbishment and have HAVE to be finished totally by December 1st obviously) that I haven’t time to gen up on this properly. But I certainly can galvanise a solid and focused presntation through the Forum.

    JUST tell me / us what to do.

  18. I’ve just got back from 5 days in Barcelona and all I can say regarding their transport system is — WOW!!! — 1,20 Euros (approx 70p) for any journey in the Barcelona Metropolitan Network on Bus,Tube,Train & Tram and if you use your ticket for a connecting journey to another destination then that is free providing it is within 1hr 30mins from buying the ticket — A Carnet T‑10 costs 6,60 Euros (£4.50) for 10 journeys or you can get a T‑50 for 28 Euros which works out at 37p per journey!!! — Cycle Lanes are well designed and safer too — The wonders of a fully integrated government subsidised transport system eh?

  19. …still Elephant and Castle redevelopment looks like it’s taken a few well observed pointers from Barcelona — These foreigners think they know everything eh? (He says tongue in cheek being one himself!)

  20. This week’s Southwark News has a map of the proposed tram routes to Brixton and Peckham. The article has little to say about the route to Brixton, but describes the route to Peckham — which has options. Instead of crossing Burgess Park it could go down Wells Way and then Southampton Way, joining Peckham Road just by Oliver Goldsmith School.

  21. A Brixton-Peckham spur Through Coldharbour Lane is a no-brainer — How they have completely missed it is beyond me — Especially if all Camberwell is going to get is the East London Line Extension at Denmark Hill — We need a reliable and fast mode of transport passing directly through the Green on it’s way to Peckham…

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